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cinemaspeak59

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

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This movie is a lot of fun, with great slapstick comedy.  Buster Keaton plays William Canfield Jr., aka Steamboat Bill, Jr., who returns home to Mississippi after a lengthy stay in Boston.  His father, Bill Sr., (Ernest Torrence) who is strict but loving, eagerly awaits his return, but is disappointed to find his son a tad too foppish, which Keaton plays to comedic heights with his brilliant trademark drollness.  He's a metrosexual before that term existed. If William is to take over as skipper of his father's creaky and battered boat, he must toughen up. Bad habits include William's fondness for a beret his father keeps removing, and William keeps putting back on, a move that drives his father nuts. I was laughing when Buster went to buy clothes befitting a he-man steamboat captain, and instead came out looking like a Nantucket yachtsman.  At this point, his father is ready to throw in the towel. 

Things get complicated when William forms a connection with Kitty (Marion Byron), the daughter of his father's rival, and enemy, J.J. King (Tom McGuire). Pompous J.J. owns a much nicer boat, and is rich enough to get William's dad thrown in prison.  No worries, though, William has baked a special cake to spring his father. The centerpiece is a hilarious sequence involving a cyclone. Buster's character has houses collapse around him, and is swept to and fro by the powerful gusts.  But in the end, as usual, he carries the day, saving lives, finding love, and above all, not compromising who he is.

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