Lupita Tovar nearly drowned in an accident on the set when she fell into the water. Seeing this, Buster Keaton jumped in to rescue her, but instead began to struggle as well. One of the crew members had to dive in and save them both. See more »
... as this is one of the few bad films Keaton ever did. After being fired from MGM at the height of the Great Depression, Keaton easily found roles in shorts such as those he did at Educational Pictures, but starring roles were hard to come by. Partly this was because of the Depression itself, partly it was because Keaton was still seen as a silent star, but some of the problem was with the fact that Keaton had a problem with alcohol that was almost suicidal during the early and mid 30's. When this film was made his illness was at its height.
The producer, Sam Spiegel, made some great films in the 1950's. In 1934, however, he was under-financed, inexperienced, and basically did not know what he was doing. There simply was not enough story to fill up a feature length film. Thus we have painfully prolonged scenes such as Lupita Tovar's dance scene at the club near the beginning of the film. Are there funny moments by Buster here? Sure there are, mainly because although Buster did not get writing credit, the story was his own. There's still not enough good material to make up for sitting through all of the padding. To see a recovered Keaton do his best material from this prolonged film in a more appropriate 20 minute short, see the Columbia short "Pest From the West". Both this film and that short are available on DVD.
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