Buster Keaton's beautiful 1928 comedy equates parental rejection with the most violently destructive forces of nature; behind the elegant slapstick is an eloquent fable of survival. Buster is a beret-clad college boy abruptly reunited with his long-lost father, the fierce, bearish captain of a Mississippi riverboat (Ernest Torrence). The father's attempts to make a man out of his boy lead with perfect emotional logic to the famous final sequence, in which Buster rides a tornado that rearranges his town as he walks through it. Charles Reisner is the director of record, but the mise-en-scene is unmistakably Keaton's own.
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