Plot: A man (Buster Keaton) has built his own boat, named the Damfino, which he plans to use to take his beloved wife and child on sea faring excursions. His good intentions are met with one disastrous accident after another, including knocking his own home down and on the maiden voyage, an instant sink of his boat. But he is determined to rebuild and take his family out on the water, no matter how many things go wrong in the process. Will he ever have a successful launch and if so, will the aquatic adventure live up to his vision of family bliss?
Entertainment Value: I love this short from Buster Keaton, it has so many moments of comedic genius and some spectacular set pieces. The boat launch is simply hilarious, the kind of scene I could watch a million times and always laugh, as Keaton pulls it off with such incredible skill. I’ve read about the lengths Keaton went to in order to have the boat not only sink, but sink just right and his dedication to the craft paid off, as the sequence is pure movie magic. I love movies, but I would call very few scenes perfect and that boat launch is perfection. The rest of the short is terrific as well, with some large scale set pieces like the house falling down and the frantic interior boat scenes, but it is that launch that stands out so much. A lot of laughs and creative comedy are wedged into the under thirty minute run time however, so while that one scene is epic, it is by no means the lone draw of The Boat. I would recommend this masterful film to even casual fans of classic movies or old school comedy, or anyone who wants to explore the work of one of Hollywood’s true legends.