7.5/10
3,534
22 user 17 critic

The Play House (1921)

After waking up from his wacky dream, a theater stage hand inadvertently causes havoc everywhere he works.

Directors:

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

Writers:

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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Goat (1921)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A series of adventures begins when an accident during photographing causes Buster to be mistaken for Dead Shot Dan, the evil badguy.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Malcolm St. Clair
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drifter at an amusement park finds himself both the bodyguard and hit man of a man targeted by a criminal gang.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Bartine Burkett, Charles Dorety
The Paleface (1922)
Short | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Buster helps a Native American tribe save their land from greedy oil barons.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Keaton
Hard Luck (1921)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Strange things ensue after a young man attempts to take his own life.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Neighbors (1920)
Short | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young couple who live next to each other in tenement apartments do everything they can to be together despite of their feuding families.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Jack Duffy
Short | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Convict 13 (1920)
Short | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
The Love Nest (1923)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In an attempt to forget his lost sweetheart, Buster takes a long trip at sea where he boards a whaling ship with a strict captain.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline
Stars: Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox
One Week (1920)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A newly wedded couple attempts to build a house with a prefabricated kit, unaware that a rival sabotaged the kit's component numbering.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

By accident, Buster and an intimidating woman end up married.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Wallace Beery, Monte Collins
Short | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Buster plays a bumbling villain in this parody of melodrama.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Sybil Seely
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Buster Keaton ... Audience / Orchestra / Mr. Brown - First Minstrel / Second Minstrel / Stagehand (as 'Buster' Keaton)
Edit

Storyline

Portraying more than twenty characters at once--including lively stage actors, an attentive audience, an orchestra, and an entire nine-member minstrel act--Buster Keaton pushes the boundaries of technical artistry and film trickery, in a time when effects really were special. With this in mind--after waking up from a delightful vaudeville dream sequence--Buster realises that he still is the play house's humble general factotum, and he must keep the show up and running amid delusion and disorder, identical twin sisters, Zouave guards, and a rampant orangutan on the loose. But, can a mere gopher yearn for recognition, and perhaps, love? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He apes the ape as no one else can ape him (Print Ad- Wheeling Intelligencer, ((Wheeling WVA)) 22 April 1922)

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

6 October 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Playhouse See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD) | (1995 Film Preservation Associates print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

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

Presenter of "The Mermaids": This young lady can stay under water longer than the bottom of a river.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A special 16mm edition was made available in 2002 which restores the film's original title cards, corrects a sequence error within the "monkey scene" and sports a new synchronized music track by The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Being John Malkovich (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Unusual & Very Creative
13 July 2001 | by Snow LeopardSee 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.


16 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 22 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed