Books: Hard Knocks

KEATON: THE MAN WHO WOULDN'T LIE DOWN by Tom Dardis Scribners; 340 pages; $12.50

Buster Keaton's comic mask was nearly indistinguishable from the one most actors don for tragedy. To have seen a Keaton film is to remember his thin, straight mouth, its corners barely holding their own against gravity. The eyes are equally memorable; Spanish Poet Federico García Lorca described them as "sad infinite eyes, like those of a newborn beast of burden." No matter what madness swirled around them, they remained wells of loneliness in the pale landscape of Keaton's face.

The...

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