Big screen classics

Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Keaton’s brilliantly inventive comedy is set in a painstakingly created Southern riverside town, famously wrecked in the film’s extraordinary finale.

Image from Steamboat Bill, Jr.

USA 1928
Dir Charles F Reisner, Buster Keaton
With Keaton, Ernest Torrence, Marion Byron
Digital 4K
Certificate U
With live piano accompaniment

Buster Keaton was famously a stickler for authenticity, and here his evocation of life in a lazy Southern riverside town – which he likewise famously destroyed in the film’s climactic cyclone sequence – is beautifully achieved through superb sets and costumes and by means of imaginative, sometimes memorably lyrical compositions. The protagonist’s relationship with his bluff father makes for a fascinating critique of traditional ideals of ‘masculinity’.

Live piano accompaniment by:
John Sweeney (Sat 22 May)
Stephen Horne (Thu 3 Jun)
Costas Fotopoulos (Tue 22 Jun)

Also available on BFI Player.

Films and events for families