Product Idea |

Buster Keaton - The Railrodder

17 comments

"The film begins with Keaton, playing an unnamed English gentleman, reading a newspaper in London, England. A full-page ad proclaiming "SEE CANADA NOW!" catches his attention. He promptly throws the newspaper away and jumps into the Thames. He subsequently reemerges on the east coast of Canada (at Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia), having apparently swum across the Atlantic, where he is greeted by a sign indicating the direction to the other side of Canada, 3,982½ miles away.

Buster starts his long hike, but soon finds a one-man, open-top rail maintenance vehicle, commonly known as a speeder, parked on a rail track. He sits in the driver's seat intending to take a nap, but he accidentally puts the vehicle in gear, and it speeds off down the track.

The remainder of the film is a series of mini-adventures shared by Buster and the motor car as the vehicle (with an apparently inexhaustible fuel supply) follows the Canadian National Railway line across Canada. En route, Buster is shown making breakfast, acting as a maid, and even doing laundry, never once intentionally stopping the vehicle (though he later does stop in order to obtain camouflage so he can do some bird-hunting). A running gag involves a storage compartment in the vehicle which seems to be infinite on the inside, as he pulls out everything from pillows and a bison fur coat to a full tea service. Along the way he also has some close calls with locomotives and even other speeders coming the other direction, but emerges harm-free each time.

The backdrop to all of this is the Canadian countryside, as the film provides scenic views of Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, the Rockies and the West Coast, c. 1964-65. Cities visited by Buster include Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.

The film ends with Buster finally arriving at the West Coast. After taking in the view for a few moments, he gets ready to start the long ride back, only to discover his rail car has been taken by a Japanese gentleman who has just emerged from the ocean—presumably the Strait of Georgia—and has decided to take his own tour of Canada. With a shrug, Buster starts walking down the long track." Next to perhaps  "The General", "The Railrodder" has got to be my favorite Buster Keaton film. So, what did I do? I built a brick version! The model is approximately 110 pieces making it fairly inexpensive. Unfortunately due to its small build, it is not power functions compatible.

If there are any scenes you would like me to recreate using this model please ask via the comments section. As always, please support and subscribe. Some upcoming models include a Reading Railroad A4b 0-4-0 "camelback" switcher, an Alco S1 in Lehigh and New England colors, and of course anything else you are willing to request.