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The Play House (1921)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,367 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)
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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

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 Buster Keaton to perform precisely at the right time for each take. 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

Interactor: Mr. Brown, I understand you had a cyclone in your town.
Mr. Brown /First Minstrel: Yes, sir, the wind blew so hard it blew a silver dollar into four quarters.
Second Minstrel: That nothing. The wind blew so hard it blew a wart off a man's nose and broke a window two blocks away.
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Golden Age of Buster Keaton (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

Unusual & Very Creative
13 July 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is an unusual and extremely creative short comedy that shows off both Keaton's technical and comic skills, and it's loaded with clever visual details. Keaton's main character in this one is a stage hand, but he plays 20 or more different roles, most of them in the fascinating and bizarre opening sequence. The craftsmanship is perfect - even when several images of Keaton appear in one shot - and when you realize what the sequence represents, it's very suggestive as well. The main part of the film moves a little more slowly, but has some good laughs in it. There is a nice recurring joke about Keaton's girl - she is one of a pair of twins, and Keaton can never keep them straight. While Keaton made other films that are more uproariously funny, "The Playhouse" is a gem of inventiveness, and is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys silent films.


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