Theatrical poster for Cops (1922)
|Directed by||Edward F. Cline
|Produced by||Joseph M. Schenck|
|Written by||Edward F. Cline
Edward F. Cline
|Edited by||Elgin Lessley|
|Distributed by||First National Pictures Inc.|
|Running time||18 minutes|
English (original intertitles)
Cops is a 1922 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. Therefore, 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)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cops (film).|
- The short film Cops is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Cops at the Internet Movie Database
- Cops at AllMovie
- Article at InDigest Magazine about the film recently being scored by guitarist Steve Kimock