Skip to main content

GO WEST

USA, 1925 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Buster Keaton

In a novel twist on the romantic comedy formula, Buster Keaton stars opposite an affectionate cow in this warmhearted Western farce that demonstrates Keaton's skill at pathos, without lessening his own aptitude for epic slapstick: stampeding cattle wreaking hilarious havoc in a pioneer metropolis!

When Buster Keaton completed Go West in 1925 could he have realised that the mastery of his pioneering filmmaking techniques and comedic talent would render his films fascinating cinema over 70 years later? Light years ahead of his time in camera and editing methodology, stunts (often extremely dangerous and performed by Keaton himself) and the choreography of action. Go West is still as lively, crazy and screamingly funny as the night it opened. The protagonist is a lonely soul - aptly named Friendless (Keaton in the lead) - who finds work on a cattle ranch way out West. While the other men are off being fearless, dusty, sweaty and macho, Friendless finds a soulmate in an devoted cow named Brown Eyes. The two share moments, equally touching and humourous, as Friendless waits for Brown Eyes to milk herself. His devotion edges toward the absurd when Friendless attaches antlers to Brown Eyes' head so she can defend herself.

Typical of Keaton's signature style, he mixes bone-dry sentiment with supremely clever gags. Keaton - born to a family of acrobats known as The Human Mops - was perhaps the only person living at the time capable of completing the astonishing feats of flexibility and comic timing depicted in Go West. Moving beyond slap-stick, Go West typifies an ambition determined to shatter all the expectations of early cinematic.

See also...

SHERLOCK JR.

Seventy years before Purple Rose of Cairo, Woody Allen's film-inside-a-film, Buster Keaton got there first. Sherlock Jr., in which Keaton stars as well as directs, features a cinema ... More »

UNDERTOW

"David Gordon Green goes Southern gothic. John (Dermot Mulroney) lives in the Georgia backwoods with his two boys - teenage Chris (Jamie Bell) and tiny Tim who sometimes wears a pilgrim hat and ... More »

FAME WHORE

An ultra low budget trash masterpiece by a director whose previous works have included Hippy Porn and Mod Fuck Explosion - which may give you some idea of where we're headed. Three vaguely connected ... More »

HONEYDRIPPER

“Honeydripper is set at the intersection of two movements that would change American life forever: civil rights, and rhythm & blues.” - Chicago Sun-Times ... Former boogie-woogie jazz muso Pine ... More »

BACHELORMAN

Ted Davis is a superhuman ladies man. He is worshipped by his pals who live vicariously through Ted's raunchy sexploits. Ted has all the lines, all the moves and a one hundred percent success rate in ... More »

RETURN TO ME

Bob (David Duchovny) is a construction worker, happily married to Elizabeth (Joely Richardson), a celebrated zoologist. Living in a luxurious apartment, they seem to have it all. Suddenly, Elizabeth ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director