Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
Director: Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton (uncredited)
Writer: Carl Harbaugh
Stars: Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron and Joe Keaton.
Tagline: What a thrill! Worth the price of admission alone to see what happened to Buster when the twister hit the town.
William “Steamboat Bill” Canfield is a big, rugged man’s man. Bill owns and operates the Stonewall Jackson which is an old paddlewheel tourist ship. J. J. King, a rich business man, has brought in a new steamer and plans to put Steamboat Bill out of business.
Bill’s son (who he hasn’t seen in years) just graduated college and has arrived for a visit. Steamboat Bill is shocked to discover his son is small, awkward and wimpy. Bill Sr. is determined to make a man out of his son. To complicate matters, Bill Jr. has a budding romance with Kitty, who has also returned from college. The rub is Kitty is J.J. King’s daughter!
Let the good times sail!
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)
Steamboat Bill, Jr. is considered a classic. It’s in the National Film Registry.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. features one of the most famous and copied stunts of all time. If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably seen a clip of the stunt. As a tornado hits the town, Keaton is standing in the street. The front of an entire house falls down on Keaton. Luckily, the upstairs window is open and Keaton fits through perfectly. Many movies and television shows have recreated this stunt, but Keaton was the first!
Steamboat Bill, Jr. was also the inspiration for Mickey Mouse’s debut in Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie!
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) rates 5 of 5 stars.