Guarding a man from danger and killing him at the same time is SOME job.
"The High Sign" (1921) follows a drifter (Buster Keaton
) whose audition a shooting gallery leads to his recruitment as both a hit man and the bodyguard of the intended victim. Hilarity Ensues
"The High Sign" provides examples of:
- Accidental Aiming Skills: Arguably. Buster can shoot a bottle off a wall — just never the one he's aiming at.
- Alliterative Name: The Blinking Buzzards
...a bold bad bunch of blood-thirsty bandits who would break into a bank, blow a battle-ship to bits or beat up a blue eyed baby blonde.
- Aside Glance
- Ballistic Discount: A shooting gallery customer holds Buster at gunpoint and makes off with the profits.
- Banana Peel — first averted, then immediately done straight.
- Blackmail: Extortion, actually, but there's no page for that.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Subverted.
- Bookcase Passage
- Brick Joke: The banana in the gun holster.
- The Butler Did It
- Contract on the Hitman
- The Door Slams You
- The Dulcinea Effect
- Explosive Cigar
- Failed a Spot Check: Buster and the Nickelnursers don't notice the Blinking Buzzards entering the house.
- Faking the Dead
- Five-Finger Discount: How Buster acquires a newspaper and a revolver.
- Gun Twirling
- The Gunslinger: Subverted.
- Hobos: Buster, presumably, since he makes his entrance being thrown off a train.
- Irony: The man whose newspaper Buster stole unknowingly buys it back from him.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Buster, at least initially.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Subverted and played straight — Buster has to fake amazing marksmanship at the shooting gallery, but manages to toss his hat onto a rack in the next room without looking.
- Incredibly Lame Pun
From a ransom demand to August Nickelnurder: Now, August, unless you come across today, the first of September will be the last of August
- Large and in Charge: See picture. (Buster reportedly stood 5-1/2 feet tall).
- Literal Ass Kicking
- Magic Bullets: Or in this case, magic pellets — one shooting gallery customer uses his own double-barreled shotgun and wipes out the entire gallery with one shot.
- Neon Sign Hideout: See picture.
- Nose Tapping: The Blinking Buzzards' "secret" signal.
- Painted Tunnel, Real Train
- Buster appears to paint a hook on the wall and then hang his hat upon it.
- Buster dives through a seascape that conceals a secret passage.
- Paper-Thin Disguise
- Playing Both Sides
- Portrait Painting Peephole: The entrance to the Blinking Buzzards' headquarters.
- Punny Name
- "Dr. Pullem, Dentist"
- August Nickelnurser, an elderly miser.
- Shot in the Ass
- Trap Door
- Visual Pun: After sipping some spiked or poisoned tea, Buster looks into the cup and sees a kicking mule. So, a drink with some kick.