Starring: Buster Keaton, Anne Cornwall, Flora Bramley, Harold Goodwin
Director: James W Horne, Buster Keaton
Year of release: 1927
Country: USA
Screen shots

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Plot summary
It's graduation day for Ronald (Keaton) and his classmates. Amongst his fellow graduates are his girlfriend Mary Haynes and the school's star athlete and rival for Mary's affections, Jeff Brown who is finally graduating after seven years.

As part of his graduation ceremony, Ronald is given a special award as the school's most brilliant scholar. As part of his acceptance speech, Ronald gives to the auditorium a speech entitled "The Curse of Athletics" in which he praises studying and denounces sports. This earns him the ridicule of his classmates and the scorn of his girlfriend.

"When you change your mind about sports, then maybe I'll change my mind about you!" she informs him.

In an effort to win her back, Ronald enrolls in Clayton College with Mary and lots of his otehr schoolmates. He then enrolls in just about every sport he can in an attempt to win Mary back.

Of course, he also ends up making a fool of himself in just about every sport he's enrolled in and Ronald's ineptness earns him ruthless teasing and harassment from Clayton's self-assured jocks.

Just when things can't seem to get any worse, Ronald finds himself gaining an unlikely ally from the school dean, Principal Edwards, who is sympathetic to Ronald's plight, having suffered heartache himself. Dean Edwards arranges to have Ronald made the coxswain of the college rowing team for the upcoming race with their rival rowing team.

The coach isn't particularly eager to have the bookish weakling Ronald in the crew, so he arranges for the crew's normal coxn to slip a sleeping drug Ronald's tea. However, Ronald switches cups and soon ends up coxing the race, but only after capsizing the crew

Rowing info
Ronald has a seriously big rudder - which he's not scared to use even when it comes off in the middle of the race (don't try this at home kids)...

Quite a long rowing section in this one - It was filmed in Newport Bay, in Southern California in 1929, and the rowers were club oarsmen from the San Diego rowing club and some local boating guys that weren't experienced rowers, probably a Cal guy or two in there.

The film includes shots them rowing past the LA Coliseum stadium, just as it was being completed for the 1932 Olympics. Other shots were Fraternity row at USC.

They also repeatedly row past the Balboa Pavilion, which is still standing prominently on the Newport Peninsula, as well as the Balboa Yacht club.

The building that was used as a rowing club in the film was a real boating club that has since burned down, but they didn't have racing shells, mostly dories and rowboats, and I imagine had a few singles around.

I read that the eights were built by a boat builder in Newport who'd never built racing shells before, but the boats looked a bit aged, so who knows!

Usual stuff of rowing movies - clashes, close finishes and capsizing... all very entertaining in a silent movie slapstick way.

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