Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life

Books on Tape. Feb. 2022. 31:11 hrs. ISBN 9780593550991. $95. FILM
At long last, fans of Buster Keaton (1899–1966) get the definitive biography the beloved comedic director/writer/actor deserves, with Audie Award winner David Pittu narrating the unabridged audiobook by film historian Curtis (W. C. Fields: A Biography). Keaton’s career began at age three when he joined his parents’ vaudeville act. He began working in silent movies in 1917 and created a dozen classic feature-film comedies between 1920 and 1929. But when Keaton signed with MGM in 1928, the company only wanted him as an actor and stopped him from writing and directing. His films declined as his alcohol addiction worsened. (Happily, in the 1950s, he found a career revival.) Keaton had such a fascinating life that Pittu doesn’t need to perform vocal calisthenics to keep this epic-length biography lively. While Pittu doesn’t do an imitation of the Great Stone Face comedian, he does lower his voice to a cigarette-weary growl when reading Keaton’s direct quotes. Pittu voices everyone else in the book’s wide cast of real-life characters (from mentor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle to Limelight costar Charlie Chaplin and third wife Eleanor Keaton) in a slightly higher pitch.
VERDICT A marvelous, massive biography of a beloved filmmaker.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing