HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
VFW
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Slithis
Antonio Gaudi
Oscar, The
Color Out of Space
Last Holiday
Zombieland: Double Tap
Mind Benders, The
Mighty Wind, A
   
 
Newest Articles
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
   
 
  Battling Butler Punch Drunk Love
Year: 1926
Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Snitz Edwards, Sally O'Neil, Walter James, Bud Fine, Francis McDonald, Mary O’Brien, Tom Wilson, Eddie Borden
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alfred Butler (Buster Keaton) is the son of a millionaire, used to having everything done for him thanks to his mother doting over her precious little boy at every turn. His father is less impressed, and determined to toughen him up, so settles on a camping trip in the woods outside the city, surely that will do the business on his offspring and give him something to be proud of Alfred about? But once off in the wilderness, the heir is still being pampered thanks to the presence of his manservant (Snitz Edwards) who raises an elaborate tent more like a big top, and cooks him the kind of meals he would expect to have at home. However, something is about to happen that will change Alfred’s life, as he meets a mountain girl (Sally O'Neil) who he falls head over heels in love with...

But can he prove himself worthy of her love? Refreshingly, she is not after his fortune after all, so when his love is reciprocated it all goes surprisingly well for a Buster Keaton film: within about twenty minutes he has won the heart of the girl of his dreams, and looks set to have a very happy life with her. Ah, but then there is the inevitable spanner in the works, as her father and brother, both twice the size of her new husband, believe this Butler to be the up-and-coming boxer Alfred "Battling" Butler, and since he was only allowed to marry the girl (who doesn't get a name!) because they thought he was a he-man, he must sustain the subterfuge. This is more the fault of the valet, who wanted to keep the relationship sweet, but it will have dramatic consequences.

More dramatic than you might expect in a comedy, as while the greater part of the running time is typical Buster underdog humour, the grand finale is very serious indeed, and a genuine crowdpleaser in 1926 for the audiences who made this one of the biggest successes of Keaton's career. That is presumably why he picked it as his favourite of all his films, even over something like The General which was released the same year: demonstrably a better film, a classic for many, that effort was soundly rejected by the public at the time. This despite the amount of work that had gone into its amazing stunts, whereas Battling Butler was bereft of anything particularly spectacular, and far more straightforward than all of his other run of acknowledged favourites of the silent era.

Yet there was something undeniably pleasing in its simplicity, even in a plot that could have been cleared up within seconds had Butler been given the chance to admit the mistake that had turned into a ridiculous lie. It goes way too far as he is forced to pose as the real boxer and train for a fight against the Alabama Murderer (!) which he is unprepared for, to say the least, though you have to take that with a pinch of salt since Buster with his shirt off plainly was in tremendous shape and not the weakling the script asked for. Boxing as a source for jokes has been performed by anyone from Charlie Chaplin to Danny Kaye to Lou Costello, not to mention Bugs Bunny and Popeye, and Keaton mined solid laughs out of the set-up, especially in the ineptitude Alfred shows in the ring, but did it justify his high opinion of it? If it had been many a different silent comedian's work, it would be a triumph, but when you had seen his genius elsewhere, it was second tier. Nevertheless, Buster's charm was not to be underestimated.

[Eureka release this as part of their Buster Keaton: 3 Films Vol 2 box set - The Navigator, Seven Chances and Battling Butler - and here are the features:

• Limited Edition Hardbound Slipcase [3000 copies ONLY]
• 1080p presentations of all three films from the Cohen Film Collection's stunning 4K restorations, with musical scores composed and conducted by Robert Israel
• The Navigator - Audio commentary by silent film historians Robert Arkus and Yair Solan
• Seven Chances - Brand new audio commentary by film historian Bruce Lawton
• New and exclusive video essay by David Cairns covering all three films
• The Navigator - A short documentary on the making of the film and Keaton’s fascination with boats as sources of comedy, by film historian Bruce Lawton
• Buster Keaton & Irwin Allen audio interview from 1945 [6 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Arthur Friedman audio interview from 1956 [32 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Robert Franklin audio interview from 1958 [56 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Herbert Feinstein audio interview from 1960 [48 mins]
• Buster Keaton & Studs Terkel audio interview from 1960 [38 mins]
• What! No Spinach? (1926, dir. Harry Sweet) [19 mins] - Rarely seen comedy short by American actor / director Harry Sweet, that riffs on a number of elements from Seven Chances
• PLUS: A LIMITED EDITION [3000 copies ONLY] 60-PAGE perfect bound collector's book featuring new writing by Imogen Sara Smith and Philip Kemp; and a selection of archival writing and imagery.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 42 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: