Tuesday, March 14, 2023

the last book I ever read (Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker's Life, excerpt ten)

from Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker's Life by James Curtis:

In September, columnist Frank Scully noted that Keaton was about the only celebrity who passed up Antibes that summer in favor of Biarritz in the French Basque Country, Buster and Natalie having met up with Nat’s sister Norma in Paris. As they were settling in, Gilbert Roland came up from Antibes to join them, and as a foursome they ate, drank, and took in the sights. Roland, who was born in Mexico, wanted to see Oscar Wilde’s tomb at Père Lachaise. “It was abandoned, forgotten,” he wrote, “lizards crawled all over it, it depressed me, and at the Castiglione Bar with Buster Keaton we got drunk. Buster because he was having trouble with Natalie, and I because lizards crawled on Oscar Wilde’s tomb.”

Norma, Roland recorded, was in bed with the curse, and Natalie stayed with her as the two men crossed into Spain at San Sebastian to attend a bullfight, Keaton’s first. “The standing ovation he received brought tears to his eyes. Then Marquez [the matador] dedicated the bull to him, flung up [his hat], the montera. ‘Great honor, Keaton,’ I said.” Not knowing what to do, Keaton was advised to offer a gift. Cash, he was told, would be considered an insult. Stuffing a wad of bills back into his pocket, Keaton took out a gold cigarette case purchased at Cartier, placed it inside the montera, and threw it back down to Marquez. “Everyone in San Sebastian was happy about Buster Keaton’s gesture except Natalie. She had given him the expensive cigarette case, and he in turn had given it to some ‘lousy bullfighter.’ Buster laughed. It was wonderful to see him laugh; deadpan on the screen, in real life, a happy, humorous, generous man. Natalie at times made his life miserable, was extremely jealous, often unreasonable. I loved them both, refused to interfere with their personal problems, but [it] made me uneasy when she quarreled and cried.”

No comments:

Post a Comment