ProducerJoseph M. Schenck Duration CountryUnited Sttates
CastBuster Keaton (Young man / Jeune homme), Joe Roberts (Police Chief / Chef de police), Virginia Fox (Mayor's Daughter / Fille du Maire), Edward F. Cline (Hobo / Vagabond), Steve Murphy (Conman Selling Furniture) LanguageSilent film
English (original intertitles) DirectorEdward F. Cline
Buster Keaton WriterEdward F. Cline, Buster Keaton Release dateMarch 1922 (1922-03) DirectorsBuster Keaton, Edward F. Cline ScreenplayBuster Keaton, Edward F. Cline Similar moviesPaperman, Feast, The Ballad of Nessie, The Pointer, Tugboat Mickey, Mickey's Delayed Date
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.
This very Kafka-esque film was filmed during the rape-and-murder trial of 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)