Back Stage (1919)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Screwball Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Run Time - 26 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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This two reeler is basically an excuse for Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle to make a mockery of various vaudeville turns and back stage attitudes and antics. It's territory he knew well, since he spent the early years of his career traveling from one small theater to another. The main interest here is that Buster Keaton, who co-starred, stole a couple of gags for later films that he made on his own. The opening shot, in which what appears to be a room is only a set, is strikingly similar to a scene in 1921's The Playhouse. A later gag, where a piece of scenery falls onto Arbuckle, framing him in its second-story window, is repeated on a much, much grander scale in Keaton's 1928 feature Steamboat Bill, Jr. On the other hand, Arbuckle borrowed from Keaton, too -- at one point during the stage show, he throws Keaton at a heckler. Keaton spent his childhood performing on stage with his mother and father, and his father, Joe, was known to use his young son in the same manner for the same reason.





antics, entertainer, vaudeville