USA, 1924 (MIFF 1955, Programme 6)
Director: Buster Keaton, Donald Crisp
Perhaps the most successful film at the Festival last year was The General. Many Festival members were amazed at the freshness of this silent classic and its comic inventiveness and we feel that it is not too soon for us to present a second dose of the same tonic - Buster Keaton in a film many regard as his masterpiece, The Navigator.
Some critics have seen Keaton as a lonely little human figure engaged in an unending conflict with the vast mechanical monsters and mechanisms that inhabit his films. Certainly the inanimate often baffles him as in the famous sequence in this film, when, as the young millionaire on the drifting liner, he gloomily and ineffectually sets about cooking his breakfast in a ship's galley equipped to feed five hundred people.
But, somehow, he always triumphs and in The Navigator finally an ingenious system of ropes, pulleys and levers transforms the kitchen.
With simple resources this classic comedy pursues its calm and merry way - Keaton locked in his mysterious world, completely unconscious of the essential humour of the situations around him.