The Saphead


The Saphead

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Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

Nicholas Van Alstyne (William H. Crane) is the Wall Street tycoon worried about the future of his lazy son Bertie (Buster Keaton) in this comedy. Bertie is the idler who rallies on the floor of the stock market to save his father from financial disaster. Characters are introduced in silhouette where the expressionless Keaton is introduced as the vapid young socialite.

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Buster Keaton
as Bernie "The Lamb" Van Alstyne
William H. Crane
as Nicholas Van Alstyne
Irving Cummings
as Mark Turner
Carol Holloway
as Rose Turner
Jack Livingston
as Dr. George Wainwright
Beulah Booker
as Agnes Gates
Edward Alexander
as Watson Flint
Edward Jobson
as Rev. Murray Hilton
Jack Livinston
as Dr. George Wainwright
Odette Tyler
as Mrs. Cornelia Opdyke
Odette Tylor
as Mrs. Comelia Opdyke
Helen Holte
as Henrietta Reynolds
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Critic Reviews for The Saphead

All Critics (2)

Audience Reviews for The Saphead


"The Saphead" isn't a bad film, but it will frustrate Buster Keaton fans. Despite its farcical title, it barely even qualifies as a comedy. Ineffectual Bertie (Keaton, starring in his first feature) is a stock character -- the rich, pampered dandy who is pushed into the real world and must prove his mettle. And, of course, he's shy to tell a sweetheart that he loves her. Really, this seems like more of a Harold Lloyd vehicle. The other plot thread involves Mark (Irving Cummings), a struggling employee of Bertie's tycoon father who conspires to steal the family fortune via stock-market shenanigans. Much of the story hangs on a contrived coincidence that a valuable mine and Mark's mistress happen to share the same name (Henrietta). The script's complexity (particularly its financial element) tests the limits of silent film -- "The Saphead" is adapted from a play, and would have worked better as a talkie. Keaton had acted in numerous shorts by this time (often playing second fiddle to Fatty Arbuckle), but hadn't quite found his niche yet. He actually smiles in one scene (gasp) and has little chance for physical comedy until a climatic sequence on the stock-exchange floor. Any Keaton silent demands to be seen, but don't raise your expectations too high about this one.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


This is probably one of Keaton's worst movies.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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