The Navigator - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Navigator Reviews

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October 31, 2016
As the critics say, a charmer.
October 23, 2016
- Watched for the 2nd time, on blu-ray this time. Such a funny and creative film with some very funny sequences. This is a must watch!

- I loved this film. I am not as familiar with Buster Keaton as I am with Chaplin, so wanted to see some more of his stuff. Glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Some really great slapstick here. Highly recommended!
September 10, 2016
one master comedian Keaton's best efforts.
½ November 8, 2015
Early Buster Keaton two-reeler that is sporadically funny, picking up speed as it goes along. Keaton accidentally finds himself on an abandoned ship, alone with the girl he hopes to marry, who has also accidentally gotten on board the ghost ship (pushed out to sea as part of espionage). The two muddle out how to cook a meal, find bunks to sleep in, and fix a leak under the ship (which involves Buster in a real deep sea diving suit that eventually fills with water...of course). They are nearly rescued and nearly captured by cannibals. Part of the thrill offered by any of Keaton's comedies (short or long) is from knowing that he invents all his own gags and does all his own stunts, which often involve a high level of acrobatic skill in the service of looking clumsy as hell. Not really up there with The General or Sherlock Jr. (although others seem to think so) but damn fine nonetheless.
½ November 30, 2014
A lesser Keaton effort. It's notable for the innovative underwater cinematography but the demands of inventing ways to film on a ship and underwater seem to have weighed down Keaton's narrative creativity. (Kind of like James Cameron's AVATAR which was a remarkable technical accomplishment, but not much of a movie.) But even a lesser movie from Keaton is worth watching.
½ October 18, 2014
Keaton's movies are still enjoyable nearly a hundred years later, which is praise enough.
September 1, 2014
Sight gags and slapstick done right!
½ May 29, 2014
Not nearly as engaging or funny as The General.
December 10, 2013
My Favorite Comedy Film Is 1933's Duck Soup.
May 19, 2013
Two spoiled rich young adults find themselves adrift at sea after they accidentally board a vessel targeted for sabotage. It's not my favorite Keaton film but it's still a pretty great picture featuring some great Buster Keaton brand of physical comedy, stunts and gags (the one involving a scary looking painting was particularly hysterical) and of course exquisite filmmaking.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2013
Another fabulous Buster Keaton comedy, just funny with a lot of creative sight gags. The film is just hilarious and a lot of fun to watch. It deals with these two rich "kids" that end up stranded together on an abandoned ship. As these two have never had to fend for themselves and have always had someone to do everything for them, when they try to do something as simple as cooking breakfast, boiling eggs, opening cans, etc, the results are hilarious. It really shows spoiled these two really are. Of course, after a couple of weeks, the couple are quite good at taking care of themselves quickly and efficiently. Another thing I liked is that the woman in this movie, played by Kathryn McGuire, actually got a large number of the laughs instead of just being a damsel in distress for Buster's character to save. I mean, she still has to be saved, but she's really entertaining and it was certainly surprising to see considering the, I'm sure, amount of sexism that must've permeated in films at this point. As always I found the gags to be very creative like, in the underwater scene, Buster taken and posting a sign that said 'Men at Work' and trying to wash his hands underwater. There's also the scene when Buster and Kathryn are trying to sleep at night that's really funny. This and the underwater scene are the definite comedic highlights of the film, just hilarious stuff. And the climax, with the cannibals, isn't as strong as the rest of the film but it is still strong and entertaining. Perhaps I was spoiled by the absolute insanity of the chase sequence in Seven Chances, but this was still a very entertaining climax. I love Buster Keaton...can you tell? Anyway, after the events of this week, with the Boston Bombing, the shooting at MIT and the explosion in Waco, this is the type of movie that you should watch if you've had a down week. Just another wonderful Buster Keaton film.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2012
A millionaire and his love interest get stranded on an ocean liner.
There are some chuckles in this slapstick, silent comedy, and Buster Keaton once again proves himself a master of the young medium. Though there aren't many moments like the amazing stunts of College and The General, Keaton prat falls his way through the shifting ship and an underwater sequence.
The film didn't show its antiquity until the "cannibals" appear. Black natives attack Keaton's character, and I was again found myself wishing that Keaton's films were more progressive than their times, just as I did with The General. The portrayal of black characters leaves much to be desired, and it ruined the film for me.
Overall, this isn't as well made as Keaton's other films, and the outdated views of minorities made the film more difficult to enjoy.
½ September 29, 2012
Including every nautical theme you can think of, I think the most impressive scenes were the ones filmed underwater . . .
½ July 26, 2012
A fantastic short, but well thought out movie. This was my first Keaton movie. I didn't think it would be that funny. I am willing to watch his other films. A-
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2012
I think Buster Keaton is one of the more inconsistent actors from the silent film era. I really didn't like The general but I adored Sherlock Jr. This one I would say is ok. Buster and the woman who rejected to marry him accidentally both end up on a ship at sea alone. In this journey they encounter a storm, cannibals, and a scary painting of sailer. Now there were some nice laughs in here but at the same time for a film only an hour long I shouldn't have been bored as much as I did.
½ June 16, 2012
Rollo Treadway (Buster Keaton) is a young millionaire who decides to find solace on an ocean cruise once his marriage proposal is turned down. An odd set of circumstances find him stranded on an abandoned ocean liner with the very same woman (Kathryn McGuire) that broke his heart. Lots of Keaton-styled gags ensue, culminating with a face-off against a fearsome horde of island cannibals. I'm willing to overlook the dated racism of The Navigator, but I can't get over the movie's numerous issues with slow pacing and awkward delivery. The Navigator, which lacks the snap of Keaton efforts from the same period, very much appears like a movie where the filmmakers were making things up as they went along.
June 14, 2012
buster Keaton is great but this movie wasn't it was somewhat repetitive and definatly what the average movie is
June 13, 2012
I have seen 3 Keaton films, up to now, and this is good, but my third favorite. The stunts and comedy are definitely there, but it loses a little footing at the end. Keaton, stone faced and brilliant, is still a joy to watch.
May 19, 2012
Sailing to the Wilds of Catalina Island

I refuse to get into the Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd debate. I think Charlie Chaplin's later movies, the ones after the advent of sound, are the best, but if you're just looking at silent comedies, and probably short subjects at that, which you like best is largely based on what you're looking for in a film comedian. And in fact, what I'm usually looking for in a comedian is wordplay, so I'd rather watch a Marx Brothers talkie than any of them. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Harold Lloyd, who I think was less skilled than his counterparts, but I can see the appeal to all three for those who are interested in that sort of thing. This is not one of those places where I think there is a definitive right and wrong, so it's not where I'll get on my film snob high horse. And really, I think we should all just agree that they're better than the Three Stooges or the Little Rascals and move on.

There is a setup to [i]The Navigator[/i], but I'm not entirely sure it matters. Just as it does not matter that Buster Keaton has a character name, but if you care, it's Rollo Treadway. He has decided that he wants to get married, so he orders two tickets to Hawaii and asks his girl, Betsy O'Brien (Kathryn McGuire), to marry him. He learns that he should have done that in the opposite order when she rejects him, leaving him with an extra ticket. In despair, he decides to go alone; he cannot face getting up early enough to get the the ship before it sails, so he goes down to the dock and spends the night before on the boat. Only it's the wrong boat. It is a steamer belonging, I think, to Betsy's father, John (Frederick Vroom, which is indeed a stage name; he added the "k" to the end of his name), and there are secret agents, and I didn't understand what happened, but somehow, Buster and Betsy end up adrift alone on the ship. How and why really doesn't matter.

The whole thing came about because the [i]USAT Buford[/i], best known as the ship which deported Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, among others, in 1919, was being scrapped and Buster Keaton was able to get his hands on it cheap. The thing was just one big prop, but it was a real ship that they were able to frolic about on. The very idea delighted him. So it's literally true that the setup doesn't matter and the whole point was that they were messing about on the ship. That's not, for once, an expression of irritation but one of literal fact. No one cared how they got on the boat so long as there was a story which got them on the boat, not even Buster himself. I suppose this proves that, sometimes, that actually does work to bring about a movie worth watching. In fact, if I thought about it, I could probably come up with another list of "because that's what needs to happen" stories which I enjoy. I won't do so now, but if pestered, that's a thing I could do another day.

Really, how sound a sleeper is Betsy, though? There are all sorts of gags which rely on her being essentially comatose while Buster does whimsical things around her or carries her while she's pretty much stiff as a board. He rescues her from a deck chair that's about to go over the side, for example, and though the chair is performing all sorts of ludicrous gyrations before he gets her out of it, it's not until he has his arms around her that she wakes up, so she can then slap him. There's a bit of to-do about how the ship is supposedly haunted. Much of the movie is not, in other words, story so much as it is a series of gags strung together by the fact that they all take place on a boat. This includes a duel with the most obviously stuffed fish ever to appear in film--this filmed at Lake Tahoe--where Buster is holding one swordfish while battling off another one in a fencing sequence. You can see the wires holding the fish up so the duel can take place, but the scene is still kind of impressive given 1924.

Yes, there are jokes at Betsy's expense, but there are jokes at Buster's, too. The whole joke is that these two are too hopelessly sheltered to understand how things work. Their first morning on the ship, they're lucky not to die from the breakfast they've prepared for themselves. (Though I will say they should die later and more slowly, because there doesn't appear to be any water on the ship at first, and the water they later have is magic.) She puts a handful of coffee beans--unground--into an enormous pot which he fills with seawater. He boils eggs in an even bigger pot and should burn himself horribly by the way he handles everything. They are complete innocents, and it's supposed to be charming. I'm also quite sure that they don't intend anything untoward when she uses him as a boat late in the picture, though the imagery is a bit more adult than most of the rest of what's going on. Even on an innocent level, though, it was still pretty funny.
February 29, 2012
Another awesome Keaton film. when he comes out of the water near the end i could not stop laughing for minutes!
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