Elmer Doolittle (Buster Keaton), an apprentice seaman doing training at the U. S. Navy's San Diego Training Station, can't seem to keep out of trouble or the brig. Most of his problems ...
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Elmer Doolittle,a hired hand on a farm,encounters some complications in his romancing and believes he will have to marry the farm-owner aunt of Molly, the pretty girl he loves. Further ... See full summary »
Elmer owns a gas station out in the California desert. Soon he has a business rival in Jim, who opens up another station, and is also trying to steal Elmer's girlfriend. She plays both ... See full summary »
Buster Keaton's sixth short at Educational Pictures is without question one of the most embarrassing moments of his career. Once again, people put down his time at MGM but he certainly never made something this bad at that studio no matter how much he hated it. In this film he plays Elmer Doolittle, a dimwitted sailor who can't do anything right even though his Chief Gunner (Vernon Dent) is constantly on his case. Dent swears he'll make Keaton a real sailor but things get a tad bit more complicated when Dent's girlfriend (Dorothea Kent) shows up and gets involved with Keaton. TARS AND STRIPES runs just over 20-minutes but the truth is that it would have been a disaster even at just a minute. It really does seem like the studio got permission to shoot a couple hours worth of footage on the naval base so they pretty much filmed anything and just threw whatever they had together once they were back at the studio. The story is full of boring clichés with most of them dealing with Keaton not being able to follow orders and constantly being in trouble. Such "jokes" as Buster dropping paint on Dent's head and Dent accidentally falling into the water at least three times. None of them jokes are funny and what's even worse is how poorly edited together the scenes were. Each sequence looks extremely cheap and you can't help but think they just turned the cameras on and captured whatever they could before getting thrown off the property. Keaton is pretty bland from start to finish as is Dent. The two have zero chemistry together and the same is true between Keaton and Kent.
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