Plot: A man (Buster Keaton) is at the end of the rope, literally, as he has lost it all and has no desire to push ahead with life. But while he tries to end it all in various ways, he somehow manages to survive the attempts and then takes some odd paths forward, each stranger than the next. Buster winds up having too much to drunk, going to a zoo, fishing, and eventually wanders into a country club, where he is pulled into a high society fox hunt.
Entertainment Value: Long considered one of Buster Keaton’s lost shorts, Hard Luck would be found and while some elements are fragments or in rough shape, at least the movie itself survives. I think this piece has some good laughs, but it feels a lot different than most of Keaton’s work and while humorous, I wouldn’t rank it with my personal favorites from his resume. I think I just prefer Keaton’s more narrative driven work, as he tends to build humor from characters well, whereas here is feels like a patchwork of more random sequences sewn together. At the same time, the slapstick is here and the laughs are as well, with Keaton even claiming the wild finale earned the biggest laughs of his entire career. Keaton is joined by regulars Virginia Fox and Joe Roberts, who have small roles, while Keaton carries the lion’s share of the humor. I had fun with this short, but it comes off as disjointed, so as I said, I didn’t connect with it on the same level as some of Keaton’s other work.
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