Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline

Scen.: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline. F.: Felgin Lessley. M.: Buster Keaton. Scgf.: Fred Gabourie. Int.: Buster Keaton (bank employee), Virginia Fox (bank manager’s daughter), Joe Roberts (cashier), Edward F. Cline (client of the bank ), Natalie Talmadge (client that faints), Dorothy Cassil (flirty client), Mark Hamilton (ghost). Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck. DCP.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

One of Buster Keaton’s most famous works, this movie is designed in two parts, both closed environments. The first is the bank where Keaton’s character works, a place thrown into complete chaos by his antics, until such time as he falls victim to his own mischief. The banking hall ends up looking like a giant fly-trap, actors stuck to the floor or to each other, pathetically and comically gesticulating. When Keaton’s hopeless cack-handedness results in his being fired, he takes refuge in a haunted house inhabited by bandits who manipulate a series of secret clockwork mechanisms. He also finds there an actor dressed as Mephistopheles, whom a hostile audience has hounded out of the theatre. Keaton remains trapped in this place, until such time as he can penetrate its workings and thus make the trap not a trap. […] He passes, in other words, from one room-space to the next, unfailingly assimilating every experience, moving from foolishness to wisdom as gradually it dawns that appearances are not what they seem. From beginning to end, the story operates a profound alteration in Keaton’s character and as always, his point is that people do not remain static. Life is about change. Changing is learning to live.

Jean-André Fieschi, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 130, 1962

Copy From

Restored in 2019 by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Cohen Film Collection at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory.
For the restoration of The Haunted House ten elements from the Cohen Film Collection were inspected, digitised and compared. The editing of reel one appeared consistent in all elements, with the exception of one intertitle, unlike reel two, which presented considerable differences in all the compared elements. An in-depth analysis of all the available materials allowed us to ascertain that the 16mm positive print was the most reliable element. For the reconstruction, five elements have been taken into account, all from the Cohen Film Collection: two 4th generation dupe negatives (DN_RR3030 and DN_RR14563), a 3rd generation dupe positive (DP_RR31461), a 5th generation positive (POS_RR2143), and a 16mm (POS_RR3068) for a scene that is missing in all other elements.