The Frozen North (1922)

Article 4665 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-27-2014
Directed by Edward F. Cline and Buster Keaton
Featuring Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Sybil Seely
Country: USA
What it is: Comic melodrama

A bad man has a variety of adventures near the North pole.

This was listed in the Walt Lee guide, and according to this source, its fantastic content consists of the fact that the subway goes all the way to the North Pole. Well, that takes care of the opening gag of this Buster Keaton short, and that makes for slight fantastic content, but I spotted a possible second thing; there’s a scene of a policeman driving what can only be described as a “motorcycle sled”, a vehicle which I suspect doesn’t really exist (though I could be wrong). At any rate, any fantastic content in this short is fairly minor.

As for the short itself, my copy opens with a note that the short exists only in fragmentary condition. If it does, it’s rather hard to tell, as there doesn’t appear to be any real story; it’s just a series of gag set-pieces involving either the snowy locale or tied to the fact that the short is a parody of the movies of William S. Hart. Now I’ve seen a handful of William S. Hart shorts, but hardly enough to be really familiar with the man’s work, so there’s a chance that some of the parody is lost on me. Still, there are some fun moments here (such as his robbery of a casino), and I enjoyed it despite the fact that it is a bit uneven. Still, it’s not one of Keaton’s better shorts.


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