Ride the rails with Buster one last time. Beloved American actor / comedian Buster Keaton lived to be 70 years old when he passed away in 1966. His very last silent film was actually made in 1964 and released in 1965 – in full color. It’s called The Railrodder, and it’s actually a sort-of-promo for Canada and the the Canadian National Railway. Produced by the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada, The Railrodder follows Buster around as he rides the rails seeing the sights making his way across Canada. “True to Keaton’s genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia.” The NFB also made a documentary about the filming of this one, entirely in B&W, and added in lots of extra footage and released it as Buster Keaton Rides Again (also embedded below to watch them back-to-back). But the purity and beauty of The Railrodder makes it stand out, especially because it cements his iconic legacy in film history.
Thanks to Kottke for the tip on this one. Original description from YouTube: “This short film from director Gerald Potterton (Heavy Metal) stars Buster Keaton in one of the last films of his long career. As ‘the railrodder‘, Keaton crosses Canada from east to west on a railway track speeder. True to Keaton’s genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia. Not a word is spoken throughout, and Keaton is as spry and ingenious at fetching laughs as he was in the old days of the silent slapsticks.” The Railrodder is directed by British filmmaker Gerald Potterton and was produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The backdrop to all of this is the Canadian countryside, with scenic views of Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, the Rockies, and the West Coast, c. 1964-65. And cities visited by Buster include Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver. For more info, visit the NFB. For more shorts, click here.