ⓘ The Haunted House (1921 film)


ⓘ The Haunted House (1921 film)

The Haunted House is a 1921 American two-reel silent comedy film starring Buster Keaton. It was written and directed by Keaton and Edward F. Cline. The runtime is 21 minutes.


1. Plot

Keaton plays a teller at a successful bank. Unbeknownst to him, the manager at the bank and his gang are planning on pulling off a robbery and hiding in an old house which they have rigged up with booby traps and effects to make it appear to be haunted. After a mishap that afternoon with Keaton getting glue all over the money and himself, he almost thwarts the gangs robbery but when the owner of the bank walks in and sees Keaton armed with a gun he assumes it was he who tried to rob it. Keaton flees and takes refuge in the old house; however, a troupe of actors from a theatre production are also in the house and are clad in their scary costumes ghosts, skeletons etc leading Keaton and the gang of robbers to believe the house actually is haunted. After Keaton has many encounters with the "ghosts" and the houses booby traps, he discovers the scam and the manager is revealed as being behind the robbery. As the manager is about to be taken away, he hits Keaton over the head and knocks him out before escaping. Next we see Keaton being awoken by two angels at the foot of a large stairway which he ascends all the way to Heaven. He asks Saint Peter to be let in but is denied and is sent all the way down to Hell. However, this is all revealed to be a dream sequence as Keaton regains consciousness in the house seconds later.


2. Cast

  • Edward F. Cline as Customer in Bank
  • Dorothy Cassil as Flirty Bank Customer uncredited
  • Buster Keaton as Bank Clerk
  • Joe Roberts as Bank Cashier
  • Mark Hamilton as Tallest Ghost uncredited
  • Natalie Talmadge as Fainting Female Bank Customer uncredited
  • Virginia Fox as Bank Presidents Daughter

3. Legacy

Christopher Workman commented, "The film belongs to a different, more simplistic era of comedic storytelling. As such it doesnt work too well today.but it has a certain amount of naive charm. Even in its day, there wasnt much original about it, given that haunted houses occupied by criminals had been a staple of the genre for nearly two decades already."