The Boat (film)

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The Boat
Directed by Buster Keaton
Edward F. Cline
Produced by Joseph M. Schenck
Written by Buster Keaton
Edward F. Cline
Starring Buster Keaton
Sybil Seely
Cinematography Elgin Lessley
Distributed by First National Pictures
Release date
  • November 10, 1921 (1921-11-10)
Running time
25 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
The Boat

The Boat is a 1921 American short comedy film written by, directed and starring Buster Keaton.[1] The International Buster Keaton Society takes its name, The Damfinos, from this film.[2]


Buster is married with two children (both of whom wear the porkpie hat made famous by Keaton). He has built a large boat he has christened Damfino inside his home. When he finishes and decides to take the boat out to sea, he discovers it is too large to fit through the door. Buster enlarges the opening a bit, but when he tows the boat out, it proves to be a bit bigger than he estimated, and the house collapses, utterly.

Buster loses his car during the attempt to launch the boat. The boat passes with impunity under the exceedingly low bridges of the Venice (California) canals thanks to Buster's boat design. While out on the Pacific, Buster and his family are caught in a terrible storm. The boat is barely seaworthy to begin with, and it does not help that Buster nails a picture up inside the boat, causing an improbable leak, or when he further drills through the bottom of the boat to let the water out (resulting in a spectacular gusher of a leak). He radios a Morse Code call for help, but when the navy or coast guard operator asks who it is, he answers, "d-a-m-f-i-n-o" (in Morse Code). The man interprets it as "damn if I know" and dismisses the call as a prank. Taking to a (ridiculously small) dinghy (that is in fact a bathtub), Buster and his family wash up on a deserted beach in dark of night. "Where are we?" asks his wife (via an intertitle), to which Buster replies, "Damn if I know" (mouthing the words to the camera, no intertitle is used).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: The Boat". Silent Era. Retrieved February 26, 2008. 
  2. ^ "The History of The Damfinos". Retrieved February 25, 2012. 

External links[edit]