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EVESLC: Silent Shorts by Chaplin & Keaton

It’s common at the end of a year to do a little backward looking. As part of its annual collaboration with EVE SLC, the Salt Lake Film Society’s Broadway Centre Cinema is looking backward just a bit further than the beginning of 2012—to the days of silent films.

Short films by the legendary Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin are on the bill, but even those familiar with these great screen comedians are likely less familiar with some of these shorts. The Keaton selections—One Week, The Scarecrow and The Boat—are among his earliest independent efforts after his apprenticeship with “Fatty” Arbuckle. His 1920 solo debut One Week (pictured) finds him playing a newlywed whose attempts at building a prefabricated house are thwarted by the trickery of his wife’s jilted ex-suitor. It’s indicative of the fascination with meticulous choreography and large-scale props that characterized Keaton’s comedy, like The Scarecrow’s scenes in which Keaton and a roommate in a tiny one-room shack find hilariously creative ways to optimize the use of their space.

There’s a simpler slapstick on display in Chaplin’s The Rink and A Day’s Pleasure, full of big pratfalls and the Little Tramp’s uniquely graceful movements. Here you’ll find madcap floundering and falling through a restaurant caused by Chaplin’s hapless waiter in The Rink, plus the dizzying interaction of queasy passengers on an excursion boat in A Day’s Pleasure. You’ll look forward to looking backward even more often. (Scott Renshaw)

Date: Dec 29, 2012
Time: Times Vary
Phone: 801-321-0310
Address: 111 East 300 South, Salt Lake City, 84111
Where: Broadway Centre Cinemas