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Cops (Buster Keaton)


This is the Internet Archives copy of the Buster Keaton silent classsic, Cops to which I have added a music track.

Cops is a 1922 in film comedy short silent film about a young man (Buster Keaton) who accidentally gets on the bad side of the entire Los Angeles Police Department during a parade, and is chased all over town. It was written and directed by Edward F. Cline and Keaton.

Background and plot

This very Kafka-esque film was filmed during the rape-and-murder trial of Keaton's friend and mentor Fatty Arbuckle, a circumstance that may have influenced the short's tone of hopeless ensnarement. Even though the central character's intentions are good, he cannot win, no matter how inventively he tries. He gets into various scraps with police officers throughout the film. Eventually, he unwittingly throws a bomb into a police parade and ends up being chased by a horde of cops.
At the end of the film, Keaton's character locks up the cops in the police station. However, the girl he is trying to woo disapproves of his behavior and gives him the cold shoulder. Theore, he unlocks the police station and is immediately pulled in by the cops. The film ends with the title "The End" written on a tombstone with Keaton's pork pie hat propped on it.
One of Keaton's most iconic and brilliantly-constructed short films, Cops was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry in 1997.


  • Buster Keaton - The Young Man
  • Joe Roberts - Police Chief
  • Virginia Fox - Mayor's Daughter
  • Edward F. Cline - Hobo
  • Steve Murphy - Conman selling furniture (uncredited)

See also

  • Buster Keaton filmography
  • List of United States comedy films
  • 1922 in film

Category:1922 films
Category:United States National Film Registry films
Category:Films directed by Buster Keaton
Category:Films directed by Edward F. Cline
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:American silent short films
Category:American films
Category:1920s comedy films
Category:First National Pictures films

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