With the police hot on their trail, Stan and Ollie attempt to change clothes in their getaway car, only to find themselves struggling to balance atop the girders of an unfinished skyscraper. Will they return to ground level in one piece?
Farmhands Keaton and Roberts share a cottage full of mechanical devices for making life easy. They are rivals for the farmer's daughter. Keaton , disguised as a scarecrow, causes troubles for his rival and the farmer. When Keaton stoops to tie his shoe, the girl accepts what she thinks is his kneeling proposal.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
'The Scarecrow (1920)' is just a ton of fun. It's charming, whimsical and entertaining. The story is simple: Keaton and his on-screen brother vie for the attention of their neighbour, running afoul of an angry dog, an angry dad and each other in the process. However, this simple set-up really is just that: a set-up. Of course, it's this that provides the narrative pay-off, which is actually quite satisfying, but it certainly feels secondary to the flick's energetic skits. For me, this works, primarily because the narrative is still strong enough that you care about what's happening. The skits themselves are really great, too, and sort of feel unique among Keaton's work, in a way. The first segment of the piece focuses on the wacky contraptions the central brothers have built into their single-room home, with some impressive choreography showing off each element's dual purpose. The second is dedicated to a chase with perhaps the most talented dog I've ever seen on screen, one who can climb ladders and generally keep up with Keaton every step of the way. I hope that he was treated well on set, though (I see no compelling evidence - at least, in the film itself - to the contrary). The final segment is where the eponymous scarecrow finally comes into play, which takes things in an ever-so-slightly slower and more traditionally slapstick direction. Generally, I feel as though this is probably Keaton's best short, even if it doesn't have the wildest stunts or most complex choreography. It's energetic, enjoyable and fun. Its title-cards are quite funny, too. 8/10
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