Film: 8457

Feature Comedy | 1920 | Silent | B/W


Buster Keaton, happily married, builds a house 1920's

Because the numbers of the boxes are mixed up, the house looks very strange and has some interesting features, like turning into a merry-go-round during a storm. In the end Buster learns that he built the house on the wrong lot and he tries to move it, but he fails to cross railroad tracks.

A calendar: 'Today is Monday 9'. 'The wedding bells have such a sweet sound but such a sour echo.' A bell tolls. Buster and a girl, as bride and groom, walk down the church stairs. Some guests throw rice at them, then shoes. Buster picks up a pair, looks at his own, then takes the other pair with him. '"Handy Hank", the fellow she turned down.' Hank is a miserable and angry looking man. He sits in the driver's seat of a convertible car. Buster and the girl get into the car. 'Just married' is written on the door. The driver (Hank) gives a letter to Buster. Close-up: 'Dear Nephew, As a wedding present I am giving you a house and lot no. 99 Apple street. Wish you joy, Uncle Mike.' The convertible ('Good luck - You'll need it' written on the front) drives off. Buster, the girl and Hank in the car. Buster wants to kiss the girl. Hank turns and says something, grins. Buster is annoyed, puts his top hat on, leans back. Then takes it off, wants to kiss the girl again. Hank turns again, says something, grins. Buster and the girl are annoyed, Buster leans back. The car. Another one catches up and drives next to the convertible. The girl climbs out of the moving convertible and into the other car. Buster tries to do the same, but when he is in the middle, the cars drive a bit apart, so that Buster is standing with one foot on each of them. The gap increases, Buster tries to hold balance. A motorbike from the opposite direction passes between the cars, taking Buster with it in front of the driver. After about 50 yards the motorbike with driver and Buster falls down. Buster and the driver. The driver mounts the bike. Hank (driver of the convertible) climbs into the car next to him (with the girl inside). Both cars drive round a corner (the convertible without driver). Buster mounts the motorbike. He sits behind the driver. They drive off. A policeman. The motorbike arrives. Buster jumps off, takes the policeman's truncheon and hat from behind, then kicks his legs away. Buster, dressed as policeman, stops the arriving car (with Hank and the girl). He takes the hand of the girl, then knocks down the policeman (who had just recovered) with the truncheon. Hank and the driver of the car argue. Buster puts the truncheon in Hank's hands. The policeman gets up, spots Hank with his truncheon and tries to arrest him. Meanwhile Buster and his wife leave. They get into the driverless convertible (that at this very moment, driverless, rolls along) and drive off. Policeman, Hank and driver, arguing. Buster and the girl arrive at lot 99 (a small sign in the ground indicates this). Barrels and boxes stand around. A worker on a lorry tips over another box, it crashes down in front of Buster and the girl. The driver, shouting: 'Here's your house!' The lorry drives away. Buster and the girl tip the box on its side: 'Home - portable house comp.' An envelope: 'directions'. Buster opens it: 'Portable house company. Directions: To give this house a snappy appearance put it up according to the numbers on the boxes.' They start working.
The calendar: 'Today is Tuesday 10'. Buster sitting on the ceiling of the house (that is far from finished). The girl hands him a board. Buster puts it on the ceiling, sits on it and tries to saw. But it moves too much. So he nails it to the ceiling and sits down at the end of the board that reaches in the air. He saws. The girl, preparing food in an improvised kitchen on the lot. She shouts: 'Breakfast is ready!' and waves to Buster. Buster: 'I'll be right down!' He continues sawing. The board breaks and he falls down on the ground. The girl, shocked, runs to him. She kisses Buster who sits on the ground. Hank, annoyed, at the boxes. Suddenly, he has an idea and goes off. Buster about to continue working. But first another kiss. Hank, with brush and paint, at the boxes. He changes the numbers: '3' becomes '8' and '1' becomes '4'. He laughs and goes off.
Buster sits on top of a wall with two holes (windows) in it. He asks for a hammer. The girl sits in the lower frame and throws up the hammer. Buster catches it and starts hammering. Suddenly the wall, being symmetrical and only fixed on its horizontal middle axis, tips over doing a half turn. Buster now is standing on the ground and the girl is clinging at the top edge. Buster, on the ground, surprised, looks around and calls for the girl. He goes away a few steps, and the wall falls down on him - Buster is standing in the upper window frame, unhurt, but puzzled. (The girl seems to be vanished).
The calendar: 'Today is Wednesday 11' The 'finished' house. It is totally out of shape (because of the changed numbers). The roof is too small, the window and the veranda oblique. Buster scratches his head and points at the house. The girl, with brush and paint, waves for him. She paints two hearts and an arrow at the wall. Buster kisses her and stumbles off. The girl is happy. Another side of the house. The kitchen sink and some pans are hanging at the outside. Buster hammers at the sink, then enters the house: The sink and the wall can be used as a revolving door. A worker carrying a piano on his shoulder arrives on the lot. Buster puts a ladder out of a window and slides down removing all the steps. He drops the two remaining poles and goes to the man with the piano. He wants to take the piano, but it is too heavy. He falls down, the piano burying him. The worker wants him to sign a receipt, looks for him, walks round the piano, finds him under the piano, lifts it with one hand. Buster signs the receipt. The worker drops the piano again (on Buster) and wants to leave. But then he helps Buster; he puts up first the piano and then Buster. Then he leaves. (Buster seems to insult him, because the man turns shortly and Buster runs away). At the house: the girl hands Buster a long rope. She ties one end around the piano, while Buster takes out a piece of the wall and enters, carrying the rope. Inside: He climbs up a pole, clings to the chandelier and twists the rope around it. Hank, with a bucket, enters the house, climbs the stairs and sits down on a chair. Buster, using the top of the chandelier as a pulley, pulls the rope. He pulls down the ceiling. Hank on his chair sitting in the centre. Hank doesn't notice. Buster, pulling. Hank jumps up, puzzled, throws the chair away. Buster lets the rope go, the ceiling works as a trampoline, and Hank flies in the air. The roof. Hank's head crashes through it, blowing away the bricks. Hank screams. Buster. Hank's head, looking out of the roof, screaming. Buster looking around: who is screaming? The house, Hank's head in the roof, and Buster standing outside. He spots Hank, takes the parapet of the veranda that turns out to be a ladder, and climbs up (with a pole). Hank's head, screaming. Buster next to him. He puts the pole under Hank's chin and tries to lift the head by using the pole as a lever. The pole twists. Buster looks at the pole and throws it away, annoyed. He hits Hank, and the head disappears. Buster is puzzled. The girl, on the ground, calling. Buster climbs down the ladder. The ladder threatens to tip over, Buster climbs the other side while the ladder is in the air, the ladder falls back against the wall, and Buster climbs down. The girl kisses him, then pushes him around, angrily. In the house. They argue. Buster gets caught in the rope and nearly strangles himself. The girl stamps with her foot, hurts it and jumps off. Buster supports the ceiling with a board. He pulls the rope. The piano tips over. Buster turns a somersault. He pulls again. The piano 'flies' into the house and nearly knocks Buster against the wall, then swings from the ceiling. Buster tries to lower it cautiously, but it crashes into the floor. The girl, with sheet music. Buster takes the sheets and puts them on the piano crashed in the ground. The sheet: 'The End of a Perfect Day. Words and music by…'
Thursday 12. Buster in the living-room. He puts a large rolled carpet on the floor, takes off his jacket and puts it on the floor, then nails one edge of the carpet to the floor. The girl, opening a milk bottle. The milk splashes in her face. Buster finishes nailing the carpet to the floor. He looks at his work and notices that his jacket is underneath the carpet. He throws away the hammer, takes out a knife and cuts a square in the carpet around his jacket. He takes his jacket and puts a runner on the hole in the carpet. He put the piece of the carpet on the foot of the stairs, writes upside down 'Welcome' on the piece; then turns the piece. The girl, having a bath. Buster, carrying a chimney, tries to climb the ladder. He puts it on his head, doesn't see anything anymore, stumbles around, falls down on the veranda. The girl, bathing. Buster climbs the ladder, the chimney on his head. The girl. The soap falls to the floor. She wants to get it, but then notices the camera. She is shocked. A hand covers the lens. When the hand uncovers it, the girl has taken the soap, continuing her bath. She smiles to the camera. Buster on the roof, with the chimney. He puts it over his body and tries to climb down the roof, to the corresponding hole. He slides into the hole; the chimney is in its proper position, but Buster falls down and lands in the bath. The girl, in the shower, shouting at him. Buster, embarrassed, leaves by the door that turns out to be a window as the bath is in the first floor. Buster falls to the ground, whirling up lots of dust.
'Today is Friday 13'. - 'The House-Warming.' A party in the living-room. They all sit at a table, Buster brings a dish. Hank stands up to get it, Buster draws away the chair, and Hank falls to the ground. He chases Buster. Up the stairs, into the bath. Buster opens the door or window, steps aside, and Hank runs out, falls to the ground, runs on and crashes into the fence. Buster in the bath. He shows the bedroom to some people, then stretches out his hand. Water? The roof: A lot of water pouring through. Buster, wet. He opens an umbrella, talks vividly. Suddenly the water stops. Buster, with umbrella, walks through the kitchen. The curtains move in the wind. Buster steps outside. The umbrella is blown away. The house moves. Buster wants to go in and hits the wall. He is puzzled, looks the other way. The house moves again. Buster tries to get in and hits the wall again. Then he notices the house moving and tries to hold it, in vain. The house, turning like a merry-go-round, Buster clinging to it and trying to stop it. Inside: the guests are thrown from one wall to the next. Outside. Buster standing in front of the moving house. He tries to find the right moment to go through the door, but hits the wall. He runs over the veranda, hits the wall again. Inside, the guests. Outside, Buster, running over the veranda and hitting the wall. The guests. Buster, finally, gets in. He stumbles from one wall to the next and is thrown out again. The girl, spinning on the piano stool. She is thrown out of the house, lands next to Buster. They embrace. By and by all the guests are thrown out, most of them hitting Buster. Finally they are all standing outside in the storm, looking at the spinning house. A guest shakes Buster's hand: 'I've had a lovely afternoon on your merry-go-round. It'll be better if you put in your hobby-horses.' Buster, saying good-bye. A box is blown into his hands, he puts it down and he and the girl sit down. He finds a horse shoe and throws it away. They both are sad.
The calendar: 'Today is Saturday 14'. 'And after the storm'. Buster and the girl sit sleeping in front of the ruined house. They wake and get up, turn and see the house. They are shocked and sit down again. The girl: 'Now look at the darned thing!' Buster: 'I guess it's not used to the climate.' He comforts her. A man arrives, carrying the sign of the lot: '99'. He turns it: '66'. 'You're on the wrong lot. Yours is across the railroad track.' The girl screams and sits on the box, Buster tries to comfort her. Then he has an idea. The girl goes to the car. Buster gets a hammer out of his trousers and removes a few planks of the house at the bottom, near the veranda. The girl takes a tiny jack and tries to lift the house. Buster gets a barrel and rolls it in the hole he made (in the house).
'Today is Sunday 15'. Buster in the car, pulling the house that is put on barrels. Slowly they move forward, approach the railroad. On the tracks the house stops. The girl tries to push, in vain. The rope between car and house breaks, Buster moves on a few yards, then realizes, swears and drives back. He drives the car against the house and nails the back seat to the house. The girl, shouting. Buster presses the pedal; the lower part of the car drives off; the steering wheel and Buster remain where they were before. Buster looks at the steering wheel and throws it to the ground. He goes to the girl who still tries to push the house away, watches her a while. Then he points at his broken car and explains what happened. A steam locomotive and railway train approach. It toots. Buster and the girl, hearing the tooting. They look at their feet: the tracks! They jump away. They see the train coming, try to push the house from the tracks. The train comes closer. They run at the side and cover ears and faces with their hands. The train passes the house on the track next to where it is standing, without destroying it. Buster and the girl, happy. Suddenly a train from the opposite direction approaches and destroys the house, running through it. Buster and the girl fall to the ground, horrified. Buster puts up a sign: 'For Sale', puts the envelope ('directions') underneath, and they walk away on the tracks, hand in hand.

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