Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton, 1964 Interview

Received, from Shakespeare and Company, a very lovely first edition of An Anthology of Mexican Poetry, translated by Samuel Beckett:

Inside was a 1964 New York Times article on Beckett working with Buster Keaton on Film.

"The picture is about a man's self-perception," Mr. Beckett rather grudgingly acknowledged. The 58-year-old playwright-scenarist moved around gingerly on the fringes of the unit, joking with his colleagues and carefully checking each take with the director. Mr. Beckett, now visiting the United States for the first time, is a slender, wiry man with watchful eyes and a strong mouth dominating a leathery face.
         "I've waited till now to write for films because I wanted to know film technique better," he said quietly. "No, I'm not too familiar with the recent experimental films, like the New Wave, but I was highly impressed by Italian ones like 'The Bicycle Theif' and 'La Strada.'"
         Mr. Beckett is also a Buster Keaton fan, although he said the hero's part was originally written for an unavailable Irish actor who has appeared in his plays. "I used to see Buster's films when I was a boy in Dublin," Mr. Beckett added, smiling reminiscently.
      Awaiting his entrance and flight along the brick wall, Mr. Keaton put on his familiar hat ("my flattened-down stetson"), a dangling coat, and smiled a greeting.
   "No, I'll never smile on film," he declared, "Metro tried it once years ago and the audience hated me. What;s the picture about? Well, I'm not too sure myself. what I think it means is a man may keep away from everybody but he can't get away from himself".

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting on this find. I had never heard of Film, but loving both Beckett and Keaton made it a point to find and watch it. It was...different. Still, I'm glad I was able to see it. Thanks!