“Our story deals with one of those queer tricks that Fate sometimes plays.”
Buster Keaton once again finds himself in his typical jam where he has to bumble around to save the day in The Navigator.
There are two small nations at war with each other that has some kind of impact on an American port in the Pacific. The port holds the steamship Navigator which is owned by a rich man named John O’Brien.
In the meantime, a young man named Rollo Treadway (Keaton) is set on getting married. He has the whole wedding and even the honeymoon planned. The thing is he has not even asked the girl to marry him. Rollo gets in his car has the driver drive him across the street to see Betsy O’Brien, John’s daughter. Betsy immediately turns Rollo down. He goes home and still plans on going on the honeymoon since it has already been booked. That night he is taken to the pier but he gets on the wrong boat which happens to be the Navigator. Betsy and her father were set to go out for the night but he had to go to the Navigator to get some papers. He is kidnapped by some kind of enemy. Betsy gets worried and goes to look for her father on the ship. Some of the men who took her father release the ship to set it adrift.
The next morning Rollo goes looking for the crew. He finds he is alone until he runs into Betsy. He asks her again to marry him and she of course turns him down. Rollo tries to make them breakfast and in true Buster Keaton and comedy fashion fails miserably. Other shenanigans ensue such as Rollo and Betsy looking for a place to sleep on the ship that does not freak them out.
The ship eventually drifts to an island. Betsy looks at the island and claims that the inhabitants are cannibals. They have to stay on the ship. Somehow something on the ship breaks apart and Rollo has to put on a dive suit to go fix the issue. Once he has fixed the issue he goes towards the island because somehow Betsy has been brought there by the natives. The natives get really freaked out by Rollo in the dive suit. One of the natives catches Rollo bluff when Rollo takes the dive suit off and the native sees that Rollo is just a man. Betsy and Rollo manage to get back to the ship but the natives come and attack it. The two jump off the ship and float on a lifesaver. They are lifted out of the water just in time before they are attacked by the natives by a submarine.
As with almost all of Buster Keaton’s films The Navigator has so many funny scenes and gags and moments that is it hard to write them down while still making the story sounds coherent. At this point I have seen several Buster Keaton films and I hate to say they are alike to me. The stories are similar but with different locations and settings. I can let that slide because Buster Keaton is hilarious and his physical comedy is perfection. The Navigator is not one of the best Buster Keaton films or silent films I have ever seen but it is worth seeing at least once.