Back Stage

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User Ratings: 69
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Movie Info

This two reeler is basically an excuse for Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle to make a mockery of various vaudeville turns and back stage attitudes and antics. It's territory he knew well, since he spent the early years of his career traveling from one small theater to another. The main interest here is that Buster Keaton, who co-starred, stole a couple of gags for later films that he made on his own. The opening shot, in which what appears to be a room is only a set, is strikingly similar to a scene in 1921's The Playhouse. A later gag, where a piece of scenery falls onto Arbuckle, framing him in its second-story window, is repeated on a much, much grander scale in Keaton's 1928 feature Steamboat Bill, Jr. On the other hand, Arbuckle borrowed from Keaton, too -- at one point during the stage show, he throws Keaton at a heckler. Keaton spent his childhood performing on stage with his mother and father, and his father, Joe, was known to use his young son in the same manner for the same reason.

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Audience Reviews for Back Stage

  • Sep 09, 2016
    Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle made many shorts with Mabel Normand in his early career and then, prior to the pairing of the more famous Laurel and Hardy, Fatty made several shorts with Buster Keaton. This is another such teaming between Fatty and Buster. Again actor Al St. John is also present as another stagehand. And again the slapstick routines don't do much to make for a memorable story or unforgettable characters. There is a strongman who is abusive to his lady assistant. He is pressured to leave the vaudeville theater, and then...you get back stage antics with the crew mimicking the usual variety acts. Very static shots. Very young Keaton developing his film presence, but not yet to the level of his solo career.
    Byron B Super Reviewer

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