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Steamboat Bill Jr. [Silent] [1928]

Director:Buster Keaton
Charles Reisner
Writer:Carl Harbaugh
Length:70 minutes
(1 hour 10 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Sorting Category:Comedy
IMDB Rating:7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:100%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: The unassuming son of a cantankerous riverboat captain comes to join his father's crew.

Reaction: Enjoyable. Classic Keaton.

Personal Rating: 7/10

Buster Keaton => Director / William Canfield Jr.
Charles Reisner => Director
Carl Harbaugh => Writer
Ernest Torrence => William 'Steamboat Bill' Canfield Sr.
James T. Mack => Minister (uncredited)
Marion Byron => Kitty King
Tom Lewis => Tom Carter, first mate
Tom McGuire => John James King

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • For reasons unknown, Buster Keaton did not receive a directing credit, although all involved in the film concur that he co-directed the film.
  • Marion Byron could not swim, so the scenes where her character is in the river with Buster Keaton were filmed with Buster's real-life sister Louise Keaton serving as Marion's stunt double. The two were both the same size - 4'11". The water was very cold and during a day of filming Buster and Louise consumed 4-5 glasses of French brandy to keep them warm.
  • This and The General are generally considered by critics to be Buster Keaton's last great films. Shortly after these two were made, the independent-minded Keaton made the mistake of signing a contract with MGM, whose regimented ways clashed with his scrupulous perfectionism. Five years after MGM hired him, it dropped his contract and Keaton drifted into obscurity, complicated by a severe drinking problem, from which he didn't emerge for many years.
  • During the hurricane sequence, there is a scene that pays homage to Buster Keaton's childhood on the vaudeville stage. One brief moment has a table move in the wind, apparently animating the dummy and turning its head to face Keaton. Keaton is startled and runs. This is based on a real experience from when he was a kid and became fascinated with a dummy named Red Top, who belonged to ventriloquist [?] Trovollo. The young Keaton had a "conversation" with the dummy and conspired to kidnap his new friend one night when the theater was empty. Trovollo, anticipating Keaton, slipped to his props offstage and when Keaton approached, brought Red Top to life, scaring Keaton out of the theater.
  • The hat that Buster Keaton quickly removes from his head and hands back to the clerk with a frown is Keaton's own trademark porkpie hat.
  • This movie was used as a model for Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse's first cartoon with sound.
  • The stunt where the wall falls on Buster Keaton was performed with an actual full-weight wall. Half the crew walked off the set rather than participate in a stunt that would have killed Keaton if he had been slightly off position. Keaton himself, told the previous day that his studio was being shut down, was so devastated that he didn't care if the wall crushed him or not.
  • Included among the {1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die}, edited by [?] Steven Jay Schneider.