Buster Keaton at his very best, with his trademark stoic, deadpan expressions that earned him the nickname The Great Stone Face . The General. Consistently ranked among the greatest films ever made.
THE GENERAL is so brilliantly conceived and executed that it continues to inspire awe and laughter with every viewing. Rejected by the Confederate army as unfit, and taken for a coward by his beloved Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack), young Johnny Gray (Keaton) is given a chance to redeem himself when Yankee spies steal his cherished locomotive. Johnny wages a one-man war against hijackers, an errant cannon and the unpredictable hand of fate while roaring along the iron rails. Steamboat Bill Jr. The last of the independent features made in the prime of Buster Keaton s career.
STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. is a large-scale follow-up to The General. Keaton stars as William Canfield, Jr., a Boston collegian who returns to his deep-southern roots to reunite with his father, a crusty riverboat captain (Ernest Torrence) who is engaged in a bitter rivalry with a riverboat king coincidentally, the father of Willies sweetheart (Marion Byron). Keaton s athleticism and gift for inventive visual humor are in top form, and the cyclone that devastates a town (and sends houses literally crashing down around him) is perhaps the most ambitious, awe-inspiring and hilarious slapstick sequence ever created.
THE NAVIGATOR. In a return to the pampered youth role he had played in The Saphead (and would return to in Battling Butler), Keaton stars as Rollo Treadway, an inexperienced lad of extraordinary wealth and surprisingly little common sense, who finds himself adrift on The Navigator with no one else on board except an equally naive girl (Kathryn McGuire). After discovering each other s presence in an ingenious ballet of unintentional hide-and-seek, the couple resourcefully fashion a home for themselves aboard the derelict boat, in spite of their unfamiliarity with the tools of domesticity. They then embark on a series of misadventures on the ocean floor (where Rollo in a diving suit must parry the attacks of an aggressive swordfish) and upon the high seas, surrounded by a fleet of menacing cannibals, where the film reaches its explosively funny climax, with the aid of a crate of rocket flares.
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