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The Haunted House (1921)

A bank clerk ends up in a seemingly haunted house that is actually a thieves' hideout.

Directors:

Edward F. Cline (as Eddie Cline), Buster Keaton (as 'Buster' Keaton)

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Buster Keaton ... Bank Clerk
Virginia Fox Virginia Fox ... Bank President's Daughter
Joe Roberts ... Bank Cashier
Edward F. Cline Edward F. Cline ... Customer in Bank
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Storyline

Buster is a bank clerk. Overturned glue gets everything, mostly the money, stuck to everything else. When robbers show up he can't "stick 'em up" because his hands are stuck in his pockets. The robbers' hideout is a haunted house designed to scare off police. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1900s | 900s | bank | teller | bank teller | See All (52) »

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 February 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A kísértetjárta ház See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was restored in 2015 through Lobster Films, a process partially funded through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. See more »

Goofs

When Buster Keaton adjusts the clock over the vault, he needs to pen a glass pane first. When Joe Roberts adjusts the clock, he doesn't have to open the glass. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: [title card] That night the Daredevil Opera Company was executing "Faust" - and he deserved it!
See more »

Connections

Featured in L'Art de Buster Keaton (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Keaton Madhouse
18 October 2018 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

There's never a dull moment in this Buster Keaton two-reeler, "The Haunted House." From Keaton making a mess as a bank teller, inadvertently stopping a robbery in the process, to his hiding from the police in the titular haunted house, where he stumbles across some more crooks, who've disguised themselves as ghouls and engineered the house with a staircase that turns into a slide. My favorites Keaton vehicles tend to be those where the humor is based self-reflexively in cinema, including "The Playhouse" (1921), "The Frozen North" (1922), "Sherlock Jr." (1924) and "The Cameraman" (1928). A couple gags here have a similar foundation. The head baddie explains the staircase trap in a kind of hypothetical vision where we see police being foiled by the trick. There's a play-within-the-play of "Faust," where Mephistopheles is chased off the stage to the haunted house by a rioting audience. And there's the dream/hallucination scene that references the other staircase and the other devil. Clever.

Note: Recently, I've been investigating the origins of the old dark house subgenre on screen, which is how I came upon reviewing this film. Although others have cited it as an early instance of such pictures, I'm not so sure. There's a haunted house and cash hidden in it, I guess, but none of the other tropes found in such films as "One Exciting Night" (1922), "The Monster" (1925), "The Bat" (1926), "The Cat and the Canary" (1927), "The Bat Whispers" (1930), "The Old Dark House" (1932) and even fellow silent comedian Harold Lloyd's "Haunted Spooks" (1920). I suppose the distinction between "old dark house" and "haunted house" is slight, though.


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