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The Navigator

USA 1924
produced by
Buster Keaton, Joseph M. Schenck (executive) for Buster Keaton Productions/MGM
directed by Buster Keaton, Donald Crisp
starring Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Noble Johnson, Clarence Burton, H.N. Clugston
written by Clyde Bruckman, Jean C. Haveu, Joseph A. Mitchell

silent

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.

Eventually, 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.

Recommended.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD