According to Rudi Blesh (author of a biography on the "great stone face"), Buster Keaton got the idea for THE PLAYHOUSE from a vaudeville appearance by Annette Kellerman in front of one hundred mirrors, so the audience saw one-hundred-and-one Kellermans. Adding to this, Keaton's memories of his twenty years in live theatre, a virtuoso understanding of the possibilities of cinema and the skill of cinematographer Elgin Lessley, we have a small masterpiece, presented here in a beautiful copy with all original titles. This film features actors performing in blackface. Fandor does not condone racist stereotyping, but blackface is nonetheless a significant aspect of American history in general and film history specifically. Early cinema was deeply rooted in vaudeville, where blackface was a popular staple. As film critic Ty Burr wrote in a recent assessment of Al Jolson’s THE JAZZ SINGER, “Minstrelsy was the then-accepted cultural mechanism by which the governing white culture could appropriate and tame various representations of black people.” The history of blackface is complex (even African American performers donned burnt cork to appear onstage in the early 1900s), and its legacy is far from being resolved. While blackface iconography appears offensive today, it remains deeply telling of the culture from which it emerged.
Cast & Crew
Reviews(see the best reviews)
Such terrific fun! I was a little annoyed at the electronic-sounding music track at first, but it matched the picture so well I was able to forget my initial frustration and just enjoy the film. Buster and his crew were certainly incredibly inventive, using some amazingly well-done multiple exposures in the early part of the film. The comic invention kept up, throughout. I loved it!
I love Buster Keaton and I especially enjoy when he brings his vaudeville roots to the screen. The special effects are still great, but there are still enough gags of pure physicality to enjoy.
What an amazing little silent gem! The range of comedy Keaton explores is varied and very funny...he really has a way "without words"
One of the great masterpieces of the silent era.
cant wait to see this on the big screen in April in Easton.
there's a reason i named my first born after this genius. such a refreshing piece of comedy compared to modern day humor. love the ending, love the entire performance!
My all-time favorite Keaton short. He was one of the first silent stars to understand that new tech and the environment didn't have to fight one another.
Buster Keaton is the Albert Einstein of sight gags.
Buster was the best! I honestly don't think anyone will ever be as good as he was. <3
I love his movies from the silent to the last film he did. His stunts amazed me.
Oh Buster...you're just amazing.