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Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow 

A series about the life, career and works of the movie comedy genius.




Won 3 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »


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A millionaire vacationing in Mexico falls for a local girl and sets out to win her.

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A drunkard priest who has been cast out by his community struggles to atone and regain his honour and dignity.

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Complete series cast summary:
Lindsay Anderson ...  Narrator 3 episodes, 1987
Charles Lamont Charles Lamont ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
William R. Cox William R. Cox ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Loyal T. Lucas Loyal T. Lucas ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Eleanor Keaton Eleanor Keaton ...  Herself 3 episodes, 1987
Harvey Parry ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Raymond Rohauer Raymond Rohauer ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
John Wilson John Wilson ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Keith Fennell Keith Fennell ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
William Ernshaw William Ernshaw ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Grace Matteson Grace Matteson ...  Herself 3 episodes, 1987
Ronald Gilstrap Ronald Gilstrap ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Harold Terry Harold Terry ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Dean Riesner ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Anthony D. Nealis Anthony D. Nealis ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Gil Perkins ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Albert S. Rogell Albert S. Rogell ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Anthony Simmons Anthony Simmons ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
John Montgomery John Montgomery ...  Himself - Journalist 3 episodes, 1987
Edward Bernds Edward Bernds ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Jack Cummings ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Jerome Medrano Jerome Medrano ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Billy Beck ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Len 'Spider' Austin Len 'Spider' Austin ...  Himself - Clown 3 episodes, 1987
James Karen ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Gerald Potterton Gerald Potterton ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
John Gillett John Gillett ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
Mick Dillon ...  Himself 3 episodes, 1987
William Collier Jr. ...  Himself 2 episodes, 1987


In this series, we follow the life of the legendary movie comedy giant from his childhood on the stage to his film career. Along the way, we learn of the works of this genius and his methods in creating them. Furthermore, we see how events drove him to ruin and how they turned around in his later years to allow him to enjoy the acclaim that was his due. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

30 September 1987 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Buster Keaton - Sein Leben, sein Werk See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thames Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(3 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?

Alternate Versions

German version runs 120 min (as aired on "arte" channel in March 2004). See more »


Features The Railrodder (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

The first 'jackass' seizes the camera!
5 April 2001 | by renaldo and claraSee all my reviews

I don't believe I've ever rented a biography before, but did so upon the suggestion of my boyfriend...he also watches "Jackass" on MTV and said that not only was Buster Keaton the first one to try all these silly, rediculous, AMAZING stunts, but that he is Jackie Chan's #1 influence. Well, this I had to see.

I was mesmerized by his early silent films. Not *just* because of the action scenes themselves, which I still can't believe he could've directed in the 20's(the train and the dummy conductor falling off railroad tracks, the woodland wildfire, whose smoke didn't go out for another 6 weeks!), but also because Buster had no precedent. There was really noone for him to look up to as far as PURELY physical humour. He was blessed with a stamina and idea that was so new and fragile that it seemed he was fervently trying to display it on-screen, before he lost the guts to do so.

That's why he was so miserable when he couldn't expel his ideas and do what he wanted later on. What a shame to have seen Buster in later movies looking sadly in an alcoholic haze...but could you blame him? How stupid and inane dialogue actually sounded in a film, more than ever before to me, when I heard Buster Keaton or his costars speaking in them. For once, I understood the beauty and mystique of silent film. Buster Keaton must've hated to see this era end.

But although sound had been added, Keaton always argued physical over lyrical humour. He is so commendable in my eyes to have impressed his fans by saying less and doing more.

This biography was not only a joy to watch and a great memorial to The Master of Physical Comedy, but it also reminded me to seize the day. That if I have an idea, no matter how funny, or crazy it is, to just DO IT. Something about Buster Keaton only having those FEW years in the 20's to shine makes you think of how little you've shined in life. At least it did for me!

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