The Saphead (September, 1920) - Silent, without background music

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Buster Keaton in The Saphead
 

Released in September 1920: Bertie, the saphead son of a wealthy New York Stock Exchange member is framed with love letters to a mistress that actually belong to his scoundrel brother-in-law.

Directed by Herbert Blache and Winchell Smith

The Actors: Buster Keaton (Bertie Van Alstyne), William H. Crane (Nicholas Van Alstyne), Beulah Booker (Agnes Gates), Carol Holloway (Rose Turner), Edward Jobson (Reverend Murray Hilton), Edward Connelly (Mr. Musgrave), Edward Alexander (Watson Flint), Irving Cummings (Mark Turner), Odette Taylor (Mrs. Cornelia Opdyke), Jack Livingston (Doctor George Wainright), Katherine Albert (Hattie), Henry Clauss (velet), Alfred Hollingsworth (Hathaway), Helen Holte (Henrietta Reynolds), Jeffrey Williams (Hutchins)

 

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Ohhhh . . . . Henrietta

Wealthy stock market maven Nick Van Alstyne has a son and a daughter. Daughter Rose has married a broker on Wall Street who is not doing so well. We also learn early on that he has had a torrid love affair with a gal named Henrietta, and she has the love letters to prove it, threatening to ruin his marriage to wealthy daughter Rose. Nick also has a son named Bertie, played by Buster Keaton in his first full length motion picture. Bertie is a wild child . . . or at least he tries. He is in love with Agnes, but believes that the 'modern' woman wants to marry a bad boy, not a good boy, so he tries to party all night and sleep all day to gain a naughty reputation. He even has a photo of a dancing girl on his wall so that everyone will think that he is a skirt-chaser. But all is a ruse . . . when his girlfriend returns from a trip he confesses to her that she probably won't want him because . . . shame of it all . . . he is actually a good boy just pretending to be a party animal. He even says his prayers every day. But Agnes still loves him. One of the stunts he tried to pull to show that he was a man about town was to get caught in a gambling raid, but he couldn't even get arrested when he tried. When papa Nick discovers that he was at a gambling house he kicks Bertie out of the family home and condemns him to live in an apartment with only one valet! What humiliation! Anyway, when he and Agnes try to elope, his sister Carol convinces papa Nick to allow them to marry in the family home, and papa Nick reluctantly agrees. Now, this is where the story really takes off, because Henrietta's love child daughter, with a fist full of love letters from Carol's husband crashes the wedding and presents the letters to Carol. Thinking quickly, her rogue husband convinces the family that this Henrietta was actually the lover of Bertie, not him, and Bertie doesn't remember, but takes full responsibility. Well, now papa Nick banishes Bertie from the home once more and the wedding is certainly off. It looks pretty bad for Bertie, and scoundrel brother-in-law Mark seems to be in the cat-bird seat with papa Nick's full blessings. But rest assured, scoundrels never know when to quit, and brother-in-law Mark tries to beat papa Nick out of his fortunes in the stock market manipulation that will ruin papa Nick and bring a fortune to Mark . . . unless Bertie the saphead son can somehow save the day. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Beulah Booker
Beulah Booker
Beulah Booker and Carol Holloway
Beulah Booker and Carol Holloway
Beulah Booker and Edward Jobson
Beulah Booker and Edward Jobson
Beulah Booker and William H. Crane
Beulah Booker and William H. Crane
Beulah Booker as Agnes Gates
Beulah Booker as Agnes Gates
Buster Keaton and Carol Holloway
Buster Keaton and Carol Holloway
Buster Keaton and Edward Alexander
Buster Keaton and Edward Alexander
Buster Keaton at the roulette table
Buster Keaton at the roulette table
Buster Keaton confesses to Beulah Booker that he is a good boy
Buster Keaton confesses to Beulah Booker that he is a good boy
Buster Keaton looks for Beulah Booker to elope with
Buster Keaton looks for Beulah Booker to elope with
Carol Holloway
Carol Holloway
Edward Alexander and Buster Keaton
Edward Alexander and Buster Keaton
Edward Connelly
Edward Connelly
Henry Clauss and Buster Keaton
Henry Clauss and Buster Keaton
Irving Cummings, Carol Holloway and Buster Keaton
Irving Cummings, Carol Holloway and Buster Keaton
Irving Cummings and Carol Holloway
Irving Cummings and Carol Holloway
Irving Cummings as brother-in-law Mark Turner
Irving Cummings as brother-in-law Mark Turner
Irving Cummings in The Saphead
Irving Cummings in The Saphead
Ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange
Ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange
William H. Crane sees Beulah Booker in her wedding dress
William H. Crane sees Beulah Booker in her wedding dress
William H. Crane looks at his stock ticker
William H. Crane looks at his stock ticker