The Saphead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Saphead Reviews

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½ September 29, 2012
The naivete of Keaton's Bernie provides some good reactionary laughs, but overall the film is adequate at best.
½ February 19, 2012
Keaton`s first feature film really sees him out of his usual style. There is some physical comedy here but not even near what he does in a 18 minute short.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2012
"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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2010
This is probably one of Keaton's worst movies.
½ May 13, 2009
I watched this film as it was part of ‚??The Art Of Buster Keaton‚?? box set. The film however, is as much a Buster Keaton film as King Kong is a Fay Wray film, and that is to say, not very much. Keaton was only one of many actor in The Saphead, and he never thought very highly of the film. I have to agree with Buster on this one. The film never really knows if it‚??s comedy or melodrama, and save for a few minutes at the stock market, is generally uninteresting.
October 2, 2008
I've always liked Buster Keaton but for me, he's always lived in the shadow of Chaplin. To be fair, I grew up watching Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy when I was very young and I didn't discover Keaton until I was in college. By the time I did watch Buster Keaton's films, I found myself always comparing them to Chaplin's work and always viewing Keaton as a weaker carbon copy of Chaplin. This film is strictly for film historians and lovers of silent cinema. I know many film lovers who can barely sit through 2 minutes of a silent movie and thats totally understandable. Silent cinema is an acquired taste that many don't acquire. This film, like almost all silents, lacks in plot, but it more than makes up for it in watching Keaton do his physical comedy. Some of the shit he and Chaplin used to do is stuff that no insurance company would allow any star to pull off these days. These were the days before stunt people so these actors did all their own stunts. There are scenes where you marvel at how Keaton was able to avoid paralyzing himself. So if you like silent comedy or you're simply someone who's into film history, this may be worth your while.
July 19, 2008
A very entertaining melodrama from Buster Keaton. He only acted in this and it barely has any slapstick, but he's still really good.
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