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The 'High Sign' (1921)

A drifter at an amusement park finds himself both the bodyguard and hit man of a man targeted by a criminal gang.

Directors:

(as Eddie Cline), (as 'Buster' Keaton)

Writers:

(as Eddie Cline), (as 'Buster' Keaton)
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Hard Luck (1921)
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Strange things ensue after a young man attempts to take his own life.

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Convict 13 (1920)
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A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

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A bank clerk ends up in a seemingly haunted house that is actually a thieves' hideout.

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Neighbors (1920)
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A young couple who live next to each other in tenement apartments do everything they can to be together despite of their feuding families.

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A series of adventures begins when an accident during photographing causes Buster to be mistaken for Dead Shot Dan, the evil badguy.

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After waking up from his wacky dream, a theater stage hand inadvertently causes havoc everywhere he works.

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After being mistakenly certified as an electrical engineer, Buster is hired to wire a house.

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One Week (1920)
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A newly wedded couple attempts to build a house with a prefabricated kit, unaware that a rival sabotaged the kit's component numbering.

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Daydreams (1922)
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A sincere young man leaves his home to win his fortune so he can marry his home town sweetheart.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Renée Adorée, Edward F. Cline
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By accident, Buster and an intimidating woman end up married.

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The Love Nest (1923)
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In an attempt to forget his lost sweetheart, Buster takes a long trip at sea where he boards a whaling ship with a strict captain.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline
Stars: Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Our Hero (as 'Buster' Keaton)
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Storyline

Buster is thrown off a train near an amusement park. There he gets a job in a shooting gallery run by the Blinking Buzzards mob. Ordered to kill a businessman, he winds up protecting the man and his daughter by outfitting their home with trick devices. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

18 April 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El guardaespaldas  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Buster Keaton's first independent two-reeler. He didn't consider it funny enough and had it shelved upon its completion in 1920. It was released the following year when his film output was slowed by a broken leg. See more »

Quotes

Narration Card: The brutal bungalow of the Blinking Buzzards, a bold bad bunch of blood-thirsty bandits who would break into a bank, blow a battleship to bits or beat up a blue eyed baby blonde.
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User Reviews

 
A Star Was Born
15 April 2006 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Some people -- to paraphrase Mel Brooks -- call Buster Keaton a genius. But that's both too little and too much to give him credit; Einstein was a genius, Keaton... is incredible.

In the Fatty Arbuckle films he's amusing in what we tend to put down as a 'silent-comedy' way, a {by and large} straight-faced clown in a world of food fights, cross-dressing, clumsy cops and general anarchy. After exposure to a few hours of these I was, frankly, ready to write Keaton off as simply another sub-Laurel-and-Hardy slapstick act -- in the Arbuckle shorts he's reasonably funny but nothing to rave over. And then, suddenly, in the middle of the programme, came "The High Sign"... and it knocked me for six here, there, and into the middle of next week.

As a solo debut it's nothing short of astounding. It's the spectacle of a great talent emerging fully-formed and all at once into unique existence, like Athena from the head of Zeus. From the opening scene, the style, the humour, the devices, the sheer *intelligence* are instantly, blazingly original: this isn't just 'silent comedy' to be laughed at and over by the modern public with an air of faint condescension, it's surreal and hilarious and utterly gifted to side-splitting effect by anyone's standard. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. And the audience reaction -- from the former good-natured 'look-he's-dipped-the-bouquet-in-the-dirty-oil' laughter to the sudden roar of genuine surprise and delight -- was instant and electric. Suddenly, it was we who were eighty years behind the times, belated recipients of a moment of magic. Director, acrobat, actor, gag-writer, cinematographer, stuntman... for the first time Buster Keaton was set free into the universe of his own imagination, with confidence, grace and meticulous inventive brilliance, and before our eyes -- how could we not know it? -- a star was born.

Even more incredible to learn, and yet true, is the fact that Keaton himself rejected and suppressed this first film as insufficiently original, holding up release for a year: no-one ever saw it at the time. He knew he could do better and, unbelievably, he was right. But that's another story...


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