Sunday, 4 September 2016

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre – The High Sign

Today, we present Buster Keaton’s great 1921 short for Metro, “The High Sign.” It was still playing in New York City a year later. Variety’s review:
Buster Keaton's latest Metro twin reeler is the comedy relief at the Capitol this week. Eddie Cline collaborated with the star on the story and direction, producing an interesting slapstick comedy.
Keaton has but to continue at the present rate and he will become a valuable adjunct to any film program. His stuff is original, and always consistent with the story thread he maintains. No haphazard bits for him, always ringing them in legitimately.
A secret society is out to blackmail August Nickelnurser for $10,000 or inflict capital punishment on him. Keaton is engaged by the victim as the bodyguard and by the secret society as their emissary in carrying out the death threat. He decides to protect him and double-cross the "dirty dozen" that comprise the Buzzards. A cross section of a house with numerous trap-doors and secret exits makes for some fast rough and tumble work, Keaton eventually annihilating the would-be assassins.
That old timer, Al St. John, is alloted a bit in the comedy. He is the only familiar in the support. St. John at one time was also Fatty Arbuckle's running mate in the corpulent comedian's two-reel output, later doing some feature work on the Fox Sunshine lot. He ought to be taken in hand by someone. He suggests untold possibilities.
Outside of that the comedy is all Keaton. The star predominates and to good purpose. Abel.
Exhibitors Herald revealed the woman in the film is Bartine Zane.

1 comment:

  1. I seem to recall that Keaton didn't think much of this film and put it on the shelf, releasing it only after he broke his leg on a malfunctioning escalator while filming "The Electric House."