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Navigator
     

The Navigator

5.0 1
Director: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Fred Vroom

Cast: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Fred Vroom

 

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At the request of his star Buster Keaton, producer Joseph M. Schenck purchased an obsolete ocean liner for $20,000. Keaton wanted to use the boat as a "prop" in his upcoming feature comedy, but went into production with nary a plot idea in his head. Eventually, Buster and his chief gagman Clyde Bruckman came up with a story involving two wealthy, pampered young people

Overview

At the request of his star Buster Keaton, producer Joseph M. Schenck purchased an obsolete ocean liner for $20,000. Keaton wanted to use the boat as a "prop" in his upcoming feature comedy, but went into production with nary a plot idea in his head. Eventually, Buster and his chief gagman Clyde Bruckman came up with a story involving two wealthy, pampered young people (played by Keaton and Kathryn McGuire), who through a series of fantastic but logical plot convolutions end up stranded together on a drifting, deserted ocean liner. At first, the young couple is helpless because they've never had to lift a finger in their lives. As the weeks pass, Keaton and McGuire become quite adept at fending for themselves, utilizing the huge facilities of the liner (its steam room, its enormous kitchen) for the simplest and most basic of necessities. An attack by a cannibal tribe requires Keaton to be more resourceful than ever; the build-up to the climactic contretemps between Keaton and the cannibals is almost as side-splitting as the climax itself. While the film is rife with some of Buster Keaton's most elaborate gags, he scores equally well with smaller, more intimate comedy bits, notably his losing battle with a deck chair and his attempt to shuffle a waterlogged deck of cards. Reasoning that the comedy in The Navigator would work best if built upon an utterly serious storyline, Keaton hired actor/director Donald Crisp to handle the "straight" scenes. Alas, as Keaton would later recall, the constitutionally humorless Crisp "turned gagman on us," resulting in miles of wasted footage. Thus, pay no attention to the "official" directorial credits: Buster Keaton alone is responsible for the helming of The Navigator. Joe Schenck's initial 20 grand investment proved sagacious when Navigator ended up as Buster Keaton's most profitable silent feature film.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
Among the great silent-era comedians, history has been much kinder to Buster Keaton than it has been to his peers such as Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd. Part of that lies in the bestowment of the genius label that Chaplin accepted quite a bit too earnestly in his lifetime and, while it is certainly merited, it has the side-effect of playing up the genius of Keaton as well, who relied on his films rather than self-promotion to lay his claim. Keaton's success lay in his never-breaking deadpan expression and the sincerity that his characters always seemed to have, regardless of the situations they found themselves in. The Navigator, while not remembered with the same reverence as his later classic The General, nevertheless is an excellent example of the Keaton magic at work. The premise is fairly simple. Keaton and Kathryn McGuire are stranded alone on a 500-foot yacht and must learn to co-exist with each other in the middle of the high seas. There are, naturally, dozens of non-stop laughs, many involving Keaton's unique brand of physical humor. Of particular merit is the scene where he tries towing the yacht from a small dinghy and the scene where he is adorned in a deep-sea diving helmet, forgetting that he is smoking a cigarette and thus cutting off his air. The film also pokes fun at the idle rich, as both Keaton and McGuire's characters are established as spoiled members of that class. One reason the film holds up so well, as do most of Keaton's films, is that even when he establishes himself as a figure to be ridiculed or held up in scorn, he's just so darn likable. Hopefully viewers for many generations to come will make the same realization.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/04/2012
UPC:
0738329103828
Original Release:
1924
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kino Video
Sound:
[silent]
Time:
1:00:00
Sales rank:
43,801

Special Features

Music arranged and composed by Robert Israel Featurette, Written by Film Historian Bruce Lawton, about the making of The Navigator and Keaton's fascination with boats as sources of comedy Audio Commentary by silent film historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan Photo Gallery

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Navigator
1. Chapter 1 [:09]
2. Tricks Of Fate [6:49]
3. Brideless Honeymoon [3:15]
4. Drifting at Sea [9:47]
5. S.O.S [5:52]
6. Bedtime Fright [5:00]
7. All Wet [3:21]
8. Sinking Ship [7:24]
9. Underwater Repairman [5:42]
10. Captured [4:45]
11. Under Siege [7:49]

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The Navigator 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago