22 user 18 critic

The Saphead (1920)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 20 September 1920 (USA)
The simple-minded son of a rich financier must find his own way in the world.


Bronson Howard (original play "The Henrietta"), Victor Mapes (play) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Edward Jobson Edward Jobson ... Reverend Murray Hilton
Beulah Booker ... Agnes Gates
Edward Connelly ... Mr. Musgrave
Edward Alexander ... Watson Flint
Irving Cummings ... Mark Turner
Odette Tyler Odette Tyler ... Mrs. Cornelia Opdyke
Carol Holloway ... Rose Turner
Jack Livingston ... Dr. George Wainright
William H. Crane ... Nicholas Van Alstyne
Buster Keaton ... Bertie Van Alstyne


Nick Van Alstyne owns the Henrietta silver mine and is very rich. His son Bertie is naive and spoiled. His daughter Rose is married to shady investor Mark. Mark wrecks Bertie's wedding plans by making him take the blame for Mark's illegitimate daughter. Mark also nearly ruins the family business by selling off Henrietta stock at too low a price. Bertie, of all people, must come to the rescue on the trading floor. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He Forbade Them To Wed! Then he cut the lad off with a paltry million! (Print Ad- Duluth Herald, ((Duluth, Minn.)) 5 February 1921)




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Bronson Howard's play, "The Henrietta," opened in New York on 26 September 1887; a revised play, "The New Henrietta," by Winchell Smith and Victor Mapes opened there on 22 December 1913 and closed in February 1914 after 48 performances. The opening night cast of the latter play included Douglas Fairbanks as Bertie, Zeffie Tilbury as Hattie and Arthur Stuart Hull as Dr. Wainwright. See more »


When Bertie's car pulls up to the house after the aborted wedding, the front gate is closed, but when he gets out of the car it is wide open. See more »


Bertie: I'm good. I've tried my best to get over it - but I can't - and I still kneel down and say my prayers every morning - before I go to bed.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1995, Film Preservation Associates copyrighted a version with an orchestral score; no details were specified on the print. See more »


Featured in Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow (1987) See more »

User Reviews

For the feature, but the 2 shorts are a must see
4 April 2002 | by johneditSee all my reviews

"Saphead" is an awful romantic melodrama. Basically Keaton is just doing straight acting (the movie's based on a stage play). There is little comedy here.

But the 2 shorts included on the DVD -- "The High Sign" and "One Week" --are outstanding. They rate 8 and 9 scores, respectively. "One Week" anticipates many of Keaton's later gags and stunts, showing the kind of imagination and skill that made his films the funniest of the silent era (sorry, Charlie).

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Release Date:

20 September 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A mamlasz See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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