“Our story deals with one of those queer tricks that Fate sometimes plays.”
A wealthy young man (Buster Keaton) and his would-be fiancee (Kathryn McGuire) find themselves at sea in a drifting cruise ship, struggling to survive and fight off an island full of cannibals.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- At Sea
- Buster Keaton Films
- Silent Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, Buster Keaton’s “biggest commercial hit” — which he correctly argues “hasn’t a bad moment” — is “another in his line of silent comedy masterpieces” (and I’ll admit to a personal fondness for it). It does indeed have “many intricate, hilarious gags”, with highlights including “Keaton [as ‘Rollo Treadway’] chasing McGuire around the ship when he first discovers she’s on board also; Keaton in a diving suit…; Keaton routing some cannibals”, and, of course, the side-splitting early sequences showcasing Keaton and McGuire’s lame attempts to fix themselves breakfast (as well as the “three weeks later” scenes showing Keaton’s humorously inventive capabilities). Keaton, naturally, is in top form (when is he not??), and McGuire acquits herself admirably in a role which allows her to be Keaton’s comedic peer rather than simply his romantic foil. This is one of those films better seen than discussed, so go ahead and treat yourself — you’re in for a boatful (sorry!) of laughs.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Keaton and McGuire’s earliest attempts at survival
- Kathryn McGuire as Betsy
- Consistently enjoyable visual and physical gags
Yes, as one of Keaton’s most enjoyable early successes.