Buster Keaton Rides Again

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Buster Keaton Rides Again
Buster Keaton Rides Again.jpg
DVD cover art
Directed by John Spotton
Produced by Julian Biggs
Written by Donald Brittain
Narrated by Michael Kane
Music by Malca Gillson
Cinematography John Spotton
Edited by John Spotton
Distributed by National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Release date
  • 1965 (1965)
  • October 30, 1965 (1965-10-30)
(United States)
  • October 15, 1966 (1966-10-15)
Running time
55 minutes, 25 seconds
Language English

Buster Keaton Rides Again is a 55-minute 1965 documentary film directed by John Spotton and narrated by Michael Kane. The film is a behind-the-scenes documentary shot while Buster Keaton's film The Railrodder (1965), was being produced.[1] Although it is a production documentary, the film is actually longer than The Railrodder, which was only 24 minutes long. Both films were produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). In addition, a French version of Buster Keaton Rides Again, Avec Buster Keaton was released.[2]


Buster Keaton Rides Again combines behind-the-scenes footage during the filming of The Railrodder with a retrospective of Keaton's work including scenes from The Butcher Boy (1917), The Frozen North (1922), Seven Chances (1925), and The General (1927).[3] Keaton and Gerald Potterton, his director on The Railrodder, discussed and occasionally argued over gags in the film with the director concerned about the safety of his star. [Note 1]

During the filming of The Railrodder, Keaton celebrated his 69th birthday. He also had the opportunity to meet fans across Canada.[4]


Filmed concurrently with the production of The Railrodder during the fall of 1964, the NFB documentary was filmed in black-and-white, as opposed to the short film itself, which is in colour. The choice of black-and-white was not only for economic reasons, as the format allowed for an easy integration of the footage from Keaton's earlier films.[5]


Buster Keaton Rides Again was released with The Railrodder. The motivation behind making The Railrodder with Buster Keaton, was that "Critics were rediscovering and wildly praising his great silent comedies of the '20s."[6] Produced primarily as a made-for-television short feature on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), after broadcast, the film was made available on 16 mm to schools, libraries and other interested parties. The film was also made available to film libraries operated by university and provincial authorities.[7]


Buster Keaton Rides Again was submitted to the 1966 Canadian Film Awards, where John Spotton won Best General Information Award.[8] He also won the CIDALC Award at the 1966 Venice Film Festival. Spotton was also nominated for the Flaherty Documentary Award at the 1967 BAFTA Awards.[9]

Buster Keaton Rides Again went on to be entered in a number of film festivals, winning other prestigious awards, including first prize at the 1967 American Film and Video Festival in the category of Music, Literature and Films (Itinerant).[2]


Buster Keaton Rides Again and The Railrodder are available for free streaming on the National Film Board's website as well as on DVD.[2] In addition, it is also on the NFB's YouTube channel.[10] In Canada, the NFB itself markets the DVD, while Kino Video distributes the film in the United States.[11]



  1. ^ Keaton insisted that his comedic ideas about a map flapping about on his ride was not a dangerous stunt; the scene remained in the film.[4]


  1. ^ Neibaur 2010, p. 201.
  2. ^ a b c "Awards: 'Buster Keaton Rides Again'." NFB Collections. Retrieved: March 18, 2016.
  3. ^ Neibaur 2010, p. 200.
  4. ^ a b Neibaur 2010, p. 203.
  5. ^ Meade 1997, p. 414.
  6. ^ Schneider, Maria. "The Railrodder/Buster Keaton Rides Again." A.V. Club, March 29, 2002. Retrieved: March 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Ohayon, Albert. "Propaganda cinema at the NFB". National Film Board of Canada, July 13, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Awards Database." Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. Retrieved: March 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "Film: Robert Flaherty Award (Feature Length Film, Documentary in Content) in 1967." BAFTA. Retrieved: March 18, 2016.
  10. ^ "Available on DVD: 'Buster Keaton Rides Again'." NFB.ca.Retrieved: March 17, 2016.
  11. ^ "The Art of Buster Keaton DVD Box Set." Kino Video. Retrieved: March 17, 2016.


  • Meade, Marion. Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase. New York: Da Capo Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-3068-0802-9. 
  • Neibaur, James L. The Fall of Buster Keaton: His Films for MGM, Educational Pictures, and Columbia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-810-87682-8. 

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