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Through every age there is the faithful worshipper at Beauty's shrine.

If you let your mind wander back through History you will find that the only thing that has not changed since the world began is — LOVE. Love is the unchanging axis on which the world revolves.
opening title card
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Three Ages is a 1923 film directed by and starring Buster Keaton.

For his first feature film, Keaton made an Affectionate Parody of D W Griffith's Intolerance, in which a Love Triangle plays out in prehistoric times, during the Roman Empire, and in 1920s America. (The idea was that if the feature-length version flopped, it could be re-edited into three separate shorts.) The film was almost lost to posterity, because by the 1950s the negative was badly damaged. It was eventually salvaged, but some shots are still heavily obscured.

Wallace Beery plays "The Villain", namely, Buster's antagonist in all three stories.


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This film provides examples of:

  • Big Little Man: Caveman Buster tries to grab a woman lying on the ground by the hair and drag her away, as cavemen were apt to do back then. The woman stands up and turns out to be a good two feet taller than Buster.
  • Dragged by the Collar: A variation. In the stone age segments, female characters are sometimes dragged by their hair.
  • Loves Me Not: In the modern era, the boy tries using this method to find out whether the girl likes him. Unfortunately, he didn't notice that the flower had a bee on it.

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