The Playhouse (1921)
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Critic Reviews for The Playhouse
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Audience Reviews for The Playhouse
With all the charm and talent of Buster Keaton, it was an accident that "The Playhouse" came into fruition. Buster had broken his ankle and needed a "less strenuous film" to shoot and so even though he dances and does other physically demanding stunts he filmed "The Play House". The film showcases much more of his camera technicalities in the film portraying himself as the entire orchestra, performers, stagehands and even the audience (Both males and females) and is hilarious looking! The film is a riot and just the look on Buster's face throughout his various characters is enough to denounce that he didn't show any emotions on his face. I laughed throughout the entire film and it's interesting to note that even though the film shows Buster dreaming himself as all these characters, the latter half (after he is awakened) still portrays two twins adding to the intrigue of multiple characters. What a great watch!
This may only be a 22 minute short film, but there's certainly a lot going on. What we get are the goings on at a playhouse, seeing various skits and stage performances, but this film isn't so simple, as it jumps all over the place from dream sequences to reality and back, and is all kinds of disjointed, but the real highlight is the fact that the cast is made up of dozens, with 75% (at least) of them being Keaton in multiple roles. That's pretty cool and impressive, but even more so given the technical limitations of the day, and the fact that Keaton was able to pull this off, especially a sequence where he appears in frame as 9 different characters simultaneously. And people think Eddie Murphy is great at this sort of thing. This seemed mroe overtly funny than The General, but maybe because it's shorter and there's more laughs crammed in per minute. I'm still not a big fan of slapstick, but this makes me appreciate it a bit more. That, and, like I said, this has some crazy innovations going on. Even then, it's not the most memorable thing ever, but still cool.
Rather disjointed by Keaton standards, but the sequence with him playing multiple theater characters is remarkable. As his later impression of a monkey (take that, Chris Kattan).
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