Kangaroo Valley
Buster Keaton Film Festival
kv-rp logo

Upper River Hall, Kangaroo Valley
7.30pm Fri Aug 27 AND 7.30pm Sat Aug 28 2004

** DONE! **

the Festival was a great success, with the audience seemingly enjoying itself hugely,
and we raised over $4000 for projects in East Timor

see review, e-mail comments

a video (VHS, PAL) of Dirty Dan parts 1 & 2,
with sound recorded at the performance on Saturday Aug 28,
is now available for purchase
price: AUD25, with proceeds going to the Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership
to secure your copy, call Martin Wesley-Smith on 02 4465 1299 or e-mail him

scroll down to see the original web-site, with program details etc, below

a fund-raiser for the Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership,
this unique event follows last year's hugely successful SOLD-OUT show
Buster Keaton Goes to Timor;
a family show (kids generally love silent movies),
it will feature, over two nights, several hilarious Buster Keaton silent films
accompanied live by pianist Robert Constable


also on the bill:
the locally-made video Dirty Dan the Pump-Out Man [2003]
and the premiere of its brand-new sequel Dirty Dan: The Old Grey Mayor

note: both Dirty Dan videos will screen both nights
but the selection of Buster Keaton films will be different
details below

Arrive early with your own mug and receive a free, warming gluhwein!
Free supper at interval!!

tickets: $20, $10 (concession) per show from Kangaroo Valley Newsagency, Moss Vale Rd
proceeds to projects in East Timor

Buster Keaton films to be shown:
The Blacksmith Cops One Week The Playhouse Sherlock, Jr.

inquiries: e-mail Martin Wesley-Smith (mwsmith@shoalhaven.net.au) or call (02) 44 651 299

program details

7.30pm Fri Aug 27 2004

Sherlock Junior


Dirty Dan 1 & 2

7.30pm Sat Aug 28 2004

The Playhouse
The Blacksmith


Dirty Dan 1 & 2
One Week

program notes

Keaton | Constable | The Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | The Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

Buster Keaton


When only a few months old, (Buster Keaton) nearly suffocated after being accidentally shut in a costume trunk off stage while his mother and father performed, an incident that encouraged his parents to begin leaving him at whatever boarding house they were residing in. According to family legend, the Keatons then escaped from a series of fires and train wrecks that would have destroyed a less charmed family.

Finally, on one harrowing day when he was nearly three: Buster caught his right forefinger in a clothes wringer, losing the first joint, gashed his head near the eye with a brick that boomeranged after he threw it at a peach tree and was sucked out of an upstairs window by a passing cyclone that carried him floating through the air and conveniently deposited him, unhurt, in the middle of a street a few blocks away.

After that, his parents decided he'd be safer on stage ...

(read more here)

born 4 October 1895 in Piqua, Kansas, as Joseph Frank Keaton Jr.
married to actress Natalie Talmadge; two sons; divorced
married in 1930s; divorced
married Eleanor Ruth Norris in 1940; together until Buster's death on February 1 1966 of lung cancer

began in vaudeville with father Joe Keaton and mother Myra Keaton in 1896
began film work in 1917 for Comique

from http://www.touchstone.freeserve.co.uk/keaton/about.html:

Buster Keaton was one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever seen.

Born in 1895 when film-making was in its infancy, by the end of the 1920s he had become the most versatile star of the silent era. Actor, comedian, stuntman, writer, director. He excelled at them all.

The most graceful of actors, his films are filled with wonderful moments, from deceptively simple but effective gags through to elaborate and life threatening stunts. He was a pioneer in the use of special effects, appearing on-screen simultaneously nine times in The Playhouse (1921).

By the end of the 1920s he had appeared in over 20 shorts and a dozen features, among them some of the greatest comedies ever seen. The General, his 1926 masterpiece, often appears in lists of the 'Top 100 Films Of All Time'.

At the start of the thirties, with changes in studio structures and the introduction of sound, Buster lost artistic control over his films. He became dependant on alcohol, and as the 1930s and 1940s passed he moved out of the public eye. He continued to make films, but nothing matched the quality of his early work.

During the fifties, with appearances on television and cameos in a handful of major studio films, interest in his silent films began to grow. Prints that hadn't been seen since the 1920s were unearthed and screened to enthusiastic audiences.

Just before his death in 1966, Buster Keaton was finally receiving the recognition he deserved.

see busterkeaton.com

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

Robert Constable

Robert has silent film music in his blood: at least three of his great-aunts and -uncles used to play professionally for the "silents" in the period following World War 1.

A well-known concert pianist and improviser, it was a natural transition for him to play for silent films. He started when a colleague asked if he could "have a go" for a fundraising event. He undertook his first concert performances accompanying silent films about five years ago; since then his "shows" have been in demand.

When he's not playing for silent films, Robert is Professor and Dean of Music at the University of Newcastle's Conservatorium.

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

The Blacksmith [1922, 19' (?)]

written and directed by Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair
technical direction by Fred Gabourie; cinematography by Elgin Lessley
presented by Joseph M. Schenck; produced by Raymond Rohauer and Joseph M. Schenck
cast: Buster Keaton as the Blacksmith's assistant, Joe Roberts as the Blacksmith and Virginia Fox as the Horsewoman

Buster clowns around in a blacksmith's shop until he and the smithy get in a fight which sends the smithy to jail. Buster helps several customers with horses, then destroys a Rolls Royce while fixing the car parked next to it.

from At-A-Glance Film Reviews:

This Buster Keaton short showcases his talent for mechanical comedy. He's an assistant to a blacksmith, but when the blacksmith is arrested, Keaton's in charge. Customers come in with various problems with their horses or cars, and the solution Keaton invents for them (and the mayhem wrought upon them) is devilishly clever, not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. [4 1/2 stars]

A review by Daniel Dopierala of Kealba, Melbourne, Sept 14 2003:


Probably Buster Keaton's funniest early two-reeler. In The Blacksmith he plays quite an experienced town blacksmith who stresses out his boss all the time. The gags are so ingenious, you'll laugh out loud so much, you'll never forget it. From the opening title exclaiming "Under a spreading chestnut tree The village smithy stands;" you'll know Buster will be there to take care of the show. The superb comedic timing by Buster and his heavy Big Joe Roberts is unforgettable throughout the entire 2 reel duration of the film. Many regard The Boat or Cops to be Buster's best but in this reviewer's opinion, The Blacksmith is probably the funniest silent two-reeler of the 1920s and that's saying a lot in regards to how many shorts were made back then by Keaton, Chaplin, Lloyd, Langdon and Laurel & Hardy. All those comedians are great but for some reason The Blacksmith is absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend this to you if you are a huge Keaton fan. Buster Keaton was truly a genius. He once said "No man can be a genius in slapshoes and a flat hat" but maybe that was the only thing wrong he ever said in terms of how he made his films.

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

Cops [1922, 18']

written and directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton
cast: Buster Keaton as The Young Man, Joe Roberts as the Police Chief, Virginia Fox as the Mayor's Daughter, Edward F. Cline as the Hobo, and Steve Murphy as the Conman selling furniture


Through a series of mistaken identities Buster winds up with a load of furniture in the middle of parade of policemen. An anarchist's bomb lands in his carriage. After lighting his cigarette with it, he tosses it into the ranks of police. When it explodes the police chase him all over town.

from At-A-Glance Film Reviews:

One of Buster Keaton's best short films ever, Cops is a fine showcase of Keaton's physical comedy. A series of mishaps gets him deeper and deeper into trouble, culminating in what appears to be the entire world's police force chasing after him. Keaton's efforts to elude them are both inventive and funny. This short also contains a classic sequence with a horse and an overfull wagon load of furniture. [4 1/2 stars]

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

One Week [1920, 18']

repeated from last year due to popular demand!

written by Edward F. Cline (also story); directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton
technical direction by Fred Gabourie; cinematography by Elgin Lessley; editing by Buster Keaton; produced by Joseph M. Schenck
cast: Buster Keaton as the groom, Joe Roberts as the piano mover and Sybil Seely as the bride

Buster and Sybil are newlyweds who receive a portable house that can be put together in one week. Buster's nemesis and one of Sybil's admirers switches the numbers on the crates containing the house parts.

from At-A-Glance Film Reviews:

Decades before Jackie Chan, Buster Keaton was famous for his often perilous physical comedy and dangerous stunts. This short film is the one that contains the infamous wall-falling scene, where Buster is saved from certain doom by a well-placed window. There are no stunt doubles, camera tricks, or fancy prop gadgets -- the gag happened just as it appears, and had Keaton been standing a few inches the wrong way, the results might have been fatal. Now that's a dedicated comedian.

Though imperfect, One Week is one of Keaton's best shorts, its only flaw (a minor one, at that) the overlong storm scene. There's an abundance of truly classic American comedy here. Besides the famous stunt described above, watch for his hysterical creative solutions to his problems -- getting up on the roof, moving his house, etc. Not to be missed.

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

The Playhouse [1921, 22']

written and directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton
technical direction by Fred Gabourie; cinematography by Elgin Lessley; editing by Buster Keaton
produced and presented by Joseph M. Schenck
[composer, arranger and musical director for the 1995 Kino Edition: Robert Israel]
cast: Buster Keaton as Audience/Orchestra/Actors/Stagehand, Joe Roberts as Actor/Stagehand, and Virginia Fox as the Twins


The opening scene, a dream sequence prior to the vaudeville routines which follow, is what makes this film famous. In it Keaton plays everyone in a theatre simultaneously (through multiple exposures). He is the band leader, all its members, the dancers on the stage and everyone in the audience.

from At-A-Glance Film Reviews:

This Buster Keaton short is quite a feat of the writer-director-star's technical prowess. An early sequence has Keaton playing the conductor of a show and each of the members of its orchestra, cast, and audience. At one point Keaton appears on screen nine different times. His various characters, instantly recognizable members of various stereotypes, are innovative, as is the elaborate, detailed scheme of gags. Don't let your eyes leave the screen for a second! Unfortunately, the short runs several minutes too long, meandering toward the end. [4 stars]

A review by Darragh O'Donoghue of Dublin, Ireland, Oct 06 1999:

Masterpiece of the Absurd

This has to be one of the strangest, most daring films ever made by a major Hollywood studio, and surely the funniest and most perceptive study of madness in all cinema. The first ten minutes are a breathtaking display of bewildering surrealist magic. Buster Keaton buys a ticket for a variety show. Buster Keaton conducts an orchestra of Buster Keatons, defeated by their hostile instruments. An art-deco line of Buster Keaton minstrels have a calm discussion, while pairs of male and female Buster Keatons make up the audience, restless, spiteful and belligerent.

This is stunning cinema in any language (arf), and a supreme visualisation of mental breakdown, distorted personality, megalomania, and the most terrifying anxieties. It is also an hilarious pre-empting of the auteur theory - the elaborate playbill reveals Buster Keaton to be responsible for EVERYTHING, from scenario to lighting - this monopoly of creativity leads to chaos, madness, fragmentation and estrangement.

As in so many of Keaton's films, this remarkable fantasy is shown to be the dream of a lowly, bullied man, this time a theatrical hand. Far from diminishing the film's dreamlike structure, this revelation intensifies it. An astonishing series of variations on the line between art and life, dream and reality ensues, an argument which descends into ever-increasing spirals of confusion and disintegration.

Some of Keaton's best comic set-pieces follow, all hilarious in themselves, yet underlining the melancholy and fears of Buster himself - be he ordinary man or isolated genius. Life can never remain stable for him, his personality is shot to pieces - whether through existential crises or booze is unclear; like Gulliver in Houyhnhm land, his humanity is stripped to the level of bestiality - a very funny, subversive sequence, which is as despairing as the end of NIGHTMARE ALLEY.

The supposedly redemptive love interest is a bewildering, tormenting game on Buster, as he repeatedly fails to remember which twin is his fiancee. The continually collapsing sets are a thematically rich, Usher(playhouse, geddit?)-like representation of Buster's fragile mind. To universalise the genius of Buster Keaton is to belittle and emasculate him. He is like us only because his trauma is so particular.

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

Sherlock, Jr. [1924, 44']

written by Clyde Bruckman, Jean C. Havez and Joseph A. Mitchell; directed by Buster Keaton
technical direction by Fred Gabourie; cinematography by Byron Houck and Elgin Lessley; editing by Buster Keaton
costume design by Clare West; assistant property master: Ernie Orsatti
produced by Buster Keaton and Joseph M. Schenck; presented by Joseph M. Schenck
cast: Buster Keaton as Sherlock, Jr./projectionist, Kathryn McGuire as the girl, Joe Keaton as her father, Erwin Connelly as the butler/handyman, Ward Crane as the sheik/villain; also Jane Connelly as the mother, George Davis as a conspirator, Doris Deane as the girl who loses a dollar outside cinema, Ruth Holly as the candy store woman, Kewpie Morgan as a conspirator, John Patrick as a conspirator, and Ford West as the theatre manager/Gillette


Buster and Ward are rivals for Kathryn. Ward steals her father's watch and Buster is blamed. Back at his projectionist's job he dreams himself and everyone else in his life into the movie which is playing. He is now Sherlock Holmes looking for some stolen pearls.

from At-A-Glance Film Reviews:

Films from the twenties were not noted for their seamless special effects, but you try to deconstruct the ingredients of the elaborate scene where movie projectionist Buster Keaton, in a dream sequence, jumps in and out of the picture. Relentlessly inventive, Sherlock, Jr. is a real gem of a comedy from the silent era. [4 stars]

A comment by Snow Leopard of Hilliard, Ohio, USA, July 19 2001:

Astounding Creativity

It's almost impossible to describe the astounding creativity of Sherlock, Jr.. Even for Buster Keaton, this is a tremendous display of comedic and fantasy material. What's so remarkable is not so much any particularly hilarious gag or gags as the never-ending stream of amazing and entertaining sights - coming faster and faster as the film proceeds - that seem so off-hand and effortlessly inventive, but that must have involved many hours of painstaking work to perfect. The film vs. reality theme is also highly suggestive, and makes this great movie one of the most completely satisfying efforts by Keaton or anyone else.

The film opens slowly and allows the pace to build gradually. Buster operates the movie projector at a theater, while trying to study on his own to be a detective. He is involved in a real-life mystery that involves his girlfriend's family, and which turns out badly for him. He retreats into the fantasy world of a picture showing at his theater, and from then on you just have to see it to appreciate it. The creative comedy, the technical skill, and the subtly expressed themes are all remarkable.

This is a great experience not to be missed.

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

Dirty Dan the Pump-Out Man [2003, 13'25"]

written by Peter Wesley-Smith; directed, shot and edited by Martin Wesley-Smith
starring Paul Turnock as Dirty Dan, Helen George as Fluff the Magic Virgin, and John George as Froth
one DVC; produced by POOP (Pump Out Our Productions), distributed by car; released Aug 2 2003

dirty dan

Dirty Dan absconds with Kangaroo Valley's last-remaining Virgin. Pursued by angry townsfolk, the lovers leap from Hampden Bridge into Kangaroo River's raging icy torrent! Will they survive? Did the actors survive?? Gee ... hard to say - they haven't been seen since ...

"Possibly one of the finest films to have been produced in Kangaroo Valley so far this month"
[local film critic Ken Park, August 2003]

Dirty Dan:
Bryan Barger:
Esther Barger:

special FX:
voice-over, best boy:
musical improvisations:
camera, editing:
thanks be to:

in the making of this film there was:
Paul Turnock
Helen George
John George
"Li'l Rippa"
Bryan Barger
Esther Barger
citizens of Kangaroo Valley,
including passers-by, eager would-be film stars,
East Timor supporters, and one very clever doglet
Terry Hennessy, assisted by Chris Nobel
Peter Stanton
Terry Hennessy, Libby Turnock, Paul Turnock
Helen George, Paul Turnock
Helen George
Robert Constable
Peter Wesley-Smith
Martin Wesley-Smith
Bryan & Esther Barger of the Kangaroo Valley Post Office
Tom & Michael Rehkopf of the Kangaroo Valley Newsagency
Keith Learn of Valley Woodcrafts
John & Helen Bacon of Red Shed Rural Supplies

no cruelty to animals;
no resemblance to any person living, deceased, or as yet unborn;
no cholesterol;
no talent, integrity, or originality;
no product placement;
no previous experience;
no offence intended or taken;
no plagiarism, theft, or breach of any law, more or less (mainly less); and
no casting couch (except for the role of the Virgin)

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

Dirty Dan the Old Grey Mayor [2004, 26'32"]

written by Peter Wesley-Smith; shot and edited by Martin Wesley-Smith
starring Paul Turnock as Dirty Dan, Helen George as Fluff the Magic Virgin, John George as Froth, and introducing, as Fifi the ingenue, Olivia Wesley-Smith
produced by POOOP (Pump Out Our Out-Put) Productions, distributed by car; to be released Aug 27 2004

world première!!
respectful dan

Having in the meantime saved the valley from flood, Dirty Dan has become the Mayor of Kangaroo. As he selflessly executes his awesome responsibilities he learns the limits of power, pelf, love, and indeed, up to a point, sort of, life itself

"Possibly one of the finest films to have been produced in Kangaroo Valley so far this month"
[local film critic Ken Park, August 2004]

Dirty Dan:

wardrobe mistress:
musical improvisations:
camera, editing:
thanks be to:

in this film there is:
Paul Turnock
Helen George
John George
Olivia Wesley-Smith
"Li'l Rippa"
Guy Novich
citizens of Kangaroo Valley,
including passers-by, eager would-be film stars,
East Timor supporters, and one very clever doglet
Terry Hennessy, assisted by Chris Nobel
Robert Constable
Peter Wesley-Smith
Martin Wesley-Smith
Guy Novich of Café Bella
Tom & Michael Rehkopf of the Kangaroo Valley Newsagency
Chris Truen, Jackie Lenz

no nudity;
no extreme violence;
no dirty talk;
no sexual reference;
no portion unsuitable for children, old maids, or members of the Liberal Party

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

kv-rp logo
The Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership

After the destruction and killing which swept East Timor in September 1999, a small group of KV residents felt a need to do something. A partnership was discussed with an East Timorese village and the Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership was formed. Now three years on, we have a mix of vital local and district people working with many East Timorese in Australia and East Timor.

Remexio is a small village in the hills about one hour's drive south of Dili.

The KV-RP is a "bottom up" or "grass roots" approach to helping the East Timorese help themselves. We hope to assist the East Timorese achieve dignified living through health, education, justice and ecologically sustainable industry. We selectively try to help in ways that are different from those of the UN and other NGOs.

Rather than large single projects, we pursue a multitude of small, personal and usually integrated activities. Being substantially self-funded, and consistent with our philosophy, our material contributions are small. Instead, we rely on sharing our existing skills in day to day situations.

We pursue long-term personal relationships with the East Timorese and actively encourage this approach in others. That part which is conducted in Australia is the provision of education and training to those who have appropriate interests and aptitudes for leadership and mentoring roles back in East Timor.

We now enjoy the beginnings of likely long-term relationships with numerous on-going activities. In addition, much of our involvement is outside of Remexio, in other parts of East Timor, as well as in active networking within Australia. Along the way we have tried to identify the best and worst of our respective Australian and East Timorese lifestyles, to better influence both our paths into the future.

Remexio kids left: kids in Remexio, March 2002


KV-RP is largely self-funded but donations are always very helpful. If made to "AFAP KV-Remexio Partnership" they will be tax deductible (AFAP - Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific Ltd - is our umbrella group, which is recognised by the ATO for tax deductibility).

We cover all our own expenses such as air fares, accommodation etc as well as all administration overheads. 100% of funds raised from the public go directly towards helping the East Timorese and are fully accounted for. Donors may request that their funds be directed towards particular areas of their own special interest, such as health, education, etc.

for more information, see http://www.shoal.net.au/~easttimor/

Paul Turnock (02 4465 1357)

Keaton | Constable | Blacksmith | Cops | One Week | Playhouse | Sherlock, Jr. | Dirty Dan 1 | Dirty Dan 2 | KV-RP | top

a review of "Buster Keaton Goes to Timor", Sat Aug 2 2003:

The "Buster Keaton Goes to Timor" film show last Saturday night was a great success. And what a great night it was! Film buffs from far and wide packed Upper River Hall for a selection of Buster Keaton silent films accompanied by excellent pianist Robert Constable. But for most people - especially for this reviewer - the highlight of the evening was the new Kangaroo Valley film "Dirty Dan the Pump-Out Man"!

We all laughed ourselves sick as the dreaded and dreadful Dirty Dan (artfully, and with great style, played by Paul Turnock) absconded with the delightful Fluff the Magic Virgin (Helen George in a stunning debut on the silver screen), only to be forced, by the pursuing mob of angry townsfolk, to leap from Hampden Bridge.

There were two problems, however: [1] the script called for Fluff to leap too, causing the audience great consternation; and [2] the film makers obviously had no idea how to finish the thing, so they turned it into part one of a serial. It seems that we'll all have to wait for the next episode to find out what happened in the end. Generally, though, it was a cinematic triumph, possibly one of the finest films to have been produced in Kangaroo Valley so far this month.

I was lucky enough to be given a sneak preview as it turned out that I had to be elsewhere and couldn't actually get there on the night. Many thanks to the Voice for allowing me - due to copy deadline problems - to submit this review beforehand.

Ken Park, Sat July 26 2003

from post-event e-mails received (about "Buster Keaton Goes to Timor"):

1. "I went to the Buster Keaton film night ... it was amazing! I really needed the laugh and it was sheer pure fun ... Having the music live was another masterstroke - from the angle I was sitting, Robert's back was in the darkness and the small lamp illuminated his hands, beyond lay the screen. It was truly a classic memorable night. I overheard people commenting on having a great night the next morning near the Bella Cafe."

2. "It was a great night. For us, it was worth all your work; we hope it was worth it for you. The music really made the Buster Keaton films. Robert Constable did it very well and the films were much funnier because of it ... Am looking forward to the sequel (of "Dirty Dan"); another film with the two newly discovered and talented stars enhanced by judicious editing ..."

3. "Chris the mulled wine was just gorgeous ... Terry the dummies were just incredible, if only Paul Turnock was that good looking, such a lot of work and spectacular results. Martin, who'd have thought such a creative mind could not only direct but pull off such a smooth and well oiled performance, the bats were a touch of genius and trained in such a short time. It all went so well and was such a pleasure to sit back and watch. And Peter, such profound and provoking words, even though everyone else thinks you are a slack bastard and left the ship, I recognized your genius all over that dirty movie. Congrats to you all, laugh? thought I'd never stop ..."

4. "It really was quite amazing. The creativity was striking ... the night was a tour de force of cooperative creativity - incredible when one reflects that the whole night emerged from the human mind ... ideas and energy ... it was brilliant to assimilate the KV community into Keaton's slapstick. I loved the written quips between scenes and the masterstroke of fusing film and reality ... plus the plus of live music. Terrific to make it an annual event."

Back from the brink!

Fluff pulls Dan off
the bridge ...

[click the photo for a
larger, better view]

photo: Peter Stanton


a review of "The Second Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Film Festival", Sat Aug 28 2004:

On Friday August 27, a packed Upper River Hall thrilled to the further adventures of Dirty Dan the Pump-Out Man and his delicious young sweetheart Fluff the Magic Virgin. What a great night! The new Kangaroo Valley-made silent movie, "Dirty Dan: The Old Grey Mayor", features Dan (Paul Turnock) as the new Mayor of Kangaroo Council and Fluff (Helen George) as the Lady Mayoress. Local residents, having welcomed them enthusiastically, soon tire of their petty corruption and chase them out of town. Accompanied brilliantly by pianist Robert Constable, the movie provoked continuous laughter, particularly when Dan set out to disprove the adage "There's no such thing as a free lunch".

The occasion was the first night of "The Second Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Film Festival". Robert Constable repeated last year's success with superb accompaniments to all the movies shown (Buster Keaton's "Sherlock Junior" and "Cops" as well as both episodes of the Dirty Dan saga). The following night he did it all again, this time with different Keaton movies ("The Playhouse", "The Blacksmith" and "One Week"). His playing adds another level of humour to what's on screen as well as helping to maintain the drama. Much of the humour is abstract, with kids often seeing things that were missed by the adults. A real family night!

It is hoped that a silent film festival such as this will become an annual event, attracting devotees from far and wide. The Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership, which mounted the festival to raise money for projects in East Timor, is to be congratulated for its initiative here.

I'm giving the event four and a half out of five! I'd give it five except I haven't actually seen it yet - these Valley Voice deadlines are impossible ...

Margaret Pomegranate

from post-event e-mails received (about The Second Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Film Festival"):

"Congratulations on anther fine production, I laughed myself into a state of wheeziness, always a good sign I think because I actually have to laugh an awful lot to reach the wheeze. Hopefully tightened up a few abdominal muscles as well ... but that could be a short-term benefit only. I think Cipi should get an award for the loudest laugher, she certainly did some serious thigh slapping and I saw her slap H. George across the back several times. Laughing is such a happy little side effect isn't it? Great medicine for us all. I loved seeing HG's chubby little legs sticking out of that wheelbarrow, isn't she a great sport? I thought she and Paul were beautifully under-stated. Olivia was just gorgeous as the threatening flirting tart. Great film editing Martin, obliviously a great script ... whoever wrote it ... Really guys it was just great."

Kangaroo Valley Buster Keaton Film Festival

Upper River Hall, Kangaroo Valley
7.30pm Fri Aug 27 AND 7.30pm Sat Aug 28 2004

inquiries: e-mail Martin Wesley-Smith (mwsmith@shoalhaven.net.au) or call (02) 44 651 299

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