Quiz about The Cameraman
Quiz about The Cameraman

The Cameraman Trivia Quiz


Released in 1928, "The Cameraman" was Keaton's first film at MGM -- and the last film he had control over. Join me now in a loving look back over this comedy classic.

A multiple-choice quiz by ubermom. Estimated time: 8 mins.
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Author
ubermom
Time
8 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
320,331
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
10 / 15
Plays
147
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Boy (Buster Keaton) meets girl (Marceline Day) when they get squished together by the crowd during a ticker-tape parade. We get a scene straight out of a shampoo commercial: dreamy-eyed Buster clearly thinks her hair smells terrific. When the crowd clears up, Buster and Sally are alone. Buster, camera at the ready, talks her into posing for a portrait. Why does he have his camera with him? Hint

He is on his way to take photos at a wedding.
He is a street photographer selling tintypes.
He had come there to take pictures of the ticker tape parade.
He had just bought the camera and is taking it home.

2. Buster, so flustered that he keeps knocking his camera down, takes Sally's picture. He turns to develop the picture, and looks back to see that Sally is gone. Who does she leave with? Hint

A friend
A newsreel cameraman
Her boss
A gang of girls from the office

3. Buster may not have the latest photography equipment, but he has a sharp mind. He manages to track Sally down to the office where she works. He makes a gift to her of the beautiful portrait he took. Smitten, he doesn't want to leave. What does he do to try to engage Sally's attention? Hint

He does sleight-of-hand with a coin.
He does a little dance for her.
He explains to her how his camera works.
He offers her the flower from his buttonhole.

4. Newsreel cameraman Stag struts in. Buster gets a look at what Stag has -- a nifty camera, an exciting job, and plenty of chances to flirt with Sally. Buster is determined to break into the business. Who tells him what he needs to do to have a chance at becoming a newsreel cameraman? Hint

Stag
The office boy
The boss
Sally

5. Unable to afford several thousand dollars for a new camera, Buster picks up an obsolete but still functional model at a pawn shop -- draining his bank account to do so. The boss isn't impressed. But a call comes in with a news tip. The cameramen file out to photograph the news event -- and Sally tells Buster he should go, too. What does she send Buster out to photograph? Hint

A train crash
A fire
A circus parade
The governor's speech

6. Buster doesn't get any shots of the story Sally had sent him after, so he goes out looking for other filmworthy things. After playing a pantomime baseball game with himself at Yankee Stadium, Buster films "everything from soup to nuts -- mostly the nuts." But the results -- seen in a screening with the boss, Sally, and other cameramen -- are a disaster of double exposures and bad cranking. A defeated and humiliated Buster leaves the office, and hangs back in the hall when he turns and sees Sally. Why has Sally followed Buster into the hall? Hint

To give him a tip on another story to film
To tell him where all the newsreel men hang out, so he might get some tips from them
To give him a book on motion picture photography
To encourage him and give him helpful tips on cranking the camera properly

7. Sunday comes -- the day Buster had wanted to take Sally walking. Sally hadn't promise Buster she'd call, but he promised he'd wait, so wait he does, from sun-up. Finally she calls, and he dashes over to meet her before she can even hang up the phone. And he comes prepared. He even has money to take her on a proper date. How does he get the money? Hint

He pawns his overcoat.
He breaks open his dime bank.
He works all night at his old job.
He wins it in a raffle.

8. Poor Buster's date with Sally is one humiliating mishap after the other. The peak of his embarrassment comes when he falls off the high dive and loses his swimming suit. Sally, evidently oblivious of this turn of events, grabs the submerged (and naked) Buster by the hand and suggests they leave the pool. How does Buster get out of the pool without any indecent exposure? Hint

He manages to retrieve his swimming suit.
He wraps himself in a towel.
He steals the bottoms from a woman's old-fashioned swimming suit.
He hides behind a big beach ball.

9. Buster spends the last third of the movie with a monkey on his back: Josephine the Monkey. How does he get his simian sidekick? Hint

He gets tangled up in her leash, and ends up dragging her off with him.
Stag puts the monkey in Buster's film case as a practical joke.
He is filming a circus parade and the monkey climbs into his film case.
He falls on her and is forced to buy her by a cop, who thinks the monkey is dead.

10. Still following up on a tip from Sally, Buster heads down to Chinatown where -- just as Sally had expected -- a Tong War breaks out. Rival gangs are shooting it out and fighting all around him, and Buster makes his way through the melee, Josephine clinging tightly to him. She even joins the fray, cranking at a machine gun and poking a man in the back with a knife to keep him from attacking Buster. Why is the man trying to kill Buster? Hint

To stop him from filming the Tong War
Because Buster's disguise makes him look like a rival gang member
Because he thinks Buster, not Josephine, has been firing the machine gun
Because Buster is blocking his shots at rival gang members

11. Buster ends up trapped, cornered by a gang leader and his men, advancing on him with machetes. It looks like poor Buster is about to be hacked to bits. But Buster can't die; this is a comedy and he's the star. How does Buster avoid what looks like certain death? Hint

The rival gang bursts in, and Buster escapes in the confusion.
He falls out a window and is able to run away.
The cops burst in and arrest the gang members.
He dives through the gang leader's legs and is able to escape through the door.

12. At last the police arrive to break up the Tong War. One cop, who had been monitoring Buster's increasingly loopy behavior throughout the movie, grabs Buster and drags him off, calling for an ambulance to take him to the asylum. What happens during this scene that is crucial to the plot? Hint

Stag is able to gain access to Buster's camera and bag.
Stag sees Buster being loaded into the ambulance.
Josephine is left alone with Buster's camera and bag.
Another cameraman films Buster being hauled off by a cop.

13. Buster manages to escape the cop. Triumphant, he rushes into the newsreel office, but his triumph is short-lived. When he opens the camera, he finds that the film cartridge is empty. And on top of this blow comes a second, perhaps more devastating: Sally is in trouble for giving Buster the tip about the Tong War. To keep Sally from losing her job, Buster promises he'll never return. What does Sally do when Buster leaves? Hint

She quits.
She throws away the picture he'd given her.
She begs the boss to give Buster another chance.
She cries.

14. Thrown out of MGM, but still dogged in pursuing his goal, Buster prepares to film a yacht regatta, where he makes a discovery: Josephine had switched film cartridges in Chinatown. Buster starts filming the most interesting thing in sight: Stag showing off in a speedboat with Sally. Due to Stag's recklessness, they get thrown from the boat. Buster risks his life to save Sally, but Stag gets credit and walks off with the girl Buster loves. How does Buster respond? Hint

He throws down his armload of first-aid supplies and stomps off.
He sinks to his knees in the sand.
He takes his camera and leaves.
He picks Josephine up and holds her in his arms.

15. Wednesday morning rolls around. We see Buster's ill-fated movie camera back in the pawn shop where he bought it. Buster is back where he started, but poorer and sadder. How does the movie end? Hint

It ends just there, with a defeated Buster being comforted by Josephine the Monkey.
Josephine steals a cop's hat. We leave Buster in trouble, running from the law.
Buster falls for another pretty girl. Here we go again!
Sally arrives with exciting news. Buster emerges bewildered but triumphant.


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Boy (Buster Keaton) meets girl (Marceline Day) when they get squished together by the crowd during a ticker-tape parade. We get a scene straight out of a shampoo commercial: dreamy-eyed Buster clearly thinks her hair smells terrific. When the crowd clears up, Buster and Sally are alone. Buster, camera at the ready, talks her into posing for a portrait. Why does he have his camera with him?

Answer: He is a street photographer selling tintypes.

Buster is a sidewalk tintype photographer, hawking his pictures at ten cents each -- in marked contrast to the daredevil newsreel photographers we saw in the film's opening shots.

A tintype was sort of a precursor of the Polariod instant camera. Tintypes produced an underexposed negative against a black background, which gave the illusion of a positive. They were fairly hardy photos. But by 1928, when our film is set, tintypes were fading into obsolescence. So not only is poor Buster not in a very exciting or lucrative line of work, he's a bit of a throwback.
2. Buster, so flustered that he keeps knocking his camera down, takes Sally's picture. He turns to develop the picture, and looks back to see that Sally is gone. Who does she leave with?

Answer: A newsreel cameraman

In a beautiful bookend to a scene later in the movie, Buster turns to attend to something for Sally, only to have Stag (Harold Goodwin) take her away. They drive off together. But Buster's not easily thwarted when he sets a goal. He wants to find the girl, so he finds the girl. He goes where the newsreel cameramen would be -- the MGM offices.
3. Buster may not have the latest photography equipment, but he has a sharp mind. He manages to track Sally down to the office where she works. He makes a gift to her of the beautiful portrait he took. Smitten, he doesn't want to leave. What does he do to try to engage Sally's attention?

Answer: He does sleight-of-hand with a coin.

Keaton learned a lot of tricks when traveling with his vaudeville family -- including many tricks he learned from Harry Houdini, who was a family friend. The coin trick doesn't do much to enchant Sally, portrayed so charmingly by 20-year-old Marceline Day.

Marceline, originally a child actress, was the sister of actress Alice Day. She retired from filmmaking in 1933, refusing to speak about her days before the camera.
4. Newsreel cameraman Stag struts in. Buster gets a look at what Stag has -- a nifty camera, an exciting job, and plenty of chances to flirt with Sally. Buster is determined to break into the business. Who tells him what he needs to do to have a chance at becoming a newsreel cameraman?

Answer: Sally

When Buster tells Stag that he's a photographer and asks if he can get a job at MGM, Stag just scoffs at Buster and his decrepit old "cocktail shaker" of a camera. But Sally, seeing Buster's dejection, tells him that he needs his own camera to have a chance to break in. Buster rushes off in search of what he needs.

Buster's rival, Stag, is played by Harold Goodwin, who also played Buster's love rival in "College" (1927). At 6'2", Goodwin provided a striking contrast to Keaton's diminutive 5'6" frame.

Goodwin's acting career spanned much of the 20th Century, from 1915 to 1973 -- including TV work with Keaton in the 1950s.
5. Unable to afford several thousand dollars for a new camera, Buster picks up an obsolete but still functional model at a pawn shop -- draining his bank account to do so. The boss isn't impressed. But a call comes in with a news tip. The cameramen file out to photograph the news event -- and Sally tells Buster he should go, too. What does she send Buster out to photograph?

Answer: A fire

Sally encourages Buster as much as she can, ensuring Buster that they'll buy any good film, so he sould photograph anything interesting. Buster rushes out to film the fire.

Here's where we see one of the more famous gags in the movie. Buster, hoping to get great shots of the fire, leaps aboard a passing fire engine -- which promptly returns to the fire station.
6. Buster doesn't get any shots of the story Sally had sent him after, so he goes out looking for other filmworthy things. After playing a pantomime baseball game with himself at Yankee Stadium, Buster films "everything from soup to nuts -- mostly the nuts." But the results -- seen in a screening with the boss, Sally, and other cameramen -- are a disaster of double exposures and bad cranking. A defeated and humiliated Buster leaves the office, and hangs back in the hall when he turns and sees Sally. Why has Sally followed Buster into the hall?

Answer: To encourage him and give him helpful tips on cranking the camera properly

Sally's kindness gives Buster hope, not just in his new career choice, but in his love life as well. He asks Sally on a date. Sally has other plans, but asks for Buster's phone number. He's so smitten that it takes him three tries to give her the phone number rather than the pencil or the notebook.
7. Sunday comes -- the day Buster had wanted to take Sally walking. Sally hadn't promise Buster she'd call, but he promised he'd wait, so wait he does, from sun-up. Finally she calls, and he dashes over to meet her before she can even hang up the phone. And he comes prepared. He even has money to take her on a proper date. How does he get the money?

Answer: He breaks open his dime bank.

The dime bank scene wasn't in the script. Keaton complained later that he'd had to fight tooth and nail to get the bank out of the MGM prop department -- where, he said, you needed a requisition in triplicate to get a toothpick.

Fortunately for us, Keaton had managed to scrap most of the script MGM had given him, and his date with Sally provides us with many of his most memorable scenes. That said, we must still credit MGM with providing the set and crane for the gag of Buster tearing down the stairs when the phone rings.
8. Poor Buster's date with Sally is one humiliating mishap after the other. The peak of his embarrassment comes when he falls off the high dive and loses his swimming suit. Sally, evidently oblivious of this turn of events, grabs the submerged (and naked) Buster by the hand and suggests they leave the pool. How does Buster get out of the pool without any indecent exposure?

Answer: He steals the bottoms from a woman's old-fashioned swimming suit.

Keaton pulled out all the stops for the date with Sally, including the famous dressing room scene. Unit manager Ed Brophy was a beefy fellow, perfect for what Keaton had in mind. He and Brophy crammed into a dressing room for an unrehearsed continuous shot that leaves a manhandled Buster frazzled in his skivvies. And of course, all the confusion in and around the crowded dressing room leaves Buster and a huge man wearing each other's swimming suits.

The huge man in Buster's tiny suit is Vernon Dent, who would also appear with Keaton in many of his Columbia shorts in the early 1940s. When Dent found out he'd be working with Keaton at Columbia, his wife later said, he was so excited he couldn't sleep.
9. Buster spends the last third of the movie with a monkey on his back: Josephine the Monkey. How does he get his simian sidekick?

Answer: He falls on her and is forced to buy her by a cop, who thinks the monkey is dead.

Buster trips over an organ grinder and flattens the monkey. The organ grinder raises a ruckus, and a cop makes Buster pay him for the apparently dead animal -- then orders him to haul it off. Buster picks the monkey up with his handkerchief and sets her atop a barrel, where she revives. She turns out to be pivotal to the rest of what happens.
10. Still following up on a tip from Sally, Buster heads down to Chinatown where -- just as Sally had expected -- a Tong War breaks out. Rival gangs are shooting it out and fighting all around him, and Buster makes his way through the melee, Josephine clinging tightly to him. She even joins the fray, cranking at a machine gun and poking a man in the back with a knife to keep him from attacking Buster. Why is the man trying to kill Buster?

Answer: To stop him from filming the Tong War

A gang leader, spotting Buster, starts sending henchmen to dispose of the little cameraman. The first one creeps up on Buster with a knife, but Josephine's intervention sends him scurrying off. More henchmen follow. At first Buster is able to distract or escape from them. He even knocks one on the head to get him out of the way of a good shot. But soon Buster ends up cornered.
11. Buster ends up trapped, cornered by a gang leader and his men, advancing on him with machetes. It looks like poor Buster is about to be hacked to bits. But Buster can't die; this is a comedy and he's the star. How does Buster avoid what looks like certain death?

Answer: The cops burst in and arrest the gang members.

Buster, overwhelmed with gratitude, rushes forward to help a cop to his feet. He hugs and kisses the cop -- who looks familiar. Throughout the entire movie, this cop has been seeing Buster at his most inexplicable moments.
12. At last the police arrive to break up the Tong War. One cop, who had been monitoring Buster's increasingly loopy behavior throughout the movie, grabs Buster and drags him off, calling for an ambulance to take him to the asylum. What happens during this scene that is crucial to the plot?

Answer: Josephine is left alone with Buster's camera and bag.

Buster manages to wrench himself away from the cop and grab his things. Josephine jumps aboard his shoulder. And Buster, thrilled at the thought of the fantastic footage he's just shot, hitches a ride back to the MGM newsreel office.
13. Buster manages to escape the cop. Triumphant, he rushes into the newsreel office, but his triumph is short-lived. When he opens the camera, he finds that the film cartridge is empty. And on top of this blow comes a second, perhaps more devastating: Sally is in trouble for giving Buster the tip about the Tong War. To keep Sally from losing her job, Buster promises he'll never return. What does Sally do when Buster leaves?

Answer: She cries.

Sally seems pretty heartbroken at this point, but she doesn't stay heartbroken for long. The next time we see her, she's on a date with Stag.
14. Thrown out of MGM, but still dogged in pursuing his goal, Buster prepares to film a yacht regatta, where he makes a discovery: Josephine had switched film cartridges in Chinatown. Buster starts filming the most interesting thing in sight: Stag showing off in a speedboat with Sally. Due to Stag's recklessness, they get thrown from the boat. Buster risks his life to save Sally, but Stag gets credit and walks off with the girl Buster loves. How does Buster respond?

Answer: He sinks to his knees in the sand.

Buster's heartbreak on the beach is a beautiful shot, most likely filmed by cameraman Elgin Lessley, who had worked with Keaton since his early days at Comique with Roscoe Arbuckle. "The Cameraman" marked the last time the two would work together.
15. Wednesday morning rolls around. We see Buster's ill-fated movie camera back in the pawn shop where he bought it. Buster is back where he started, but poorer and sadder. How does the movie end?

Answer: Sally arrives with exciting news. Buster emerges bewildered but triumphant.

Buster had dropped a film off at the newsreel office before going back to his old job. The boss decides it ought to be worth a laugh and sits down with Sally and Stag to see it. It's the missing Tong War footage, the footage of the boat mishap, and footage of Buster rescuing Sally and Stag taking the credit. It turns out that Josephine could crank a movie camera as well as she could crank a machine gun.

Sally rushes off to find Buster and breaks the news that everybody is waiting to give him a grand reception. The ticker tape that falls as Sally leads Buster back to the office strikes him as a bit much, but he lets it fall on him -- not realizing it's really for Charles Lindbergh. The end.
Source: Author ubermom

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor jmorrow before going online.
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