Movie Mirrors Index

The Navigator

(silent 1924 b 59')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A rich young man asks a rich young woman to marry. She says no, but they get stuck on a drifting ocean-liner alone.

A spy says the ship The Navigator must be destroyed. Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) tells his valet he has decided to get married that day. He takes flowers to Betsy O'Brien (Kathryn McGuire) and asks her to marry, but she says no. Rollo gets two tickets to Honolulu and goes to sleep on board the night before. Foreign agents capture ship-owner John O'Brien (Frederick Vroom) at the pier, and his daughter Betsy goes on board to look for him.

The Navigator drifts at sea. Betsy finds a cigarette that Rollo dropped and calls. They look for each other and run around the ship. Rollo again asks her to marry. She says she is hungry. They try to make breakfast. Rollo opens a can with a meat cleaver and another with a drill. The coffee is awful.

They see another ship and put up a flag; but it is a quarantine flag, and the ship avoids them. She lowers a boat, and he rows; but it sinks. When she pulls him up, she goes down. Rollo dives in to help her out. He carries her up the ladder and tries to put her in a lounge chair.

They say goodnight; but she throws away a portrait that ends up by his porthole. They light Roman candles. Her lounge chair slides back and forth and off the deck. It rains, and they go inside. He tries to shuffle wet cards.

Weeks later they have things rigged for their convenience. They see an island with cannibals. He anchors the ship, but they are sinking. Rollo gets into a diving suit and goes in the water to fix the ship. The cannibal chief (Noble Johnson) sends boats. Rollo uses a swordfish to fight another swordfish. Cannibals capture Betsy and take her to the chief. Rollo lost his cord and walks to shore as the terrified natives run away. Betsy sits on Rollo and paddles back to the ship. He gets the water and himself out of the suit. They keep the natives from boarding, but more are coming. They use fireworks to scare them away. Natives use a coconut palm, but Rollo throws coconuts at them. When the natives get aboard, Betsy and Rollo go into the sea and are taken into a submarine. She kisses him, throwing the submarine out of balance.

This slapstick comedy provides a farcical fantasy of two people alone instead of the honeymoon he wanted. In an ironic reversal the metal ships are safe places while the tropical island becomes dangerous because of native cannibals.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index