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Convict 13 (1920)

Not Rated | | Short, Comedy | 27 October 1920 (USA)
A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

Directors:

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

Writers:

(as Eddie Cline), (as 'Buster' Keaton)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sybil Seely ...
...
Edward F. Cline ...
...
Prisoner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Louise Keaton
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Storyline

Buster is playing golf with Sybil when he gets knocked out. An escaped prisoner changes clothes with him. Buster goes to prison and learns that he is to be hanged. He changes clothes with a guard just as prisoner Roberts attacks all the guards. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

27 October 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A 13-as fegyenc  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first title card]
Title card: Golf - the game that brings out the beast in men.
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Connections

Featured in Mob City: Reason to Kill a Man (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Buster Keaton Lives Like a Wandering Gypsy With The Most Adventurous Life You Can Imagine. Watch How He Finds A Way Out Of Difficulties Every Time ... Almost.
4 June 2013 | by See all my reviews

Convict 13 has an interesting concept; here, our Buster is totally hell- bent on getting his ball to its hole and literally fishes out the golf ball from a fish's little mouth when his ball drops into the lake. His game is interrupted when a convict escaping death row finds Buster unconscious (after one of his attempts at golf gone awry) and swaps clothes with him to make it seem as if Buster's the real convict. There's a sparkling sequence where Buster, unaware that he is wearing prisoner's uniform, readies himself to hit the ball as two cops stand to his left and right looking incredulously at him.

On realizing the change in his appearance, he gives them a slip and does manage to evade the not-so-bright cops until he finds shelter… in a prison! Then begins the prison saga, beginning with Buster meeting the love of his life - the socialite daughter of the prison guard – who tries to save Buster from death by switching the hanging noose with exercise rope. Another unforeseeable circumstance – a heavyset prisoner creating chaos in prison – leads to further mayhem. We wait and watch how Buster wriggles his way through each problem only to land into another until the film finds a fitting resolution to his tale.

Along with The High Sign, Convict 13 is probably one of my favorite Keaton shorts. It's like a harmless firecracker that sets off a chain of bombs, missiles and then the nuclear weapon itself! What was especially marvelous about watching Keaton was that while his character always had a smart solution for his problem, he never anticipated the possibility of a worse problem to occur. Consider the scene where he tries to escape from the army of cops; Buster walks in front of them as they follow him like a marching army, so when Buster turns in the opposite direction the cops stupidly follow turn along with him. That's when Buster sneakily escapes and finally hides behind a gate. Before he can take a sigh of relief, he turns to see where he is and finds out that he has reached right into a prison.

Later, when there's a riot in the prison and all the guards have been beaten unconscious by the burly cop, our Buster, again in dark about the riot, tries escaping the cops by knocking out one and wearing his uniform. He confidently enters the section wearing prison guard uniform, where the burly prisoner's waiting to knock him down thinking he's a cop. But Buster's not a prisoner and neither is he a cop; he is no professional golf player either so what is he?

This is answered in the next short: The High Sign. He's a man going nowhere, you'll find him anywhere and he'll land up somewhere. In a way, he's a wandering gypsy living probably the most adventurous life you can imagine. He's very unlucky, as evident by the number 13 given to his prisoner, but he never loses hope that he'll find a way out… almost.


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