An unimpressive but well intending man is given the chance to marry a popular actress, of whom he has been a hopeless fan. But what he doesn't realize is that he is being used to make the actress' old flame jealous.
Rollo decides to marry his sweetheart Betsy and sail to Honolulu. When she rejects him he decides to go alone but boards the wrong ship, the "Navigator" owned by Betsy's father. Unaware of this, Betsy boards the ship to look for her father. whom spies capture before cutting the ship loose. It drifts out to sea with the two socialites each unaware of there being anyone else on board. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The ship in the movie was actually the USAT Buford, named after prominent Union Civil War cavalry officer and hero of Gettysburg Gen. John T. Buford. The ship had begun life as the S.S. Mississippi for the Atlantic Transport Line in 1890. It was later purchased and renamed by the US government in 1898 and became an army troop transport in the Spanish American War and in WW I. Its most notorious incarnation was as the "Soviet Ark" (or "Red Ark") when the ship was used to deport 249 political radicals and other "undesirable" aliens, among them the fiery anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, to the Russian SFSR in December, 1919, during the Palmer Raids of the first "Red Scare" period in the U.S. See more »
Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) is supposedly boiling eggs in a large pot, but he grips the edge of the pot, as well as a utensil that's been hanging inside the pot, without burning himself. See more »
Leader of a small gathering:
Gentlemen, the enemy have just purchased the steamship Navigator.
[Walks over to open the double doors, and gestures to a vessel outside]
Leader of a small gathering:
There she lies now, and it is our patriotic duty to destroy that ship. We will send her adrift in the fog tonight before the new crew goes aboard. The wind - the tide - and the rocks will do the rest.
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Buster Keaton does an admirable job as a well-meaning, but very sheltered rich playboy. He seems to have very little practical knowledge of the world or how to get by without servants and he uses these traits successfully in his humorous shenanigans. Differing from Charlie Chaplin's slapstick style of humor, Keaton's seems more physical there is a lot of falling, tripping, spilling of things, and general flopping about.
This movie seems to have had a sizable budget. There were scenes on a ship in the ocean, on a tropical beach, and underwater. There were also several props (swordfish, octopus, & submarine) that, if not terribly realistic, at least were not insultingly obvious.
The movie had no real camera movement, but there was at least one scene where the camera must have been on a boat alongside the ship and the boat moved with the actor as she ran down the ship's deck giving the impression of side-scrolling camera movement. There was also the previously mentioned underwater scene, which I was surprised to see in such an early movie, including a spliced in segment of a real octopus added as foreshadowing.
In, what I think was a progressive step forward, there was a brief scene depicting a seemingly wealthy African-American couple being chauffeured after getting married. Unfortunately, this was partially offset with the scores of barely clad African-American men used as gibbering, superstitious "cannibals".
Excepting one or two things, the movie was funny and really enjoyable - another gem from the era of silent movies.
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