Day Dreams (partially lost Buster Keaton short; 1922)

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Daydreams poster.jpg

Theatrical poster for Day Dreams.

Status: Partially Lost

Day Dreams is a 1922 short film starring silent film star Buster Keaton, and co-starring Renée Adorée. It is notable for its story being written, uncredited, by Keaton's mentor Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.

Plot[edit | edit source]

A young man (Buster Keaton) wants to marry his girlfriend (Renée Adorée) but her father (Buster's real-life father, Joe Keaton) won't allow it unless he finds a successful job. The man leaves for the city in order to accomplish this goal, or die trying. He writes to his girl of his adventures, and she has day dreams about the high-paying, prosperous jobs she believes he's found for himself. However, the reality is much less glamorous every time; for example, she dreams of him being a big stage actor, but he is really only a background extra. After failing to find himself a decent job, he returns to the girl's home. The father earlier had offered him a gun to kill himself if the search didn't work out. The young man attempts suicide, but after managing to miss himself, the father kicks him out of the house.

Missing footage[edit | edit source]

In contrast to Buster Keaton's other short films at the time, Day Dreams was originally released as a three-reeler instead of a two-reeler[1]. Only two of the three reels have been found in a near-complete form, while a third reel has been partially found, with some scenes only surviving in production stills. Some versions of the film run around eighteen minutes, while other distributed versions made after new footage had been discovered run twenty-three minutes. Three to five minutes in total is believed to be lost.

Opening scene[edit | edit source]

According to "Day Dreams" and the Problems of Missing Film, a featurette produced by Kino International, an opening scene is currently lost. The scene depicts a delivery man approaching the home of the girl. He brings a bouquet of flowers, with a note from her previous, more successful boyfriend asking to take him back. In the most complete version of the film, the girl is shown wistfully smelling the flowers, before cutting to Buster picking petals off of a flower. No stills from this opening are known to exist.

Buster as a surgeon[edit | edit source]

In the first daydream sequence, Buster writes to his love that he has found work in a "sanatorium." The girl imagines him as a surgeon. In reality, he is working in a dog and cat hospital. This surgeon sequence is completely lost, though a production still is available and placed in lieu of the scene in some versions.

Buster as a Wall Street tycoon[edit | edit source]

In the second daydream sequence, Buster writes to the girl about finding work in the financial district, and that he's "cleaning up in a big way." The girl imagines him as a successful banker. In reality, he is a street cleaner on Wall Street. The tycoon sequence is completely lost, though a production still is available and placed in lieu of the scene in some versions.

Buster as a policeman and trial sequence[edit | edit source]

In the fourth daydream sequence, Buster writes that he has been "summoned to appear before a police assembly." The girl imagines him on the grandstand of a police parade. In reality, he has been arrested as a result of a police chase and accidental pickpocketing incident from the previous Roman soldier sequence. He appears before a judge but he manages to escape, leading to an epic thirty-six-officer chase through the streets of San Francisco. The footage of the police parade sequence and the courtroom sequence is completely lost, though a production still exists for each sequence and are placed in lieu of the scenes in some versions. The police chase sequence is also only partially found, being the most recently discovered footage.

Buster as mail[edit | edit source]

After the massive police chase, Buster decides to give up and go back home. Comically, he chooses to be shipped as mail, nestled in a mailbag, and is dropped off at the girl's house. The entire sequence before the mailman arrives at the girl's home is completely lost, though a production still is available and placed in lieu of the scene in some versions.

Joe Keaton kicking footage[edit | edit source]

At the end of the film, the father kicks Buster out of his house by literally kicking him in the behind, sending him flying through a glass window and off a balcony. Joe Keaton was known in vaudeville for performing a similar stunt with his son. While the build-up to the kick and the footage of Buster flying out of the house are available, the footage of the father actually kicking him appears to be lost. No stills of this footage are known to exist.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

The most complete version of Day Dreams available.
"Day Dreams" and the Problems of Missing Film, which details the film's production and missing footage.

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Listing on Silentera.com. Retrieved 2 May '22