7.7/10
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32 user 7 critic

Cops (1922)

Unrated | | Short, Comedy, Family | 11 March 1922 (USA)
A series of mishaps manages to make a young man get chased by a big city's entire police force.

Directors:

(as Eddie Cline), (as 'Buster' Keaton)

Writers:

(as 'Buster' Keaton), (as Eddie Cline)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Young Man (as 'Buster' Keaton)
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Storyline

Through a series of mistaken identities Buster winds up with a load of furniture in the middle of parade of policemen. An anarchist's bomb lands in his carriage. After lighting his cigarette with it, he tosses it into the ranks of police. When it explodes the police chase him all over town. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Family

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

11 March 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buster et les flics  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Buster Keaton lights his cigarette from the lit fuse of the anarchist's bomb is, knowingly or not, mirroring the darkest day in Harold Lloyd's life. On 24 August 1919 he was posing for gag photographs at the Witzel Studios. He thought it would be funny to light a cigarette from the fuse of a prop anarchist's bomb. Unfortunately the bomb proved to be real, it blew up and he lost his right thumb, index finger and 30% of his palm which forced him to wear a rubber prosthetic during performances ever since. In addition, he was completely blind for three months and half blind for another three. See more »

Quotes

Mayor's Daughter: I won't marry you until you become a big business man.
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Crazy Credits

The "THE END" text appears on a tombstone, which has Keaton's signature pork pie hat on top. See more »

Connections

Edited into When Comedy Was King (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Get some cops to protect our policeman"
26 May 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Lying in bed with a sore throat, I needed some cheering up. Buster Keaton didn't let me down. 'Cops (1922)' is generally typical of the comedian's two-reelers of the early 1920s, though with a lesser emphasis on the ingenious gadgets exhibited in 'One Week (1920)' and 'The High Sign (1921).' The film opens with Keaton apparently looking through prison bars at his sweetheart, until a clarifying shot reveals that it is merely the girl's front gate {Harold Lloyd seized this visual gag for the opening of 'Safety Last! (1923),' but he had a right to it – one scene in Keaton's film, whether unintentionally or not, resembles the manner in which a prop explosion decapitated Lloyd's hand in 1919}. After convincing himself to become a businessman, Keaton's Young Man goes on to show that he has the worst luck in the world. First, he is bamboozled into purchasing another family's furniture (by Steve Murphy, the pickpocket in Chaplin's 'The Circus (1928)'), and then gets caught up in a police parade, where, ever a victim of circumstance, he is wrongly accused of performing an act of terrorism.

Keaton loved ending his film's with an overblown chase sequence, whether it be the stampeding cattle in 'Go West (1925)' or the stampeding women in 'Seven Chances (1925).' In 'Cops,' our hero is pursued by hundreds of uniformed policemen, swinging batons and tripping over themselves. Here, Keaton really earns his title as the "Great Stone Face." The chaos and confusion of the pursuit is amusing enough, but even more so is Keaton's extraordinary lack of facial expression – he just runs, staring blankly ahead, like a man who expects his problems to dissipate as soon as he wakes up. Also incredible is the performer's physical dexterity, as he flips back and forth over a tall ladder balanced precariously on either side of a fence. Also watch out for Keaton regular Joe Roberts as the Police Chief, and recurring co-star Virginia Fox in a disappointingly brief role as our hero's love interest. Even an aching throat can't dampen the chuckles in this excellent comedy short. If laughter is, indeed, the best medicine, then I should be better by the morning.


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