Action / Comedy / Western
Action / Comedy / Western
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A young man who doesn't find a job in his small hometown, tries his luck in New York, but is overwelmed by the life of the city, so decides to try his luck somewhere else after a only a few minutes in New York. He falls off a train near a ranch, where he tries his luck as a cowbowy, being in his own way very sucessful. But he shows what he can do when the farm has to bring a 100 head of cattle to the slaughterhouses of Los Angeles to avoid going bankrupt, against the will of his neighbour who wants a better price. After a shoot-out with the neighbour's men he's the only person on a Los Angeles bound train with 1000 cows.... —Stephan Eichenberg.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 10:44 PM
grade Movie Reviews
Underrated Keaton Film
Go West is a movie that you seldom hear about and even Keaton did not consider it among his best. However, every time I see it, I cannot help but think that it is one of his funniest and most touching films. In his independent work, Keaton had an amazing ability to portray very unfortunate characters and yet not seem to be pandering to the audience for its pity. In this film, Keaton plays a character referred to as Friendless. The opening scenes of the film show him bouncing around from one unfortunate (and hilarious) situation to another. Yet rather than feel pity for him, the audience can root for this character and good-naturedly laugh at how Friendless reacts to and deals with his misfortunes. It's difficult not to admire the way he overcomes all challenges. When he finds a friend in a cow named Brown Eyes, his loyalty to her and the rancher that employed him precipitates an amazing sequence of events, culminating in an unbelievable cattle stampede through the streets of LA. Although, the scene may drag on a bit, I'll never forget the image of Buster Keaton running down a city street in a red devil's outfit being pursued by a giant herd of cattle. It is one of the most hilariously absurd scenes ever committed to film. There are great gags from beginning to end and, as usual for Keaton, the final sequence is very satisfying. In addition, the Kino release has an outstanding soundtrack which enhances the film considerably. I would highly recommend Go West to anyone as an introduction to Keaton, silent films, or comedies in general.
Gentle, off-beat satire of movie westerns and sentimentality
There is a fundamental disagreement about Go West, between those who see it as Keaton's only sentimental movie, and those who think Buster is satirizing sentimentality. I'm in the latter group. Keaton's satire is so subtle, and so devoid of meanness, that people easily miss itbut I'm convinced he's playing the whole opening sequence with tongue firmly in cheek. His character, "Friendless," is just a shade too pathetic to take seriously; even a dog turns away coldly when he tries to pat it. Buster is not appealing for pity here, he's getting in a gentle dig at other performers (particularly, perhaps, one whose initials were C.C.) who did.In a later scene, mooning over a girl who won't give him the time of day, Buster leans wistfully against the edge of a well. His elbow knocks the bucket into the well, the rope unspools and the handle, spinning, clunks him smartly on the head. Don't feel sorry for me, he is saying: laugh at me. Buster's screen character is a stoic (as he was off-screen), and his sense of humor is part of his stoicism. His insistence on seeing the comedy even in painful and humiliating situations is the inexhaustible source of his dignity.Buster had a natural rapport with animals. He shares their mute patience: "They do not sweat and whine about their condition," as Walt Whitman wrote, and neither did he. The heart of Go West is the touchingthough faintly ridiculousfriendship between Friendless and Brown Eyes, a pretty little Holstein cow who is ostracized by other cows on the ranch where Friendless works as a hand. Buster trained Brown Eyes himself, and she follows him around with endearing, dopey devotion. In one of the film's best sight gags, he ties a pair of antlers on her head so that she can defend herself against horned steer. She looks like a seriously overweight reindeer. The plot is driven by Friendless's efforts to save Brown Eyes from being sent to the slaughterhouse with the rest of the cattle, and to save his employer from financial ruin. He shows some interest in his employer's attractive daughter, but not a whole lot; poor Kathleen Myers is left with little to do, and looks a bit miffed at playing second fiddle to a cow.Go West is easily Keaton's oddest film, and it's not entirely successful. There's a limit to how much comedy you can get out of cows. Where Buster got the idea of making a movie that centers around cattle I don't know (though I do think "Brown Eyes" is a joke about the devoted, cow-eyed leading ladies featured by some other comedians.) But once he got an idea, Buster always explored it thoroughly and carried it as far as it would go. He dreamed up a promising finale: a herd of cattle turned loose in the streets of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, as he himself later said, it didn't work out as planned. There's an enjoyable zaniness and surrealism to the spectacle, but it's all a little overplayed, Mack Sennett style, which is uncharacteristic for a Keaton movie. Even more atypically, he fakes the final stampede by speeding up the film: it just wasn't possible to get the cows moving fast enough to provide a satisfying final chase.The earlier part of Go West, however, contains a number of beautifully Keatonesque moments: his attempt to adopt a bowlegged walk to look like an old cowboy, the elegantly summarized sequence where he rides the rails, the perfect timing of the supper table scenes, in which Buster repeatedly arrives just as everyone is leaving, then finally "turns the tables." Just hired at the ranch, Buster is handed a pail and stool and told to milk a cow. He approaches the cow, places the pail under her udders, sits down a discreet yard away and waits for the cow to do her thing. When nothing happens, he takes the pail and shows it to the cow, in case she didn't notice it was there, puts it back and keeps waiting patiently. Playing it straight, never italicizing his jokes, finding comedy in stillness and in not reacting, a comedy of negative spaces, is the essence of Keaton's style. He never "milks" his gagsnot even this one.In my favorite scene, Buster pokes fun at his own "stone face" persona. He's playing cards with a couple of tough cowboys and accuses one of cheating. The cowboy pulls out his six-gun, levels it at Buster, and orders, "When you say thatSMILE." Buster's reaction is one of his subtlest and most ineffably hilarious close-ups. He pauses; he pondersnot whether to smile, but how to get out of the jam since he CAN'T smile. He tries out the Lillian Gish, Broken Blossoms bit of pushing the corners of his mouth up with his fingers. Not good enough. He sighs. Then a crafty determination creeps into his eyes. He insinuates his pinky behind the cowboy's trigger finger, and with all his strength keeps him from squeezing the trigger while he pulls out his own tiny gun (which, for convenience, he has attached to a string like a child's mitten) and makes the guy back down. Not smiling is a matter of life and death.
Buster And His Bovine - Not A Bad Film
No, as most critics have said, this isn't one of Buster Keaton's better feature films, but it's not bad and surely it is better than what you might have read in some critic's book. It has its moments and is a bit different in way, if you consider a man and cow falling in love with each other! (This should be a "cult classic!")Buster heeds the advice, "Go West, Young Man, Go West," and winds up out in the middle of nowhere after crawling inside a barrel and then the barrel falling out of a train.He winds up taking discarded cowboy clothes and trying his hand at that profession but, of course, has no clue even how to ride a horse. His only accomplishment is taking a stone out of a cow's hoof. The cow is so grateful, it follows Buster around the rest of the movie and the two become quite attached.After some low-key attempts at several projects, Buster winds up - I am really condensing this - back on a train with the cattle hoping to be sold so that the almost-destitute boss can get enough money to save his ranch. The train is robbed, the cattle derailed and the herd winds up in the middle of a big city!That's the real fun part of the film, as it is in so many silent comedies. The adventures of seeing a herd of cattle going down the main city streets and then into barbershops, Turkish baths, Ladies Department Stores, etc., is very funny. The ending was very clever and final punch-line not what the viewers anticipate. All in all, not a lot of laugh-out-loud scenes but a decent Keaton silent film and definitely worth a watch. I am glad most of the reviewers here appreciated this movie.
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