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The Railrodder (1965)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  2 October 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 600 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 6 critic

After literally walking to Canada from England, Buster takes a cross-country trip across Canada on a railway motorcar (speeder).


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Credited cast:
The Man


After reading an newspaper advertisement in the London Times about touring Canada, an elderly Englishman decides to do just that. Following his long walk across the Atlantic Ocean, Keaton travels along the Canadian National Railway tracks on a railway motorcar (speeder), performing a few stunts reminiscent of those in his younger days. Written by Jennifer Harrison

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Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

2 October 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Railrodder  »

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Did You Know?


The gag with Keaton unraveling a newspaper while negotiating a steep bridge is a re-working of a similar gag from Keaton's silent short "The High Sign." Director Gerald Potterton argued with Keaton over the danger of the gag, but eventually Keaton did it his own way with no problems. See more »


Referenced in Buster Keaton Rides Again (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

The last great silent film was made in 1965!
13 June 2004 | by (Calgary, Canada) – See all my reviews

The history books tell us that the death knell for silent films was sounded with The Jazz Singer in 1927, and that, with the exception of a few holdouts such as Chaplin, the form was all but dead by 1929. Buster Keaton was one of many actors of the silent era who was forced to move into sound. He was a moderate success, but never maintained the success he enjoyed as a silent comic. The Railrodder, released in 1965, was a wonderful homecoming for Keaton to the world he left behind -- that of the silents.

Of course, The Railrodder isn't completely silent. There is a wonderful (if slightly repetitious) soundtrack, and sound effects, and it's in color. But otherwise, Keaton is completely on form as an Englishman who decides to see Canada, swims the Atlantic Ocean (don't ask), arriving in Nova Scotia where he accidentally hijacks a one-man maintenance rail vehicle with a seemingly infinite supply of tea, eggs, and other necessities of life - not to mention fuel - and takes off on a whirlwind trip across the country.

The scenery is Keaton's co-star on this adventure, though his character is too busy doing laundry, shaving, making breakfast, and even going hunting, to notice much of it.

Fortunately, much of the scenery Keaton's character passes hasn't changed much over the last 40 years, which has given the movie a timeless quality.

An interesting sidenote to this production is that the NFB produced a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film. Entitled Buster Keaton Rides Again, the documentary is several times LONGER than the film it is profiling!

Whether you are a fan of Canadian history, of railroads, or of silent movies, The Railrodder is a film you simply must see at least once -- but preferably, many times.

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