Electric House

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Movie Info

Comic filmmaker Buster Keaton always had a love of gadgetry, and that interest in all things mechanical is allowed full expression here. The two-reeler opens up on college graduation day, and the students are receiving their diplomas. The sheepskins get switched around, however, and Buster, a botany major, receives a diploma in electrical engineering. The dean (Joe Roberts) asks him to wire his house while he takes his family on a vacation; with the help of a book called "Electricity Made Easy," Buster does just that, and more. The dean and his family return to find a staircase that functions like an escalator, a Murphy bed that puts itself away, a toy train set that serves meals, a self-racking pool table, and many other unexpected conveniences. The trial run of the house doesn't go off without a few glitches, of course, but things really go haywire (literally) when Buster's rival (the real electrical engineering graduate) sneaks in and begins switching the cables around. It took two attempts for Keaton to complete this film short. The first time around, in 1921, he got his shoe caught in the staircase/ escalator and broke his leg. He was in a cast for seven weeks and dropped the project for over a year. When he commenced shooting again in 1922, he used his own house for the exterior shots of the dean's home.


Critic Reviews for Electric House

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Audience Reviews for Electric House

  • Dec 25, 2011
    "The Electric House" is one of the masterpiece shorts that Buster Keaton Directed and stared in during his early career from 1920-1923. The short is 23 minutes long and crams all kinds of props into the house and a barrage of editing techniques are used in order to make the film and all it's gadgets work and look real. The project is quite an undertaking especially for a two-reel film and is a testament to the genius, and incredible engineering skills, of Buster Keaton! The basic plot is during graduation several of the graduates drop their diplomas and pick up the wrong ones during a crucial moment, a millionaire is employing someone with a degree in electrical engineering. The fellow who has the degree (or at least did until it was mixed up and ends up in the hands of Buster) is denied because he is unknowingly carrying a Beauty degree. Buster accidentally winds up next to the millionaire and he is chosen to create an electric house for the client. Shockingly he does an amazing job and the house is stunning and really proves Keaton's genius in real life but is eventually sabotaged by the other graduate seeking revenge when he finds out about the mix-up and Buster taking the job anyway. The variety of editing and reversing of the film coupled with close-ups and different angle shots makes the house come alive and all the gadgets all the more incredible. "The Electric House" truly shows off Keaton's genius both in front of the camera and behind it and is essential watching to any Keaton fans or comedy lovers!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2011
    It's a shame that this film has missing footage and is in such poor condition. The gags involving the automated house are a hoot. Particularly the moving stairway and the pool table.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2010
    Technology gone awry, if you love that theme as much as I do you'll love this movie.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2009
    Hlarious, inventive, unique and full-of-gags Buster Keaton short, definitely worth watching. 84/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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