Close Up

27 September 2015: The Playhouse + Steamboat Bill, Jr.


The Playhouse
Buster Keaton
1921 | 20 min | B/W | Digital

Buster Keaton plays every part in this brilliant comedy about a vaudeville house, including simultaneously playing all eight musicians in a minstrel show! One of the most extraordinary films of this period.  

Steamboat Bill, Jr.
Charles Riesner
1928 | 71 min | B/W | Digital

Muddy Waters is a two-boat town – much to the chagrin of their respective proprietors. Local fat cat J. J. King operates the plush new paddle steamer, the King, and he is determined to put his rival out of business. Steamboat Bill is his unlucky target; a grizzled old sailor with a vessel to match: the Stonewall Jackson is a rotted-out hulk that'll need a miracle to compete with King's floating palace. Bill thinks his prayers are answered when he learns that his long-estranged son is returning home from college in Boston, but he's sorely disappointed when it becomes apparent that Steamboat Bill, Jr. is not the man his father expects him to be. Urbane, shaky on his sea legs and – worst of all – sweet for King's daughter, Junior might just be hopeless enough to sink the Stonewall Jackson for good. But when Steamboat Bill, Sr. lands himself in jail and a destructive storm sweeps through Muddy Waters, Junior gets an opportunity to prove himself a hero.  

Restoration notes: The restoration was done at Modern Videofilm in LA. An archival 35mm negative from Cohen Film Collection was scanned at 4K and the restoration work was carried out at 4K. Cohen Film Collection worked with the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) Film Archive to access their negative stored at the Library of Congress for one short sequence to complete the restoration. Cohen Film Collection commissioned a new score by Carl Davis, which is included on the DCP.

Part of our Buster Keaton season