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The Electric House (1922)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  October 1922 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,372 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 6 critic

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


(as Eddie Cline) , (as 'Buster' Keaton)
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Complete credited cast:
Buster (as 'Buster' Keaton)


Botany major Buster mistakenly graduates in electrical engineering and is hired to wire a new home. He installs lots of fanciful gadgets. The one who should have received the degree gets even by rewiring all the gadgets to wreak havoc. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy


TV-G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

October 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Electrical House  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2005 DVD release) | (2005 DVD release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filming was delayed when star Buster Keaton got his foot caught in the escalator and broke his ankle. During his recovery, Keaton released his previously shelved film, The 'High Sign' (1921), and filmed The Play House (1921). Upon his return to this short, he abandoned his original footage and started fresh. Little is known about the first version, and no scenes are known to still exist. See more »


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

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User Reviews

I wish that Buster Keaton had engineered my house
19 November 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

In addition to the remarkable stunt-work that makes his films unique, Buster Keaton often employed the odd mechanical gadget, and there's certainly much amusement to be found in his technical creativity. 'The Electric House' is a 20-minute short film that dedicates itself entirely to Keaton's gadgets, as a young botany graduate is mistakenly hired as an electrical engineer to wire up a new home. After perusing a book entitled "Electricity Made Easy," Keaton develops a selection of clever and useful household contraptions, including an escalator, a railway system that delivers food to the dinner table, a quick-emptying and re-filling outdoor pool and a self-operating billiards table. Some of the mechanical devices don't quite work as planned, but generally Keaton has done a fair job, and he has certainly invented a few mechanisms that I wouldn't mind having in my own home (assuming, of course, that they operated as they were supposed to).

However, the begrudging electrical engineering graduate who missed out on the job arrives at the new electric house to wreak havoc and achieve his revenge. From the moment he starts moving about wires, the contraptions inside the home begin to go crazy, and poor Keaton is completely at their mercy, unable to understand why his inventions have gone haywire. Of course, there are a few gags that don't quite work {such as Keaton thinking he's seen a ghost}, and the editing is a little choppy at times, but it's all in such good fun that you won't feel disappointed. A lot of amusement is derived from something as simple as an escalator {which was then a relatively new invention, only 25 years or so years old}, with Keaton, in one particularly funny sequence, trying to haul a bulky suitcase up the "stairs" and bafflingly wondering why he's making such little progress.

As the hapless hero, Keaton takes his fair share of beatings from the mechanical devices {in fact, production had to be delayed because he broke his ankle after it got caught in the escalator}, but the other members of the household don't escape unscathed. Joe Roberts plays the disgruntled homeowner whose house is equipped with mischievous gadgetry, and he gets acquainted with the property's swimming pool on at least two entertaining occasions. Though Keaton has certainly done funnier comedic shorts, 'The Electric House (1922)' is an amusing way to pass 20 minutes, and the star's undeniable enthusiasm for slapstick comedy makes his work always worth a watch.

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