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The Railrodder (1965)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Short | 2 October 1965 (USA)
After literally walking to Canada from England, Buster takes a cross-country trip across Canada on a railway motorcar (speeder).

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A twenty-minute, almost totally silent film (no dialogue or music one 'shhh!') in which Buster Keaton attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye. But, as the film is based around ... See full summary »

Directors: Samuel Beckett, Alan Schneider
Stars: Buster Keaton, Nell Harrison, James Karen
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Cast

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Storyline

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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Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

2 October 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Railroader  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Poignant
21 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

In an affectionate tribute to the silent films that made his name in the 1920s, Buster Keaton returns to the familiar character in slap shoes, baggy trousers and flat hat for this short travelogue set in Canada. The idea is simple: he gets on a tiny motorised railway buggy and travels from coast to coast, settling into his mobile home-from-home while causing or narrowly averting chaos along the way.

Under the direction of Gerald Potterton, the gags are more like a nostalgic nod in the right direction rather than laugh-out-loud funny; nevertheless, Keaton fans will find much to appreciate in the details: his familiar shambling walk, or the way Buster slips off his seat as a train rushes past him, or the way he stands on top of the buggy to scan the horizon just as he did on the locomotive in The General.

Ironically, the best sight gag is not in The Railrodder itself but in the documentary about the making of the film, when, with exquisite timing, Buster appears to stop and start a freight train by pulling it with one hand.

The Railrodder and the documentary are both currently available as extras on the MK2 restored 2-DVD edition of The General.


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