The Play House

1921

Comedy / Fantasy

7
IMDb Rating 7.5/10 10 4598 4.6K

Director

Top cast

Buster Keaton as Audience / Orchestra / Mr. Brown - First Minstrel / Second Minstrel / Stagehand
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
224.19 MB
1280*960
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
12 hr 24 min
Seeds 4
416.16 MB
1440*1080
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
12 hr 24 min
Seeds 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by weezeralfalfa 7 / 10

A technological tour de force for the times, but not especially funny.

We can usefully divide this Buster Keaton comedy short into 5 sections. From a technological innovation viewpoint, the first section (I designate as A) is the most impressive. It lasts 6.5min. and begins with Keaton getting out his accordion wallet to find a coin to pay for his entry into a variety show. Strangely, upon entry, he immediately takes the position of conductor of an orchestra consisting of Keaton look alikes. Up to 9 images of an animated Keaton are displayed at the same time. You can get an idea how this was done by reading the trivia section at this site. Unfortunately, a short section is included in which one of the Keatons is in blackface, and making jokes in the tradition of the minstrel character Mr. Bones. The audience also consists of Keaton look alikes, both male and female. There's not much humor in this section. Section B consists of 3min. of mostly Keaton interacting with 2 supposed female twins, one of which likes him, while the other does not. Section C consists of 4.5min. of Keaton interacting with an orangutan, which escapes. Thus, Keaton has to replace it in the show, by making his face up in mimicry and acting somewhat like the animal. This provides a few laughs. ....Section D: A troupe of Zouaves is supposed to perform some maneuvers, but they quit, so Keaton has to go outside and find some volunteers. Incidentally, Zouaves were a light-infantry corps in the French army, mostly made up of Algerians, who retained the Turkic dress, as we see. This section lasts 4.5 min., and is not very entertaining. Mostly, they take apart a cannon and put it back together.. The last section(E) also is 4.5min. long. The funniest gag has big Joe Roberts, as stage manager, put on a long beard and moustache for his next role. He smokes a cigar, which catches his beard on fire. For some reason, he doesn't take off the beard! Rather, Keaton brings the fire ax and wallops his head! Then, he takes the cutting edge of the ax and trims the beard off, then the moustache. When Joe awakens, he chases Keaton, until Keaton locks him in a small room. Next, we are back with the twin girls. One lowers herself into a tank of water, to see how long she can stay submerged. But, for some reason, she can't ascend after several minutes. Keaton panics, and finds a big mallet, with which he supposedly breaks the front of the glass tank(If they actually broke it, would be very dangerous!). A large amount of water gushes out(more than the tank holds) and drowns the orchestra pit, along with gushing out the door. Keaton takes the hand of one the twins and runs out the door to the justice of the peace, across the street. Unfortunately, he finds she's the wrong girl. So, he rushes back and brings the right girl, and supposedly they are married......See it at YouTube

Reviewed by Prismark10 6 / 10

Multiplicity

In The Play House there is an opening sequence with multiple Buster Keatons on stage, playing the performers, musicians and the audience. It is a dream sequence which also comes across as a tribute to Georges Méliès.

This short then settles down as Keaton plays a stage hand and a performer, well a performing monkey. Keaton also tries to woo his girl but she is a set of identical twins and he keeps picking on the wrong twin to kiss. He then gets constantly interrupted by the main performer who is also a beastly big man leading to hijinks and acrobatics.

This short is rather episodic and surreal. Keaton's stunt work is more safe here as he was recovering from an injury at the time.

Reviewed by Vigilante-407 6 / 10

Not Keaton's best...but a technical triumph

To be honest, the only video of this movie I've seen has been rather washed out. But the wonderful special effects of the first half still show through. This isn't a Melies' fantasy with avant garde stylings and effects, but rather a simple and almost elegant movie with one simple effect: Buster Keaton plays ALL the parts in a theatre presenting a minstrel show. This may not seem much in the CGI-world of the nineties...but back in the 1920's it was a tour de force. The ease with which Keaton brings together at least ten separate performances at one time is amazing...one can only imagine the planning that went into this movie.

The second half is a tad low-key...though it of course features more of Keaton's acrobatic slapstick, and a particularly striking bit with him dressed up as a monkey.

This is definitely not The General or Steamboat Bill, Jr., but it is very enjoyable and, I believe, very deserving of a high place in the canons of early film for the artistry that Keaton applied to the special effects.

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