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The Play House (1921)

G  |   |  Short, Comedy, Fantasy  |  6 October 1921 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,439 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 14 critic

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

Directors:

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

Writers:

(as 'Buster' Keaton) , (as Eddie Cline)
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Title: The Play House (1921)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Audience / Orchestra / Mr. Brown - First Minstrel / Second Minstrel / Stagehand (as 'Buster' Keaton)
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Storyline

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). He is the band leader, all its members, the dancers on the stage and everyone in the audience. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

6 October 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Playhouse  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2005 DVD release) | (1995 Film Preservation Associates print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In this short Buster Keaton took credit for every part and job, including editor, director, writer, cameraman etc. This was an allusion to Thomas H. Ince's (the "inventor" of the Western) reputation for doing this. See more »

Goofs

Sometimes the background is visible through the elbow of Male Audience Member Buster, revealing the double-exposure technique used to film two Buster Keatons sitting side by side. See more »

Quotes

Man in Audience: This fellow Keaton seems to be the whole show.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Fractured Flickers: Episode #1.19 (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not Keaton's best...but a technical triumph
26 January 1999 | by (St. Clair, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

To be honest, the only video of this movie I've seen has been rather washed out. But the wonderful special effects of the first half still show through. This isn't a Melies' fantasy with avant garde stylings and effects, but rather a simple and almost elegant movie with one simple effect: Buster Keaton plays ALL the parts in a theatre presenting a minstrel show. This may not seem much in the CGI-world of the nineties...but back in the 1920's it was a tour de force. The ease with which Keaton brings together at least ten separate performances at one time is amazing...one can only imagine the planning that went into this movie.

The second half is a tad low-key...though it of course features more of Keaton's acrobatic slapstick, and a particularly striking bit with him dressed up as a monkey.

This is definitely not The General or Steamboat Bill, Jr., but it is very enjoyable and, I believe, very deserving of a high place in the canons of early film for the artistry that Keaton applied to the special effects.


5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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