It is a well-known fact among movie fans that Buster Keaton is the Great Stoneface. The world could be falling to pieces all around him, comedy chaos ensuing, romance a-buzzing, and his face would remain stoic with an expression that says “to hell with it all.” And it is that very expression that makes us, as the audience, fall to pieces laughing. It is a component of his comedic genius that harkens back to his days on vaudeville as a child when he would perform his highly physical slapstick with a deadpan stare. He had mastered this look so well by such a young age that his father was even accused by some of child abuse for their family skits. But when Keaton entered the movies in 1917, he hadn’t yet established the Great Stoneface as his signature screen persona. In these shorts, he smiles, he laughs, and shows a wide variety of facial expressions. We see a Keaton that is just beginning to embark on one of the greatest comedy careers of the silent era. And it is that, along with the equally genius Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Al St. John, that makes the Keaton shorts of 1917 such a treat.