There can be no doubt, in my mind at least, that Buster Keaton was the master of comedy in the 1920s. Sure, Chaplin and Lloyd were also brilliant, each in his own way, but none of them reached Keaton’s levels in terms of perfection, athleticism and timing. He was, simply put, damn funny.
Lucky for us, then, that practically all of his best films are available at the Internet Archive. One good example, and one of my personal favourites, is College.
Keaton here plays the bookworm Ronald who really wants to study to perfect his life, but the girl he falls in love with will only accept him if he joins the college with the best athletics, and proves that he can handle sports as well as books.
If you watch this film because you are interested in sports in the 1920s (not a very bad reason) then you will have to wait a while before the real athletic action starts. But it is worth the wait!
In addition to the sports, there are some absolutely wonderfully funny scenes with Keaton as a bartender. Well worth watching for those alone.
If you cannot stand silent film without a soundtrack, there is another copy with a piano score (not sure how good it is) but considerably lower image quality.
This film is best enjoyed by any fan of silent film in general or Buster Keaton in particular. Keaton really shows how to make a perfect comedy here.
Running time: 1 h 5 min
Director: James W Horne, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton
Image quality: Good
Resolution: Medium (640×480)
Best file format: MPG4 (933 M)