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Screen Directors Playhouse - The Silent Partner

episode 1.12

USA 1955
produced by
Sidney S. Van Keuren for Hal Roach Studios/NBC
directed by George Marshall
starring Buster Keaton, Zasu Pitts, Evelyn Ankers, Joe E.Brown, Jack Kruschen, Jack Elam, Percy Helton, Joseph Corey, Lyle Latell, Charles Horvath, Hank Mann, Snub Pollard, Bob Hope
story by Barbara Hammer, George Marshall, screenplay by Barbara Hammer

TV series
Screen Directors Playhouse

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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People in a café watch this year's Oscars - of course hosted by Bob Hope - when a honourary Academy Award goes to director Arthur Vail (Joe E.Brown), who in his acceptance speech honours slapstick comedian Kelsey Dutton (Buster Keaton), who rather by accident kick-started his career in the 1910's. While excerpts of one of Dutton's films are playing, Selma (Zasu Pitts), one of the café's patrons, notices that the quiet man sitting right next to her is actually Kelsey Dutton, and without anybody's knowledge, she calls the academy. Only then does she confront Dutton with his own identity, but he's to modest a man to openly admit to it ... until another parton (Jack Kruschen) starts to bully him, and he defends himself using all sorts of slapstick routines from the bygone days, much to the amusement of the other patrons of the café - and the amusement of Arthur Vail, who upon Selma's call just came by from his appearance at the Oscars to fetch Kelsey Dutton to get the spotlight he deserves ...


A loving hommage to one of Hollywood's greatest slapstick artists, Buster Keaton, with Keaton proving that at the age of 60 he's still able to deliver fine slapstick routines - even if they are nothing compared to his elaborate shenanigans from the 1920's.

Aside from Keaton though, who has clearly been the direct inspiration for his character Kelsey Dutton, the episode is only bittersweet, if not to say cheesy, a sort-of apology of the Hollywood establishmet to Keaton, who had been neglected for years upon years, but an apology that did not really extend to anything beyond filling about 30 minutes of television-time.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD