Combustible Celluloid
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With: Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, Wallace Beery, Joe Roberts, Lillian Lawrence, Kewpie Morgan
Written by: Clyde Bruckman, Joseph A. Mitchell, Jean C. Havez
Directed by: Eddie Cline, Buster Keaton
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 63
Date: 09/24/1923

Three Ages (1923)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Exit, Pursued by a Dinosaur

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buster Keaton's feature debut Three Ages (1923) was filmed in three segments just in case it flopped, it could be cut into three short films and re-released. Ostensibly a spoof of Griffith's Intolerance, Keaton's film looks at love triangles throughout the ages, specifically the Caveman era, ancient Rome, and the modern era. It's not one of his most inspired efforts overall, but it contains many memorable moments, such as Buster's entrance on a dinosaur, or the gorgeous moment in which he tumbles over a cliff and gives the camera a kiss as he goes.

In 2017, Kino released a new Blu-ray edition containing both The General and Three Ages, in 2K digital restorations from Lobster Films. (Three Ages was previously packaged, in 2010, with Sherlock Jr.). It's now shown black-and-white and not tinted or sepia-toned. This disc carries over Robert Israel's score from the previous release, replaces a Lee Erwin organ score with a Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra score, and excises a third, piano score. This one also excises some of the more interesting extras from the 2010 release, and now includes an Alka-Seltzer commercial and a Candid Camera segment, both featuring Keaton.

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