Friday, May 4, 2012

Steamboat Bill, Jr (1928)

Seen: On my tv, streamed from netflix instant.

I'm really glad netflix has several Buster Keaton films on instant, since it's encouraging me to finally see his films. And coincidentally the artist I've been doing a paper on is actually obsessed with Keaton and has written about him and made a film about him. So that's nice! Steamboat Bill, Jr places our star in the title role, a refined college student who visits his rough steamboat captain father (Ernest Torrence) after many years apart. Dad is disappointed in his small, somewhat effeminate son and tries to teach him the manly ways of steamboating, while trying to save his business from his mean competitor (Tom McGuire)- who happens to be the father of Junior's love interest (Marion Byron). Jokes happen, and then there's a huge ass storm.

I'll admit I didn't get into this one at first, for whatever reason it just took a while to reel me in. I wasn't into the story or jokes at the beginning, they seemed sort of dragged-out- like the carnation scene went on too long, as did the hat changing scene. BUT THEN there's this part where Keaton tries to sneak off and see his girlfriend and he has to keep pretending to sleep when his dad walks in, and he falls flat "asleep" on a plank in the middle of crossing over to the bad guy's boat and it's just hilarious, and I was hooked. His character is just really silly and has some adorable affectations, and as the film goes to the jailbreak scene and the fantastic final sequence with the big storm, it gets better and better. The effects and gags at the climax are amazing, both technically and comedically.

I guess that's all I have to say. This movie starts off slow but gets better and better as it goes on. Aaaaand I liked it. Yeah. Remarkable analytical critique, I know.

4/5

Pair This Movie With: Aw gee I guess more of Keaton's films! I've only seen this and Sherlock Jr so far. Will do The General once I get my hands on the blu-ray. And College since I like the dvd cover.

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