Welcome Home Edition
Two words had the whole world upended;
“Harry’s House” was confirmed (as portended)—
With a toppled facade,
A Buster Keaton nod,
On a stage where bold stunts are pretended.
Sorry to break character but ... The Buster Keaton (Steamboat Bill, Jr.) parallel has me floored (house pun intended).
It’s Buster Keaton’s most famous stunt. Stunt. He performed it himself. It had to be carefully planned and precisely executed, to the point his shoes were nailed in place*. He couldn’t move if he wanted to. HE COULDN’T MOVE IF HE WANTED TO. *Updating to correct this to: Two nails were put in the ground to mark where his feet would go, not actually nailed through his shoes (from Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life). But the point still stands that he was locked in position.
In the announcement video, Harry is literally on a stage, literally performing a stunt as the house facade falls. And it does fall, rather than rise, over him. The traffic arrow changing from red to yellow is the clue to reverse the video. If we watch it forward, it starts with the daffodil—a narcissus, a symbol of vanity (and who is a narcissistic asshole?). But if we watch it in reverse, it ends with the daffodil, also a symbol of rebirth and hope ... and Louis’ favorite flower (as reported by a fan who asked him at a signing in 2020). In the end, he is and always will be with Louis. All while he stands there and performs the stunt with a subdued and knowing smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes.
And in perfect choose-your-own-adventure form, many fans (solos) are reading the video as Harry’s expression that he feels at home on stage. Which he obviously does. But it’s a cursory and easy reading. The reverse provides the subtext (where Larries live and die and thrive and anguish).
Also ... yes, he’s wearing a traditionally feminine blouse and challenging gender norms. But it’s specifically a Peter Pan collar, which got its name from the costume Maude Adams wore for a Broadway production of Peter Pan in 1905. (She was a lesbian and played Peter in a gender-bending role.) So, an allusion to another stage performance and to queer culture (and I will low-key celebrate it as a nod to his Peter Pan of a husband).
One sequence that displays Keaton’s well-known affinity for animals is a delightful pantomime of a shoe-store clerk’s ritual of offering the latest fashions to a customer who, in this case, happens to be a white mare (the same horse named Onyx, incidentally, that Keaton used in Cops, Three Ages, and Our Hospitality).