Three Ages (new restoration!)

One of the earliest Keaton films, Three Ages uses the multi-part structure of D.W. Griffith’s epic Intolerance both as a form of parody, and for practical reasons. At the time, it was unproven whether or not Buster could successfully wear multiple hats (writing, directing and acting) on a feature film, so should the venture have tanked, it was deliberately built so that it could be cut and re-distributed into three separate two-reelers, a form he had already conquered. In the film, Buster plays a young man in competition for a lady’s hand, in a story told across three time periods: the Stone Age, the Roman Empire and the present day. It was also the first film to use the talents of Keaton’s loyal staff of comedy writers, who would remain with him throughout most of the ‘20s. Lucky for us, its modest success paved the way for an extraordinary string of almost a dozen more silent features from Keaton before the end of the decade.

Dirs. Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline, 1923, DCP, 64 min.