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Three Ages [Import]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, Wallace Beery, Joe Roberts, Lillian Lawrence
  • Directors: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline
  • Writers: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Clyde Bruckman, Jean C. Havez, Joseph A. Mitchell
  • Producers: Buster Keaton
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Silent, NTSC, Import
  • Dubbed: Japanese
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Mongrel Media
  • Release Date: Sept. 1 2004
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000214GC

Product Description

Product Description

A brilliant historical satire teeming with inventive flourishes, Buster Keaton's "Three Ages" (1923, 63 min.) is a silent comedy of truly epic proportions. This clever parody of D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance" follows Buster's hard-luck romantic misadventures throughout world history: from the dawn of man in the Stone Age through the gladiator arenas of Ancient Rome to the city streets of the American Jazz Era. Accompanying "Three Ages" on this DVD are two rarely seen short works: "The Goat" (1921, 25 min.), with Buster mistaken for nefarious gunslinger Dead Eye Dan and caught up in a prolonged slapstick-filled chase, and "My Wife's Relations" (1922, 25 min.), a comedy of domestic turmoil that seems to reflect some of the tensions between Keaton and the Talmadges, his real-life in-laws at the time.

Buster Keaton's feature debut as a director (he shared credit with gagman and longtime collaborator Eddie Kline) spoofs, among other things, D.W. Griffith's Intolerance with a look at the trials of true love through the ages. Buster plays a hapless suitor in three different epochs: a bearskin-wearing, dinosaur-riding caveman in the Stone Age; a meek centurion with a ragtag chariot in ancient Rome; and a jazz age Romeo in Model T and black tie. In each time period, he vies for the object of his affections with burly, barrel-chested Wallace Beery, matching Beery's brawn and underhanded dirty tricks with sheer energy and ingenuity. The diminutive deadpan comic is hilarious under a shaggy fright wig and cartoon club as a thoroughly modern caveman, a dwarf among giants at the mercy of romantic Darwinism, but the more inventive sequences belong to the later ages. The rousing chariot race of the Roman segment is topped by a gymnastic chase through dungeons and throne rooms, and the modern section is capped by a mad flight from the police while he rushes to rescue his girl. Three Ages lacks the dramatic unity and sustained creativity of his later masterpieces, but the inventive gas and clever crosscutting turns what could be three individual shorts into an interactive live-action cartoon. Also included are "The Goat," a frantic "mistaken identity" knockabout comedy, and "My Wife's Relations," in which Buster finds himself accidentally married into a family of bullying Irish Catholics. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey on Jan. 24 2004
Format: DVD
THREE AGES is one movie told in three parts. The first section takes place during prehistoric times, showing us Caveman Buster's (riding around on his special-effect dinosaur) attempts to woo cavewomen. The second part is set during the height of the Roman Empire, while the third is contemporary (well, it's set in the then-current 1920s, which means now it almost qualifies as historic). The movie follows the course of love, giving us a typical example of courtship (meeting the parents, jealousy, etc) and how that situation would unfold in each time period. Naturally, many of the jokes come from seeing how much things haven't changed.
In the historical time periods, much of the humor is derived from having anachronisms in the form of modern conveniences: the Caveman Keaton plays golf with a huge rock club, and the Roman Keaton has a sundial watch. It's a pity that these sort of gags would be endlessly ripped off in later films, as it does take a little of the shine off them here. Still, what may not seem fresh anymore nonetheless remains amusing.
I liked this movie even though there isn't too much in the way of Keaton's noted physical comedy. There are a few jokes that rely on him bouncing in and out of things, but to a far lesser extent than usual. There are some impressively large-scale sequences (I'm thinking of the rock battle, the chariot race, and the football game) that had me grinning. This is a film that is more amusing than it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Also included are two short films: THE GOAT and MY WIFE'S RELATIONS.
THE GOAT contains two staples of the short films of this era. Jokes about being hungry, and people running away from the police as fast as they can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Libby on Feb. 17 2000
Format: VHS Tape
THE THREE AGES is Buster Keaton's parody of D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE. Buster and Wallace Beery star as romantic rivals for the hand of pretty Margaret Leahy. The twist is that the story is told thrice by intercutting between three time periods: prehistoric, Ancient Rome, and Modern Times (1920's). The gags are fast and furious and many are truly surreal; highlights include caveman Buster attempting to woo Amazonian Blanche Payson, a Roman chariot race hindered by snow(!), and a beautifully constructed chase sequence with Buster escaping from a police station and inadvertantly returning there a few minutes later. The Kino source print has apparently been pieced together from the best available materials and with a few minor exceptions is sharp and clear. It also has a nicely done music score conducted by Robert Israel. As a sidenote, many filmographies list Oliver Hardy in the cast. The actor in question is in fact a near-Hardy lookalike named Kewpie Morgan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gebert on March 22 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Keaton's first real attempt at a starring comedy (after The Saphead) hedged its bets by adopting an Intolerance-like structure that would have allowed him to cut it up into three shorts had it failed. Happily, it didn't and he soon went on to greater things. He plays three romantic losers vying for the same girl against the same bully in Caveman, Roman and Modern costumes. A minor but breezily enjoyable comedy; the tape is rounded out by My Wife's Relations, which is the one real dog among his short films, and The Boat, which is one of his best (it includes the famous image of Buster going down with the ship, only his porkpie hat remaining on the surface of the water).
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