BOOM IN THE MOON (1946)
(a.k.a. A MODERN BLUEBEARD / EL MODERNO BARBA AZUL)
Article #1473 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-27-2005
Posting Date: 8-24-2005
Directed by Jaime Salvador
Featuring Buster Keaton, Luis G. Barreiro, Guillermo Bravo Sosa
A confused American soldier from World War II surrenders himself to the Mexicans under the mistaken belief they are Japanese. They in turn confuse him with a notorious Bluebeard. He is then offered the option to avoid the electric chair by volunteering for a planned expedition to the moon.
This may be the most depressing movie I’ve seen for this series. It’s not necessarily the worst, though it is pretty bad. It’s just that bad comedies tend to be pretty depressing anyway, and this is only compounded by the fact that it represents the nadir for one of the greatest screen comedians of all time, Buster Keaton. If that’s not depressing enough, consider these points. Fellow silent comedian Charlie Chaplin would take the Bluebeard concept that this movie touches upon and produce the brilliant and daring MONSIEUR VERDOUX just a year later. Then consider that Abbot and Costello (two comedians who, though I have a great deal of affection for them, simply weren’t in the same league as Buster Keaton) would use some of the same elements of this movie (two convicts aboard a rocketship; Earth being mistaken for another planet) to make ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS, which, despite the fact that it was one of their weakest movies, is still better than this one. It’s also more than a little depressing that at the time of this writing, this remains the only Buster Keaton movie I’ve covered for this series (and SUNSET BLVD. doesn’t count, as it contains Buster only in a cameo). Still, the saddest thing about this one is that every once in a while during this movie, you’ll see Buster do something that for a fleeting few seconds reminds you of the old Buster of the silent era. It never lasts long enough to make a joke work; all it does is remind you of how low he’d fallen to this point. Let’s just hope there aren’t any other movies out there more depressing than this one.