Steamboat Bill, Jr.

USA 1928. Dirs: Charles Reisner, Buster Keaton. 70 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! Buster Keaton’s movie-making genius and comic derring-do were rarely on better display than in the sometimes-underrated Steamboat Bill, Jr., one of his finest achievements. The film has Buster as a dandyish college boy reunited with his gruff, burly father, a Mississippi riverboat captain disappointed by his diminutive son’s foppish ways. The striking technical polish and beautifully detailed depiction of small-town Southern life are characteristic of Keaton’s best work. One memorable comic scene — “peerless and much imitated” (Pauline Kael) — has Keaton hilariously trying on a series of hats. The spectacular cyclone climax, including the famous (and death-defying) falling-house stunt, is one of the great sequences in the Keaton canon. The movie, which lost money, was Keaton’s last independent feature; his production company was dissolved and he relinquished his creative freedom to sign with MGM. His career subsequently went into decline.


Steamboat Bill, Jr. screens in double bills with Peter Bogdanovich's new documentary The Great Buster and Buster Keaton's newly restored The General.



“It is a sublime vision of innocence being protected by comically benign forces.”

The Guardian | full review

“If your faith in humanity needs a little pick-me-up, there’s no better place to start.”

Time Out | full review

Show your “Film Club” badge at our 4:00 pm matinée screening of Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr. on Saturday, March 9 and receive a free kid-sized popcorn! For young people 13 and under. Click here for information on how to get your “Film Club” badge.