His Ex Marks the Spot

Length: Two reels
Release date: December 13, 1940
A Columbia Pictures Production
Producer: Jules White
Director: Jules White
Script: Felix Adler
Photography: Benjamin Kline

Buster Keaton: The Husband
Dorothy Appleby: His Wife
Elsie Ames: His Ex-Wife
Matt McHugh: Ex-Wife's Boyfriend

Buster’s home life is in trouble. Ex-wife Elsie keeps charging him for alimony money and forces creditors to dispossess him and his new wife of their possessions. Buster gets an idea to have Elsie and her boyfriend Radcliffe move into his apartment in an effort to stop the alimony charges, but it doesn’t work out well. They keep getting into fights over food and luggage, and Buster’s new wife begins to regret the decision when she can take no more of their behavior (a.k.a. she throws a pie in Buster’s face while Elsie and Radcliffe laugh).

That night, Elsie and Radcliffe’s annoying behavior keep them up, and by the next morning, Buster’s new wife has had enough. Buster thinks he can get Elsie to stop pestering him over alimony by getting her to marry Radcliffe. Elsie and the wife get into a fight just as Buster tries to see his lawyer. Buster hears the ruckus and winds up fighting Radcliffe, with Buster knocking him out. Buster’s new wife forces Elsie to marry Radcliffe via a short-order judge. Buster says he regrets that Elsie is leaving, and his wife shoots him as he makes a dive out the window. — Nick Ciccone