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Back Stage (1919)

Not Rated  |   |  Short, Comedy  |  7 September 1919 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 664 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 3 critic

Roscoe and Buster are working at a vaudeville house. When the crew attacks the strongman for bullying his assistant, the man goes out on strike so the crew puts on a show. When the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Stagehand
...
Stagehand
...
Stagehand
Charles A. Post ...
The Strongman
Molly Malone ...
Strongman's Assistant
Jack Coogan Sr. ...
Eccentric Dancer (as John Coogan)
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Storyline

Roscoe and Buster are working at a vaudeville house. When the crew attacks the strongman for bullying his assistant, the man goes out on strike so the crew puts on a show. When the strongman starts shooting from the balcony, Buster rigs a swing, picks him up, and takes him to the stage where is again subdued. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 September 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fatty cabotin  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Stagehand: [During the Snowflake Serenade, Buster's wiping sweat off] We're supposed to be shivering from the cold.
[Buster starts dancing]
Stagehand: I said shiver, not shimmy!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.2 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a very good pairing of comedy legends Arbuckle and Keaton
19 January 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the later Arbuckle-Keaton collaborations, showing the marked influence of Keaton in the construction of gags, "Back Stage" was made the year before they went their separate ways: Arbuckle into features and Keaton into his own series of shorts. Arbuckle's nephew, Al St. John, by this time is relegated to a rather minor role. Jackie Coogan's father, who was an eccentric dancer in vaudeville, appears here in that role (he later heckles from a stage box, but he is not the man in the balcony with a mustache). Coogan was a friend of Arbuckle's and appeared in a few of his two-reel films before Jackie became a star in Chaplin's remarkable feature, "The Kid," two years later (the elder Coogan also appeared in that film in three different minor roles, most notably as Satan in a rather odd dream sequence).

Like Keaton's later short, "The Play-House" (1921), this two-reel comedy gives viewers a distinct feel for the era of vaudeville--though from the perspective of the stagehands rather than the audience. It includes many fine gags built around various back-stage activities and the bumbling attempts of two stagehands, Arbuckle and Keaton, to act as performers.

The most interesting gag historically involves a scenery flat falling toward Arbuckle, with an upstairs window passing around him. Keaton later used an actual falling house front in the same manner twice in his own films: the 1920 short "One Week" (his first release as a solo artist) and, more dramatically, in the 1928 feature "Steamboat Bill Jr.," which was his last independent release (it does not appear in "Sherlock Jr." as stated elsewhere). The latter instance was an extremely dangerous stunt, which easily would have killed Keaton if he did not hit his mark precisely.

"Back Stage" is not their best film together, but it remains a very good Arbuckle-Keaton effort well worth viewing.


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