30 user 18 critic

Spite Marriage (1929)

Passed | | Comedy | 6 April 1929 (USA)
An unimpressive but well intending man is given the chance to marry a popular actress, of whom he has been a hopeless fan. But what he doesn't realize is that he is being used to make the actress' old flame jealous.


Edward Sedgwick, Buster Keaton (uncredited)


Lew Lipton (story by), Ernest Pagano (adaptation) (as Ernest S. Pagano) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Buster Keaton ... Elmer Edgemont
Dorothy Sebastian ... Trilby Drew
Edward Earle ... Lionel Benmore
Leila Hyams ... Ethyl Norcrosse
William Bechtel ... Frederick Nussbaum
Jack Byron Jack Byron ... Giovanni Scarzi (as John Byron)


Elmer is a dry cleaner. He is madly in love with stage star Trilby Drew; for each of her 35 performances, he dons someone else's tuxedo and races to the theatre. When Trilby's co-star boyfriend gets engaged to a socialite, she marries Elmer to get even, assuming Elmer is a millionaire (since his clothes are so snazzy.) But she's clearly still in love with her scoundrelous co-star, and her manager makes her leave Elmer, trying to pay him off so the papers don't hear about her marriage to a "cheap pants presser." Can Elmer win her love? Maybe a sea voyage will help. Written by <bletzler@lan.tjhsst.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Buster Keaton thinks this is his best comedy. If better gags, funnier situations, wilder action than ever before are what you've been looking for- you will agree with him absolutely. (Print Ad-Fonda Times, ((Fonda, Iowa)) 9 May 1929) See more »




Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Buster Keaton's final silent feature, as well as the final film in which MGM allowed him any creative control. See more »


In the dressing-room scene while attempting to trim the hair for his false beard, Elmer accidentally severs the left-hand shoulder strap of his vest and has no time to repair it. When we see him hurriedly changing back into his smart clothes after the performance, both straps are still whole. See more »


Title Card: There are only two cures for love... marriage and suicide.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Rather than appear at the beginning, the MGM roaring lion opening appears after the conclusion of the film, but just before "The End" title, which immediately follows it. See more »


Referenced in Kazaam (1996) See more »


I'd Rather Be Blue Over You
Music by Fred Fisher
Lyrics by Billy Rose
Played as background music at the cafe
See more »

User Reviews

Keaton's athleticism would be enough
26 December 2004 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

Though not of the quality of "The General," an almost perfect movie, "Spite Marriage" is worth watching both for the fun and for the historical value of its being Keaton's last silent.

Co-star Dorothy Sebastian deserves a medal both for her performance and for putting up with being knocked about so.

So many of Keaton's leading ladies get treated very physically, surely part of the auditions was a test of their good-natured sportsmanship -- and probably their physical conditioning, too.

Dorothy Sebastian's character is not very sympathetic at first, but she learns, and when she has to assist in her own rescue, she is adorable, cute as the proverbial button.

Keaton, though, is the real reason to watch, this or almost everything else he is in.

He ranks among the top of the certifiable geniuses of motion picture making, with an unfailing sense of timing, with uncanny physical control, and with an understanding of what was (and is) funny that the studio bosses of his latter career should have paid attention to.

Even with the worst material, with which he was saddled in so many of his talkies, Keaton and his abilities and talents still stand out, are still memorable.

Buster Keaton will deserve our awe forever.

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None | English

Release Date:

6 April 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die unvollkommene Ehe See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Silent (musical score and sound effects)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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