If COLLEGE is your introduction to Buster Keaton (as it was mine), you will get some good laughs out of Keaton's sports routines and stone-faced reactions. But once you are more well-versed in all things Buster, COLLEGE may become the Keaton silent you revisit least. The problem is that the story - a bookworm student attempts to become an athlete in order to impress the girl he loves - is perfect Harold Lloyd material, but Keaton is not Lloyd. Coming between the epic THE GENERAL and the impressive STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., COLLEGE was an attempt by studio executives to reign in Keaton's extravagant filming habits, and has little to offer except the quality of the gags, many of which revolve around Keaton attempting various sports. Because Keaton was (a) extremely athletic and (b) the world's greatest physical clown, the gags themselves are often quite funny. But gags alone do not a great movie make.
Keaton once dismissed the talents of director James W. Horne, but it must be noted that Horne went on to direct many of Laurel and Hardy's most memorable pictures, including their classic WAY OUT WEST. ½ - JB