Back to IndieWire

An Amazing Buster Keaton “Find”

An Amazing Buster Keaton “Find”

Who would have dreamt that never-before-seen photographs and
a copy of an annotated script for Buster Keaton’s masterpiece The General would turn up after almost
90 years? Yet that’s precisely what has occurred, and it’s cause for

Decades after Keaton went on location to Cottage Grove,
Oregon to film his Civil War railroad story, curious Keaton buffs and scholars
started traveling to the town in search of locations and eyewitnesses to the
production. Snippets of history have resulted, but none can compare with the
discovery of a cache of never-published photos taken during the Keaton troupe’s
stay on location.

Here I will quote directly from a press release issued by
the Damfinos: “A local photographer was given unprecedented access to the
filming of the classic, and his vast collection of photographs and nitrate
negatives remained stored in a box until found recently by one of his
descendants. The collection was obtained by the member of the Buster Keaton Society,
and rights to publish the materials were donated to the group. In addition, the
only known script for the film, the personal copy of one of the film’s writers,
Clyde Bruckman, complete with his and Keaton’s handwritten notes, recently
surfaced at auction and rights for it were obtained by the Keaton Society,
which plans to publish a book in the near future, featuring both the
photographs and the script, along with other rare, previously unpublished
material about the making of the film.”

One picture of Buster playing baseball on location, in his
General hairstyle and garb, has been released, along with a shot of Clyde
Bruckman’s script cover. Both are understandably watermarked by the Damfinos to
protect their proprietary rights.

Again, to quote from the press release: “The material will
be available for viewing in person one time only at this year’s Buster Keaton
Convention, Oct. 2-4, 2014, in Muskegon, Michigan. For further information
about the convention, visit and click on Convention.”

I, for one, can’t wait to see that book. 

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Reviews and tagged , ,