Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Forever Purge, The
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Deadly Games
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
No Time to Die
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Power of the Dog, The
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
  Navigator, The Shipshape And Buster Fashion
Year: 1924
Director: Donald Crisp, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Kathryn McGuire, Frederick Vroom, Noble Johnson
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) is a millionaire heir whose pampered lifestyle has left him clueless about real life, as he is encased in a bubble of privilege thanks to his fortune. One morning, after breakfast, he notices outside a couple of newlyweds driving down the street, rapturously in love, and he decides he wants to get married. Today. He knows who he wants to wed: Betsy (Kathryn McGuire), the girl across the street, daughter of the man who owns a shipping line, but when he has his butler drive him over the road, he introduces himself and is shocked and dismayed that she turns him down flat. Dejected, he returns home, but he has the tickets to the honeymoon cruise already, so tears one up and makes plans to use the other - he will board the ship tonight!

The Navigator was released the year Buster Keaton also released his masterpiece, Sherlock Jr, so while it has its fans, as all his silent features did, it tends to pale in comparison to one of the greatest films ever made, understandably. But if this was not as inventive, and more goofy than outright genius, that was not to say it didn't contain pleasures, as this was amusing in a way that newcomers to silent comedy might believe it to be representative of. Buster dialled back his derring-do as far as the stunts went, though he did take a dive off the deck of the titular ship which looks exceedingly dangerous, but his main setpiece and the one you could tell he was most enthusiastic about was the underwater sequence.

Only Buster would have thought it a great idea to stage an entire series of gags under the sea, and not just present it with effects, but genuinely go under the sea to do them. Even so, those gags are not roll around on the floor funny, they're more charming like the swordfight with (what else?) the swordfish, or tackling an errant octopus tentacle which spray ink at him, but as ever the man's willingness to go the extra mile for a laugh marked him out as one of the best. The reason he is at sea in the first place is to do with a war going on between two unnamed countries, nothing really important but the spies are the ones who set the Navigator out on the water, with Betsy onboard as well. After a few near misses, the two meet up and are soon meeting minds over how to make the best of the situation - unfortunately, Betsy is pampered and clueless as well.

The sequence where they try to make themselves a meal was a nice bit of ridiculousness - coffee made with about three beans and seawater, for instance, which naturally tastes terrible, but in a neat turn after a few weeks on the ocean they are getting the hang of being adrift, indicating they were not necessarily dummies, they simply needed the opportunities to work out the best courses of action. One thing that does date the film is the grand finale, where Rollo and Betsy are threatened by a nearby tribe of island cannibals; although this was the twenties, it does seem like a set up from the Victorian era of explorer humour (there was such a thing), though it is good to see the pioneering African American actor Noble Johnson as their leader - he would be the custodian of King Kong a few years later. It was too goodnatured to be offensive, however, everything in the service of being very silly.

[Eureka release this as part of their Buster Keaton: 3 Films Vol 2 box set - The Navigator, Seven Chances and Battling Butler - and here are the features:

• Limited Edition Hardbound Slipcase [3000 copies ONLY]
• 1080p presentations of all three films from the Cohen Film Collection's stunning 4K restorations, with musical scores composed and conducted by Robert Israel
• The Navigator - Audio commentary by silent film historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan
• Seven Chances - Brand new audio commentary by film historian Bruce Lawton
• New and exclusive video essay by David Cairns covering all three films
• The Navigator - A short documentary on the making of the film and Keaton’s fascination with boats as sources of comedy, by film historian Bruce Lawton
• Buster Keaton & Irwin Allen audio interview from 1945 [6 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Arthur Friedman audio interview from 1956 [32 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Robert Franklin audio interview from 1958 [56 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Herbert Feinstein audio interview from 1960 [48 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Studs Terkel audio interview from 1960 [38 mins]
• What! No Spinach? (1926, dir. Harry Sweet) [19 mins] - Rarely seen comedy short by American actor / director Harry Sweet, that riffs on a number of elements from Seven Chances
• PLUS: A LIMITED EDITION [3000 copies ONLY] 60-PAGE perfect bound collector's book featuring new writing by Imogen Sara Smith and Philip Kemp; and a selection of archival writing and imagery.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1077 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: