The last of the independent features made in the prime of Buster Keaton s career, STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. is a large-scale follow-up to The General, substituting a Mississippi paddlewheel for the locomotive, and replacing the spectacle of the Civil War with a catastrophic hurricane. Keaton stars as William Canfield, Jr., a Boston collegian who returns to his deep-southern roots to reunite with his father, a crusty riverboat captain (Ernest Torrence) who is engaged in a bitter rivalry with a riverboat king coincidentally, the father of Willie s sweetheart (Marion Byron). Keaton s athleticism and gift for inventive visual humor are in top form, and the cyclone that devastates a town (and sends houses
literally crashing down around him) is perhaps the most ambitious, awe-inspiring and hilarious slapstick sequence ever created. In the silent era, it was common practice for filmmakers to create two
separate negatives of their films, each comprised of differing takes and camera angles. This definitive Ultimate Two Disc Edition contains both versions of STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. the Buster Keaton Estate version and the Killiam Shows Archive version each mastered from archival 35mm materials. All new Special Features include: Complete alternate version of Steamboat Bill, Jr., comprised entirely of variant takes and camera angles, Music by The Biograph Players presented 5.1 Dolby Digital, Organ score by Lee Erwin, Piano score by William Perry, Documentary on the making of the film, Stills Gallery, Why They Call Him Buster (a montage of pratfalls), and Two vintage recordings of the folk song Steamboat Bill .
It was Keatons extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, when he worked without interruption on a series of films that make him, arguably, the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies. --Roger Ebert