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The Play House [Silent] [1921]

Director:Buster Keaton
Edward F. Cline
Writer:Buster Keaton
Edward F. Cline
Composer:Robert Israel
Length:20 minutes
MPAA Rating:UR
Sorting Category:Comedy
IMDB Rating:8.0/10
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Synopsis: The opening scene, a dream sequence prior to the vaudeville routines which follow, is what makes this film famous. In it Keaton plays everyone in a theatre simultaneously (through multiple exposures).

Reaction: Funny and clearly influenced by classic vaudeville.

Personal Rating: 7/10

The section where Buster pretends to be a chimp and eats a female patron's popcorn is simply classic.

Select Cast and Crew
Buster Keaton => Director / Writer / Orchestra / Stagehand / Audience / Interctors / Second Minstrel / Mr. Brown - First Minstrel
Edward F. Cline => Director / Writer / Orangutan trainer (uncredited)
Robert Israel => Composer
Joe Roberts => Actor-Stage Manager (uncredited)
Virginia Fox => Twin (uncredited)

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • In this short Buster Keaton took credit for every part and job, including editor, director, writer, cameraman etc. This was a reference to [?] Thomas Ince's (the "inventor" of the Western) reputation for doing this.
  • The multiple Busters on screen together were created in the camera, using a special lens with shutters to film only a portion of the scene at a time. Buster would perform one part, then the cameraman would crank the film back and open another shutter to film another part. A banjo player with a metronome helped Keaton to perform precisely at the right time for each take.
  • Buster Keaton used a hand double in the shot where he writes, to avoid showing his right hand with the missing index fingertip.
  • Buster Keaton's stunts are tame in this movie, compared to his usual rugged and demanding stunt work, because he was recovering from a broken ankle.