Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Buster Keaton is “Mooching Through Georgia”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on January 4, 2013

MoochingEveryone knows the classic, blockbuster film Gone with the Wind.  Even before it premiered in Atlanta in December 1939, the film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel was becoming infamous in Hollywood for its cost over-runs, changes in directors (Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood), and difficulties in casting — Clark Gable wasn’t cast as Rhett Butler until shooting had already begun. In 1939 Gone with the Wind was the talk of Hollywood, and not in a good way.

It’s not surprising, then, that MGM’s competitors would jump at the chance to poke fun at David O. Selznick’s over-budgeted and over-hyped historical drama, even before it opened. Columbia Pictures released this short, Mooching Through Georgia, in August 1939. There’s nothing especially noteworthy about this effort apart from from its context in Hollywood’s studio wars. The comedy here is crude slapstick; both the director, Jules White, and the screenwriter, Clyde Bruckman, mostly did Three Stooges shorts. It’s almost an embarrassment for its headliner, Buster Keaton, whose 1927 performance in The General is a classic of physical comedy. And the action, such as it is, all takes place in Kentucky, not Georgia.

Call it a footnote — a very small and mostly forgettable footnote — the cinematic history of the Civil War.

___________

Image: Buster Keaton and Ned Glass in Mooching Through Georgia, 1939.
 

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