Buster Keaton In Transition --- Part 3
Buster Keaton appeared in his final foreign language versions of an American feature with 1931’s Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath, which was, incidentally, the most successful of his Metro releases up to that time. On this occasion, there would be no Spanish version, as there had been with Free and Easy and Doughboys, but there were both German and French editions. Being a more dialogue driven story, Buster would shoot much of it three separate times. The English language version of Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath was in production for fourteen days, from November 26 to December 12, 1930, plus six days for retakes. It was directed by Edward Sedgwick, and co-starred popular comedienne Charlotte Greenwood. The picture was released on February 28, 1931. Negative cost was $186,367, with domestic rentals of $476,000. Foreign was strong with $509,000, and the worldwide total was $985,000. The profit based on these figures alone was $306,632.
The German version of Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath was entitled Casanova Wider, and the negative cost was $47,079. Actor Edward Brophy, who also doubled as a unit production manager at MGM, directed both the German and French editions. The German was shot in twelve days, during April of 1931, and was shipped May 8, 1931. Since both foreign versions were filmed several months after completion of the English Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath, we can assume that most of the sets had to rebuilt for these (the French version, Buster Se Marie, was shot in eleven days during March of 1931, with a negative cost of $60,246, and was shipped April 22,1931). With the expense of the two foreign versions taken into account, the final profit for all versions of Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath would adjust down to $199,307.
The stills shown here represent all three languages. As before, note the negative numbers in the lower right corners. You’ll see the "Fr" for French, and the "Gr" for German. The English version is not designated as such, having only the production/negative number of 539, which is shared by all three. The other two displays show a typically attractive original ad designed by artists of the Fox Theatre chain, and the elaborate marquee display is that of the Carolina Theatre, in Greensboro, NC, which is still in successful operation to this day.