For His Friend, The Butler.
Keaton’s exploration on the sport genre has a formula so effective and moving, that it still is applied to win over millions of heart even after a century; almost! This journey from a no one to someone speaks the most with a common man that has ever aspired to make it big. The only weak aspect of the film is the storytelling in its second act, that gets way too hefty for it to surf above the level fluently. It goes deep with multiple characters coming in and out, where before you know you are in the final round where Keaton knocks you out with a sweet satisfying punch.
The gags come in handy in a Buster Keaton film, but what’s surprising is that the obvious physical comic sequences like him training or boxing isn’t his major asset. The smooth smart gigs that are kept to help put the audience at ease while the story advances, is real gold. Like the table that sinks under the ground or a couple fighting over a window pane or bickering sweetly with no bars held.
And as far as gags that are weaved to draw in chuckles are concerned, behold Keaton when he is trying to hunt in a boat or getting tangled in a rope or worrying to death when he is told to fix a bulb. His awareness of the characters and the plot can be derived from the scale of brattiness he exposes when he is out with the nature and his butler still provides him the luxuries like a king living in a palace- even a cigarettes is smoked with the help of the butler while his mother talks sweet with him. Battling Butler is a one big fight that starts off energetically and gets tired in its middle act only to end up on a high pitched dramatic note.