Buster Keaton

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Back Stage

Back Stage was Buster's 12th short with Roscoe Arbuckle. released over a year after Good Night, Nurse. (Buster spent almost a year in France after he was drafted.) It has a more developed plot than the earlier two reelers: the backstage hands (Fatty, Buster, and Al) at the theater ("opry house", per title card) put on a show when the featured acts walk out. This time around, Buster appears in drag rather than Fatty, playing a girl in their show.

Buster performs several wonderful bits. He appears to walk down and up a flight of stairs (2:15), but Fatty removes a plank to show he really does not. He bends over backwards imitating an eccentric dancer (Jack Coogan Sr., father of Jackie) and takes a nice fall when Fatty knocks his feet out from under him with a broom. As a girl in the stage show, he does a spectacular acrobatic series of butterfly kicks (10:00). And an iconic Keaton stunt makes its first appearance, later to reappear in One Week and most famously in Steamboat Bill Jr.: a stage flat depicting a building front falls toward ukulele-strumming Fatty after Buster kicks out its support, but Fatty stands untouched precisely where a window lands. Buster and Fatty milk the joke for more laughs when they try unsuccessfully to reerect the flat.


Back Stage

Back Stage was Buster's 12th short with Roscoe Arbuckle. released over a year after Good Night, Nurse. (Buster spent almost a year in France after he was drafted.) It has a more developed plot than the earlier two reelers: the backstage hands (Fatty, Buster, and Al) at the theater ("opry house", per title card) put on a show when the featured acts walk out. This time around, Buster appears in drag rather than Fatty, playing a girl in their show.

Buster performs several wonderful bits. He appears to walk down and up a flight of stairs (2:15), but Fatty removes a plank to show he really does not. He bends over backwards imitating an eccentric dancer (Jack Coogan Sr., father of Jackie) and takes a nice fall when Fatty knocks his feet out from under him with a broom. As a girl in the stage show, he does a spectacular acrobatic series of butterfly kicks (10:00). And an iconic Keaton stunt makes its first appearance, later to reappear in One Week and most famously in Steamboat Bill Jr.: a stage flat depicting a building front falls toward ukulele-strumming Fatty after Buster kicks out its support, but Fatty stands untouched precisely where a window lands. Buster and Fatty milk the joke for more laughs when they try unsuccessfully to reerect the flat.


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