Sight and Sound - 08/01/2010
"[T]he film is still clearly the work of a master, and the temperance of the storytelling is more than classical -- it's novelistic, favouring ambience and character over what-happens-next."
New York Times - 07/01/2010
"A lot of things come down during the climax of STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., including most of the Mississippi river town (actually Sacramento) where the story is set. Struck by a cyclone, the building around Keaton collapse or are torn away, yet he remains strangely unmoved..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Flavored with Americana and loaded with cinematic inventiveness, Steamboat Bill, Jr. was Buster Keaton's final independent production before joining MGM (where his work suffered a steady decline in quality), a comic masterpiece that represents the full breath of its maker's remarkable talents.
Set on the Mississippi River, Steamboat Bill, Jr. follows the adventures of a spoiled young man who is forced by his crusty father (Ernest Torrence) to learn riverboating. Over the course of the narrative, the scale of comedy gradually expands, from small-scale, nostalgic humor (as when Bill Sr. outfits his son with a new wardrobe) to some of the most elaborate sight gags of Keaton's career. Junior's attempts to single-handedly pilot the rag-tag "Stonewall Jackson" recall the mechanical brilliance of The General and The Navigator, but the films crowning achievement is its hurricane climax. Highlighted by remarkable special effects (including the destruction of full-size structures), it includes the legendary stunt in which the front of a building collapses over Junior, who passes unharmed through an open window.
Surprisingly dark yet wickedly funny,
Convict 13 combines gallows humor with rapid-fire slapstick as Buster struggles for survival within (and escape from) prison walls. In Kino's carefully-reconstructed print of Daydreams, Buster tries to establish himself in a profession -- from veterinary assistant to street-sweeper to actor -- and, in one of his most cleverly staged chases, is pursued by a herd of New York City "bulls."
In STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., Buster Keaton plays the mild-mannered son of a steamboat captain caught in the middle of the bitter rivalry between his father and another Mississippi riverboat owner. This silent classic contains the famous stunt in which a cyclone blows down a two-story wall over Keaton who passes unharmed through an open window.
Buster, the Athlete
Movie Lover: Patrick Lyman from
Brick, NJ US -- November, 27, 2007
This is my favorite Buster Keaton Movie. While it may not strike you as an amazing film at first, hang on: just wait until the wind picks up. The scene where a house falls apart in front of him and barely misses crushing him is exactly what it appears to be. He literally risked his life to get that shot. And the athletic performance that follows wears me out just watching it.