Co-directed by actor Donald Crisp (who has a brief cameo as the portrait of the ship's captain—and, yes, it was used as a "bit"), who, it seemed, was determined to make the film dramatic, it's the story of an awkward young man, the well-to-do Rollo Treadway (Keaton, of course), who is determined to marry the girl of his dreams, the equally inept Betsy O'Brien (Kathryn McGuire), if only she wouldn't reject him as a bad prospect.
Of course, she does.
To mend his broken heart, Rollo decides to go, by himself, on the honeymoon cruise to Hawaii he'd intended to take his bride. Complications (as they are wont to do) arise and as Fate and luck would have it, both Betsy and Rollo are stranded on the same ship as it is set adrift by spies out to sea in the Pacific Ocean, carrying (what co-screenwriter Jean Havez called) "the most helpless people in the world" on a pilot-less ocean-going vessel.
It is always a personal joy to watch Buster Keaton and his films, especially when he is the captain of his fate (that is, behind the camera—his characters are usually victims of fate, despite their abilities, however clumsy or clever, to deal with it). With an entire ship as his stage, he can be depended to find a wealth of comedic possibilities throughout, whether it's set in the ship's galley, cockpit, fo'csle or funnel. Everything is fair game. Everything is a potential prop, and Keaton's ability to make the most of it...and display his amazing body of stunt-work...infuses his films with fun and not a little awe at what he can do, seemingly effortlessly.
|Magic lantern presentation of secret desire—
a poignant visual joke that lasts all of two seconds
|A comment, ladies and gentlemen, of the profligacy and privilege
of the wealthy as it appeared in 1924.
It's also a funny joke.
|Problem: how do you climb a ladder with one hand?
Or do you drop the girl?