The Boat
Comedy, Family, Short
IMDB rating:
Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline
Storyline: Buster's handmade boat, The Damfino, is finished and is, of course, too large to get through the basement door. When he drives off with it in tow, the side of his house, then the whole thing, collapses. At the harbor he rides the boat out only to have it sink beneath him. The rest is a series of adventures he and his family have with the restored boat.
Type DVD-rip
Resolution 448x336 px
File Size 260 Mb
Codec mpeg4
Bitrate 1347 Kbps
Format avi
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
DVD-rip 448x336 px 260 Mb mpeg4 1347 Kbps avi Download

Scientifically Impossible Out of Sight & In The Water
This film for a silent short has a lot of elaborate sight gags, more than you'd expect. There are a lot of foreshadowing scenes of how funny & elaborate Keatons films would become here.

The film has an opening sequence which reveals the boat interior set used in the film. An interesting way to open.

Keaton is the father with a wife & two young sons who is building a boat in his basement. When he finishes his project, he names it Dam fino & finds it will not fit out of the basement door. So he enlarges the basement door, & then hooks the boat up to the car & pulls it out- pulling the house down with it. Remember, in this era prior to special effects this pulling the house down is an elaborate gag. They are really pulling the house down.

Next- Buster & his family are trying to launch the Dam fino & have all kinds of trouble doing it. When it finally goes off the ramp, the boat & Buster promptly sink.

With no explanation, in the next sequence the boat is actually floating. Keaton & one of his sons do a routine involving the setting up the smokestack on the Dam fino & trying to find the kid inside the stack which is good physical comedy that is a prelude to what Keaton would do later, & would train Lucille Ball how to do.

Classic in this - the first use of "cruise control" with the boat going without a pilot while everyone is below. The below decks often seem much larger than the above decks.

The voyage the boat goes on has a lot of perils, many of which are amazing sight gags for this era. In the end, the Dam fino sinks & the family are all floating in a bath tub. Then, the tub starts to sink, but stops when it hits the bottom of shallow water.

The family walks up on shore together & one of them asks dad where they are. Without needing lip reading skills- Keaton mouths to the camera "Damn if I know". A clever ending for a movie full of impossible sight & physical gags.
Very Funny, With Some Good Subtle Gags Plus the Usual Slapstick
This funny short comedy has some good subtle gags, in addition to Buster Keaton's usual assortment of slapstick gags and gadgets. For having such a closely-confined setting, there is a rather impressive variety of material, and the story and the cast make good use of every possibility.

The movie starts with a clever opening shot, the kind of misdirection joke that Keaton was so good at carrying out in an offhand way. The opening scene also sets up the rest of the action very nicely. The comedy that follows on "The Boat" is at times unrefined, but it has some very amusing moments.

Buster gets pretty good mileage out of the props and also from the family relationships. Sybil Seely (who was in some of Keaton's best short features) portrays his patient wife, and the reactions of her and the children to some of Keaton's antics add to the comedy.
Mr. Keaton Sees The Sea

THE BOAT which Buster's family builds and launches immediately tries to kill them.

This funny little film is an unusual one for Buster, in that he's already quite domesticated - with wife & children - when the story commences. The viewer is supposed to read Buster's lips to get the film's final joke.

Born into a family of Vaudevillian acrobats, Buster Keaton (1895-1966) mastered physical comedy at a very early age. An association with Fatty Arbuckle led to a series of highly imaginative short subjects and classic, silent feature-length films - all from 1920 to 1928. Writer, director, star & stuntman - Buster could do it all and his intuitive genius gave him almost miraculous knowledge as to the intricacies of film making and of what it took to please an audience. More akin to Fairbanks than Chaplin, Buster's films were full of splendid adventure, exciting derring-do and the most dangerous physical stunts imaginable. His theme of a little man against the world, who triumphs through bravery & ingenuity, dominates his films. Through every calamity & disaster, Buster remained the Great Stone Face, a stoic survivor in a universe gone mad.

In the late 1920's Buster was betrayed by his manager/brother-in-law and his contract was sold to MGM, which proceeded to nearly destroy his career. Teamed initially with Jimmy Durante and eventually allowed small roles in mediocre comedies, Buster was for 35 years consistently given work far beneath his talent. Finally, before lung cancer took him at age 70, he had the satisfaction of knowing that his classic films were being rediscovered. Now, well past his centenary, Buster Keaton is routinely recognized & appreciated as one of cinema's true authentic geniuses. And he knew how to make people laugh...
Nice, but does not belong to Keaton's greatest
'The Boat' shows Buster Keaton as a boat builder, taking his wife and two children to the launch of his boat. As the four hit the ocean they learn there are quite some surprises to this boat. That things will not happen as planned is an understatement. Although there are quite some nice gags in this short film, it is only mildly funny.

The first half is so much more entertaining than the second, which seems a little boring. It uses more of the same gags and the new ones play too long. Keaton is able to show his physical a couple of time, using the entire boat as a prop, making this short a nice part in his oeuvre. On the other hand, he could have done without 'The Boat'.
Buster on the Boat
"The Boat" is a black-and-white short movie from almost 95 years ago. The star here is Buster Keaton and he also wrote and directed it, together with his longtime collaborator Edward F. Cline. And the cast also has familiar names. Apart from Cline, who also acts in this one, the female lead is played by Sibyl Seely, who appeared in many other Keaton movies.

Well.. the action is very clear. Stoneface is on a boat this time and, of course, there is no other possible ending than Keaton shipwrecked and stranded on an island. If you know how basically everything that he touches in his films turns into chaos, you can only imagine what this would look like on a boat. One major difference to his other works is that there is no real antagonist in here, so Keaton is even more at the center of it all than usual. At 26 minutes, it's one of Keaton's longer short movies. He was only in his mid-20s when he made this and yet together with Chaplin and Lloyd the biggest star of his era. I like him, but I have to say I was not really entertained that well here. Most of the slapstick wasn't particularly funny. That's why I cannot recommend it.
Non-stop action as Buster battles the billows
This short speeds merrily on its way with hardly taking a breath. It's one of Buster's best. He and his wife and sons try valiantly to enjoy a boating expedition only to have a storm arise and cause complete chaos.

Some great moments: the emergence of the boat from his basement, destroying his house; the masts on pulleys engineered to drop when going under bridges (the same design used to put boat models in bottles); the tilt of the camera and boat as it illogically climbs a steep river; the great detail of mom's pancakes being tough enough to be used to stop a leak.

KINO's print is crisp and clear and there are blue tints for the exterior night scenes. An organ score accompanies the release.
an odd little domestic comedy
This is a very good Buster Keaton silent comedy short from 1921. However, unlike most of his other films where he is either co-starring with another guy (such as Fatty Arbuckle) or going solo, in this case everything he does, he does with the family in tow.

Buster and his wife are building a boat in the garage. Unfortunately, it's much larger than the opening and so Buster is forced to cut the garage door opening larger. You discover it still isn't large enough as the boat rips the entire side of the house off and destroys most of the home. Now THAT'S a sight gag! Once out of the house, dopey Buster doesn't fare much better. He manages to lose his car off the end of the dock, and later once they've been at sea a while, the boat sinks but our family somehow survives.

The movie excels because it has a real plot--it's not just slapstick. Also, the stunts, when they are done, are BIG and very impressive!
One of Keaton's best shorts
While I love everything Keaton did, I particularly like his short comedies the best. They're packed full of gags and it's always an endless laugh riot from beginning to end. The Boat is one of my favorites, along with The Scarecrow and One Week. Keaton's brusque treatment of his children in this short speaks to my heart since I'm not very fond of children, either. The gag where he measures the temperature of the water before jumping in to save his kid from drowning is priceless and I never cease to laugh. This short is also an early example of Keaton's ability to take one prop and base a whole story around it, a la The General. Sybil Seeley is also excellent as his patient wife and her performances in Keaton's other shorts are equally delightful.
Why Does Buster Keaton Always Find Himself in So Much Trouble? Damfino!
Buster Keaton just wants to take his family out on a pleasant boat trip to enjoy some sea breezes and sunshine. A simple enough request, no? Well if you've ever seen a Buster Keaton movie, you already know the answer to that question....

A pretty funny short that involves many of the pratfalls you would expect in a slapstick comedy about a doomed boating expedition -- people falling in the water (a lot), a dinner preparation gone all wrong when nothing is tied down, a storm and its predictable outcome on our beleaguered hero. A cute twist at the end reveals that our protagonist family was never in any danger to begin with.

The name of Keaton's boat is the Damfino, which provides a running joke and gives the film its final punchline.
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