Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Live Piano Accompaniment by Yakov Gubanov
Screening on Film
Directed by Buster Keaton and Charles F. Reisner.
With Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron .
US, 1928, 35mm, black & white, silent, 71 min.

One of Keaton’s finest comedies, Steamboat Bill, Jr. casts Buster as a city-bred boy who returns to the deep South and to his steamboat-captain father, whom he reluctantly joins in fighting a rival trying to take over the river. Keaton’s trademark combination of emotional restraint and outrageous athletic gags is in full display here, particularly in the film’s classic cyclone finale. Writing in the Village Voice, Jim Hoberman described Steamboat Bill, Jr. as Keaton’s "most entertaining balance of the instinctual and the cerebral in a tale of father worship, young love, abject humiliation and heroic redemption."

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: S–T