“Steamboat Bill, Jr.” is a silent comedy film from 1928, directed by Charles Reisner and starring Buster Keaton. The story takes place in a small Mississippi town, where William “Steamboat Bill” Canfield (Ernest Torrence), a gruff and tough riverboat captain, runs a struggling business. He hopes that his son, also named William (Buster Keaton), will come and help him out.
When William Jr. arrives, his father is disappointed to find that he is a weak and effeminate young man who dresses in the latest fashion and plays the ukulele. Despite his father’s disapproval, William Jr. falls in love with Kitty (Marion Byron), the daughter of Steamboat Bill’s rival, the wealthy and successful J.J. King (Tom McGuire).
As a hurricane approaches, the tension between the two families escalates. William Jr. and Kitty get caught in the middle of the chaos, and William Jr. must prove his worth and courage to both his father and Kitty’s father. The film culminates in a thrilling and iconic sequence in which Keaton’s character, caught in the middle of the hurricane, survives by narrowly avoiding a falling building facade, which he passes through a window frame.
Overall, “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” is a classic comedy film that showcases Buster Keaton’s talent for physical humor and his ability to create hilarious and inventive gags. The film is also notable for its impressive stunt work and special effects, which were groundbreaking for their time.
Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton, Tom McGuire, Ernest Torrence