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Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Cast: Buster Keaton, Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence, more...
Director: Charles "Chuck" Riesner, Charles "Chuck" Riesner, Buster Keaton
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Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Comedies, Classic Comedy, Slapstick, Classic Comedy, Silent, Silent Comedies, Silent Comedy
Running Time: 111 min.
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Not the best of Buster Keaton's silents, Steamboat Bill Jr. nonetheless contains some of Keaton's best and most spectacular sight gags. Keaton plays the namby-pamby son of rough-and-tumble steamboat captain Ernest Torrence. When he's not trying to make a man out of his boy, Torrence is carrying on a feud with Tom McGuire, the wealthy owner of a fancy new ferryboat. McGuire has a pretty daughter, Marion Byron, with whom Keaton falls in love. The two younger folks try to patch up the feud, but this seems impossible once Torrence is jailed for punching out McGuire. Keaton tries ineptly to bust his dad out of jail, only to wind up in the hospital while trying to escape the Law. As Keaton lies unconscious in bed, a huge cyclone hits town, knocking down tall buildings like kindling. Upon awakening, Keaton does his best to remain standing as the winds buffet him about. He takes refuge in a tree, which is promptly uprooted and blown towards the waterfront. Here is where Keaton proves his manhood--and ends the feud between Torrence and McGuire--by rescuing practically everyone in the cast from a watery grave. Steamboat Bill Jr. would be memorable if only for one eye-popping (and dangerously real) sight gag: As the cyclone rages, the facade of a three-story building collapses upon Keaton--who is saved only because the upstairs window has been left open! ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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