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Rollo (Buster Keaton), son of a rich family who has never worked a
single day in his life, plans to marry Betsy (Kathryn McGuire) and has his
butler book two passages to Honolulu for their honeymoon. The thing Rollo
has not taken into account though was that his sweetheart might say no -
which she does of course. Never really having had to deal with rejection,
Rollo is overtaxed with the situation, and he decides to go on the
honeymoon anyhow - on his own. Somehow though, he gets onto the wrong
boat, the Navigator, an unmanned ship some enemy agents have decided to
unmoor to let it drift onto the open sea. Rollo is unaware of all that and
takes a cabin on the empty ship, and when he awakes the next morning, the
Navigator is already out on the open sea - and the only person aboard
other than Rollo is of all people Betsy. With neither of them having any
nautical experience (or even experience in the kitchen) the have all sorts
of problems getting settled on the Navigator, but finally, in their own
weird ways - and using all sorts of improvised apparati - they seem to be
able to arrange themselves with their desperate situation ... even if the
have not the first idea how to steer let alone start the ship.
the Navigator is approaching an island - which is unfortunately full of
cannibals. And (also unfortunately) it's right then and there that the
ship runs aground - and Rollo's attempts to free the ship in a diving suit
amount to nothing. The cannibals even take Betsy captive, but are
frightened away by Rollo in his diving suit - temporarily at least,
because when they see the feeble man hiding inside the mighty suit, they
attack in full force - and rather by chance, Rollo and Betsy are saved by
a submarine ...
Maybe not Buster Keaton's best, but still an
excellent film: Somehow, Keaton manages to pack as many gags as possible
into a minimal dramatic story, but what would have looked like nothing but
an episodic sequence of gags of the funny things that happen on a ship-variety
in the hands of another (lesser) director and comic results in a perfect
story-driven comedy with Buster Keaton on the whelm. Of course, the fact
that the gags are all exceptional and Keaton is the perfect man to bring
them to life (not only but also in terms of stunts) makes the film all the
better, as does his eye as a director and his perfect sense for pacing.