The Battle of the Century: Classic Comedies of Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton

Tuesday, March 7
Share this
1hr 15mins

Don't miss your chance to experience the greatest pie fight in cinema history, as we present a program of four classic silent short comedies! 

Featuring the once lost Laurel and Hardy classic, The Battle of the Century, the restored Buster Keaton comedy classics Cops and Electric House, with live musical accompaniment from Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton! 

Along with the films and performance, we'll have a pie throwing contest! Join us for an unforgettable evening of music and laughs.

About the Films

The Dancing Pig (1907)

A popular act on the vaudeville circuit staged, recreated and filmed for Pathé Frères' camera. No animals were harmed in the making of this film. 

Cops (1922) - dirs. Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline

In one of Buster Keaton's best known comedies a series of mishaps manages to make a young man get chased by a big city's entire police force. With a cast of hundreds playing cops, this classic short audaciously parodies the notorious 1920 bombing of Wall Street by horse-drawn cart. It's Buster Keaton at his purest, mocking anarchists, authority - and happy endings

The Electric House (1922) - dirs. Buster Keaton & Eddie Cline

After being mistakenly certified as an electrical engineer, Buster, with a degree in botany, is hired to wire a house. One of Keaton's final two reelers, this short is a hilarious satire of technology during the heyday of the Warren Harding administration. Keaton at his funniest and best.

The Battle of the Century (1927) dir. Clyde Bruckman

One of the earliest shorts to star Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, The Battle of the Century tells the story of a prizefighter whose manager tries to arrange an accident as to collect an insurance policy. What ensues is a massive pie fight considered one of the funniest scenes ever filmed. Film Critic Leonard Maltin has called this film his 'holy grail' of lost and rediscovered comedy gems.

About the Performers

For over two decades Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton have brought their unique blend of keyboards, vocals and percussion to major film festivals—New York, Telluride, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, TriBeCa, Denver, Virginia, and Newport—and to MoMA, BAM, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the Berlin Filmmuseum, and Moscow's prestigious Lumière Gallery. They are favorite guest artists at the National Gallery and at Italy's annual silent film retrospectives in Bologna and Pordenone. They have created scores for over three dozen silent film DVDs, received commissions from the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Colorado Children's Chorus, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Together they teach songwriting and film music workshops at schools and colleges all over the USA.

Donald began his silent film career while a composition student at the University of Michigan and Columbia University. He often plays at MoMA, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum of the Moving Image, and film seminars at Harvard and Yale. Joanna, whom The New York Times praised as a "silvery soprano," has a Theatre Arts degree from Cornell University. She appeared in dozens of Off-Broadway, regional, and stock theater productions, and sang with jazz great Dick Hyman at the 92nd St. Y. Website:

Donald and Joanna have performed their score for Upstream in New York, Houston, and Washington DC, and and in 2015 here at the Coolidge’s Sounds of Silents program. It was commissioned by the National Film Preservation Foundation and was released on DVD in the NFPF’s Treasures New Zealand disc.