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The Boat

1921

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. This funny short has some good subtile gags plus the usual slapstick and gadgets.



The Boat is a 1921 American short film comedy film written by, directed and starring Buster Keaton.< name="silentera"></> The International Buster Keaton Society takes its name, The Damfinos, from this film.< name="Damfinos"></>

Plot

Buster is married with two children (both of whom wear the porkpie hat made famous by Keaton). He has built a large boat he has christened Damfino inside his home. When he finishes and decides to take the boat out to sea, he discovers it is too large to fit through the door. Buster enlarges the opening a bit, but when he tows the boat out, it proves to be a bit bigger than he estimated, and the house collapses, utterly.
Buster loses his car during the attempt to launch the boat. The boat passes with impunity under the exceedingly low bridges of the Venice (California) canals thanks to Buster's boat design. While out on the Pacific Ocean, Buster and his family are caught in a terrible storm. The boat is barely seaworthy to begin with, and it does not help that Buster nails a picture up inside the boat, causing an improbable leak, or when he further drills through the bottom of the boat to let the water out (resulting in a spectacular gusher of a leak). He radios a Morse_Code call for help, but when the navy or coast guard operator asks who it is, he answers, "d-a-m-f-i-n-o" (in Morse Code). The man interprets it as "damn if I know" and dismisses the call as a prank. Taking to a (ridiculously small) dinghy (that is in fact a bathtub), Buster and his family wash up on a deserted beach in dark of night. "Where are we?" asks his wife (via an intertitle), to which Buster replies, "Damn if I know" (mouthing the words to the camera, no intertitle is used).

Cast

  • Buster Keaton as The Boat Builder
  • Edward F. Cline as SOS Receiver (uncredited)
  • Sybil Seely as His Wife (uncredited)

See also

  • Buster Keaton filmography



  • Category:1921 films
    Category:American films
    Category:American comedy films
    Category:American silent short films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:1920s comedy films
    Category:1920s short films
    Category:Films directed by Buster Keaton
    Category:Films directed by Edward F. Cline
    Category:Seafaring films
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