Buster Keaton was no stranger to landing on his backside, but even he found the Steamboat Bill Jr (1928) shoot gruelling. “I took a pretty good beating,” he said, which is quite an admission from a man almost addicted to high-risk stunts. The film, which is rereleased in UK cinemas this month, is more violent than most. It sees Keaton jumping between paddle steamers, and being tossed in the air by a storm created by gallons of water and six high-powered wind machines.
Film-making was always a bruising business for Keaton. He had broken his ankle larking around on a moving staircase for The Electric House, been knocked unconscious by cannon fire on the set of