"one of the strangest experiments in movie history"
October 22, 2015 12:36 AM   Subscribe

Thanks so much for this link! I thought I'd read everything on Film through the years, but I didn't know any of this history.
posted by thetortoise at 3:55 AM on October 22, 2015

Us regular folk sometimes assume the famous and talented all know each other and are great friends but it was sort of sad that the two, both masters of a related art, could not connect.
posted by sammyo at 4:05 AM on October 22, 2015

Thanks for the post. I going to post on this when the kickstarter for NotFilm was over but then forgot about it. I kicked in $50 for the project as I've been on a Keaton kick lately.
posted by octothorpe at 5:41 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, I've never heard of this, but what a pairing.
[Keaton] added, obscurely: “As for Samuel Beckett, I took one look at his script and asked him if he ate Welsh rarebit before he went to bed at night.”

Beckett told Kevin Brownlow that he found Keaton “very competent” and “his movement was excellent,” and that he seemed to enjoy helping to create one of the film’s several scenes; yet, he also found the actor “inaccessible” behind “a poker mind as well as a poker face,” and appeared not ever to have read the film’s script.
The Keaton quote is referring to the old saying that Little Nemo in Slumberland played with, that if you eat welsh rarebit before bed, you'd have crazy dreams. (In Little Nemo comics, the bracketing conceit is that the character ate welsh rarebit and then the middle part of the strip is his fantastical dreams.) I think the saying pre-dates the comics, tho not certain of that.

As for the second part here, what a strange thing, to have Keaton on board but not make use of his filmmaking genius. I mean, his movement was excellent, no shit, but in the making-of short about The Railrodder (which apparently was made just before this), Keaton is shown workshopping and improving gags, showing how better to shoot things, etc. I can understand if Beckett and the filmmakers found Keaton to be too... blue collar? or something? or somehow thought he couldn't understand? Or I guess maybe Keaton just withdrew for whatever reason? What a missed opportunity, though.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:36 PM on October 22, 2015

The Keaton quote, I think, might refer to Winsor McCay's strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. Same creator, different dream platform as/than Little Nemo.
posted by the sobsister at 6:32 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oops, I remembered wrong - it's not from Little Nemo, it's from a different comic of his, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:37 PM on October 22, 2015

Ha, yes! Teach me to preview.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:38 PM on October 22, 2015

There's at least two movies called Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend too, from 1906 and 1921.
posted by octothorpe at 7:30 PM on October 22, 2015

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