Battling Butler - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Battling Butler Reviews

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½ March 20, 2019
For His Friend, The Butler.

Battling 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.
½ May 23, 2013
human cartoon buster keaton brings it.
September 29, 2012
A case of mistaken identity and coincidence, "Battling Butler" is some great irony but with not as much of the Keaton stunts that are usually in his films.
½ April 28, 2012
Amusing Buster Keaton movie that sort of loses it towards the end, but oh well. Keaton stars as a spoiled rich brat being confused for a boxer and, yes, must learn to fight to win the hand of the girl he loves! Not his best, but by no means his worst either.
March 8, 2012
Keaton enters the boxing ring as an imposter of the lightweight champion of the world to impress a girl. Needless to say he is in a tight spot.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2011
Something that often goes unnoticed: Under Buster Keaton's everyman costumes, he had a rather elegant, aristocratic face. So it's easy to accept him in "Battling Butler" as pampered millionaire Alfred Butler, looking trim and sophisticated in his tailored suits. And given that Keaton had quite a few beans in the bank by this stage of his career, perhaps the posh world shown in the introduction wasn't far from his own reality.

The premise of this 71-minute silent is not so plausible, but it does supply plenty of laughs. Mansion-bound Alfred decides a hunting getaway is just what he needs, so he and his valet (amusing Snitz Edwards, who's even more petite than Keaton) take off for the woods. Keaton has lots of fun with sight gags as his character continues to indulge his need for luxury, even while camping.

Everything changes when Alfred meets a pretty, unnamed "mountain girl" (Sally O'Neill). He almost shoots her (oops), but they soon feel romantic sparks. However, her brawny father and brother sneer at wimpy Alfred and scorn the courtship. Noting that a current boxing champ also happens to be named Alfred Butler, the valet gets a spontaneous idea and bluffs that his boss is actually the boxer on retreat (yes, this story is pre-television and Internet). The girl's family is impressed, but now Keaton is stuck in a lie. This sets in motion an extended charade of him pretending to be a boxer in training (lots of physical humor with sparring partners and boxing-ring ropes), while the real champion (Francis McDonald) learns of the ruse and aims to teach him a harsh lesson. But we know our plucky hero will prove his mettle in the end, don't we?

The wiry star shows some legitimate punching power, but a comic scene where the boxer's "punished" wife sports a black eye reminds us of the film's age.
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2011
Battling Butler is another of Buster Keaton's lesser known films and while not quite up with his masterpieces, is still a great and hilarious film. Seeing Keaton as a member of high society certaintly is different but he still manages to get himself into plenty of trouble regardless of his wealth! Without giving away the entirety of the story, let's say that Keaton's character Alfred Butler has the same name as Alfred Battling Butler, a light-weight boxing champion. Needless to say his manhood is called into question and what's supposed to be a save from humiliation results in Keaton's character getting into the ring! While not quite up to the other films in his filmography, its a gut wrenching hilarious ride that is well worth taking!
½ November 17, 2011
3.5: Not Keaton's best film, but I've yet to see one that isn't fantastically funny. He can play just about any type of character and make it work.
October 24, 2011
This film was rarely funny, just some of the boxing scenes. Surprisingly, I had to watch it with Spanish titles. I think it has one of Keaton's best performances though, I loved the expression of his eyes. Nice film.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2010
One of my favourite Keaton films. Hilarious and one of the best stories of Keaton's films.
May 1, 2010
a strange film by silent comedy standards where narrative complexity and character development take precedence over gags. not that there aren't gags here, of course. keaton makes great use of the boxing ring and all its accouterments. not a laugh a minute, but anyone with an admiration for keaton or silent comedy has to see this one.
Super Reviewer
September 17, 2009
A decent Buster Keaton feature with still the same comic and romantic touches mixed perfectly into a film.

½ May 13, 2009
Battling Butler focuses less on the thrills you would expect to find in a Keaton film, and more on the character Buster plays. There is, of course, plenty of comic material available here, and the film does not disappoint. The ā??trainingā?? scenes are probably the funniest moments in the film, but the film is most exciting at its climax (which is probably an obvious statement.) What really sets Battling Butler apart from Keatonā??s other work (and silent films in general) is that the girl has a refreshing amount of developed personality. Thatā??s not to say anything against Keatonā??s other films or leading ladies, but itā??s nice to see in this film. Battling Butler isnā??t as well known as most of Busterā??s other independent features, but itā??s well worth a watch.
January 14, 2008
i think i could beat the hell out of both of these two.. how can i take this seriously
December 10, 2007
Pretty funny, although it had some slow spots. Keaton gives another brilliant performance as a rich weakling who has to learn how to box. There is much comedy to be mined from this situation and Keaton does not fail us.
½ December 7, 2007
This film is SO underrated! It's a great character film from a comic filmmaker who usually focused on thrills. Plus his leading lady here has a really spicy personality - rare in a silent comedy flick.
December 1, 2007
bussie=number one of all time
November 19, 2007
Here is one of your Keaton "sleepers". No one talks much about this film, but it's well worth the effort. The boxing finale is one of Buster's best transformations, as well as being the most UNLIKELY one (even topping "College", in my opinion). ANY film Keaton made as an independent is worth watching, if not owning, and this os no exception.
October 4, 2007
Short on gags for Keaton.
September 9, 2007
from what scenes i have seen, it looks really good.
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