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THE BOAT, 1921
Classic Movie Review

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THE BOAT MOVIE POSTER
THE BOAT, 1921
Classic Movie Review

Directed by Buster Keaton
Starring Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline
Review by CJ Brooks




SYNOPSIS:

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.

REVIEW:

In Washington State there is a Damfino Lake. In Colorado, a Damfino Park. In Boca Grande, FL you can travel down Damfino Street. But of all the Damfinos in the world, the most popular would likely be The International Buster Keaton Society who has taken on the word as a nickname.

The Damfino, from which the society derives their name, was the name given to the boat in Buster Keaton's hilarious 1921 short, The Boat. A play on the name 'Damfino' which, depending on how it's worked, can be interpreted as either "Damn Fine-O" or "Damn if IKeaton stars simply as The Boat Builder in this film. He has just finished the final touches of his famous boat and prepares his family for a night on the lake. As one would expect with a Keaton film, disaster strikes. His house collapses while trying to pull the boat out of the garage door; he accidentally drives his car into the lake; the boat, upon launching, sinks to bottom of the lake; this, all within the first six minutes of the film.

The Boat is somehow rescued from the depths of the lake (although it is never clearly explained how) and the remaining 20 minutes follows the builder, family in tow, as they venture to sea, encountering one disastrous situation after the next.

Including the rescuing of the boat, several incidents are never explained (for example, who the boat builder is or, knowing his capacity for sailing, what convinced him to build a boat). The enjoyment of the film, however, is never compromised by this lack of knowledge. The film is all about its seamless sight gags and Keaton's amusing reactions to the ensuing trouble(which he mostly causes himself). Never have an anchor been more funny, a bathtub more side-splitting and a funny-named boat more droll. The Damfino, in Keaton's film, is eventually lost at sea and never to be found again. Another Damfino, a town in Jasper County, Missouri supposedly is home to 10,000 people, although good luck on finding it on a map. If one were to have asked Buster where one could find the town or his lost vessel, he would likely have replied, "Damn if I know."

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