Irish Eye on Hollywood:
Samuel Beckett’s “Film” and “Notfilm”

Samuel Beckett (left), Alan Schneider (in baseball cap) and Buster Keaton (right) on the set of Film. (Photo: Milestone Films)

By Tom Deignan, Contributor
December / January 2018

It sounds like a Ph.D. candidate’s idea of a joke: What do you get when you cross the great Irish playwright Samuel Beckett with the American comic genius Buster Keaton?

You get one of the strangest movies in cinematic history.

And a recent DVD release takes us for a peek behind the existential scenes. It all begins in 1964, when Beckett, at the heights of his fame, set out to make a movie. But, of course, it would have to be a film that made a statement about the nature of film. And so, of course, it was called Film. And starred Buster Keaton. Milestone Films recently released a deeper examination of Beckett’s 30-minute movie.

Entitled Notfilm, this feature-length work examines all of the players and production of Film, (which is also available from Milestone). Both are packed with extras, perhaps most intriguingly (if you purchase Film) a 1961 version of Waiting for Godot starring Zero Mostel and Burgess Merideth. The Notfilm extras aren’t too shabby either, and include reflections on the careers of both Keaton and Beckett. ♦

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