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.


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

 

REVIEWS

“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


JUNIOR CINEPHILES!
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.