Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)

Is it me or does that guy on the right look like he's hungry for brain?

Genre: Silent Comedy Family Romance

Starring: Buster Keaton (Seven Chances; Our Hospitality)

Directed By: Charles Reisner

Overview: An old sailor finds out his son is coming in from the big city to join up with his crew. He awaits eagerly until he lays eyes on the little frou-frou.

Acting: The father's role is quite amusing. He's the kind of character that tries to do right by his kin by teaching him his ways, but hates the son for being so foppish, yet is quite overprotective of him at the same time. The chemistry these two have is really great, not to mention the girl and her disapproving father. Just the right measure of over-the-top.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: I must say that I was disappointed, after having seen so many of his other works. The stunts in this one are really not what this movie is about. There's some impressive enough stuff, like the classic shot of Buster standing there while the side of a house falls on him (below), but overall, though professional, there wasn't any of the dazzling greatness that I've grown to expect.
Rating: 7

Script: "Here, shave this barnacle offa his lip." - Father taking his son to the barber.

It's a silent film, damnit, there's only so much bullshit I can fill this space with review after review. Leave me alone, Jesus!
Rating: 7

Plot: The story is pretty rich. Man meets son, boy meets girl, everyone hates everyone, huge storm hits, giving ample opportunity for heroics and consequent happy endings. Still it was definitely a little slow and shy of his earlier works.
Rating: 6

Mood: Comedy is funny. It makes you laugh. Cops getting punched in the belly is funny. Pigs getting locked up in their own cell is funny. It makes you laugh.
Storms are funny, houses falling all around you makes you laugh.
Rating: 7

"I know I left that wall around here somewhere..."

Overall Rating: 70% (Needs a Bit More Coal in the Fire)

Aftertaste: After everything's said and done, mocking gender roles has been around since the dawn of time. The little sissy boy from the city with the beret learns to 'be a man' by becoming a sailor and fighting the police. You know all these silent comics seem to make fun of police. It is because they know that we all secretly wish violence upon them, or is it just that committing violence upon a pig is more dangerous, hence more funny? I guess it doesn't matter, it's always funny.