Public Domain Theater: Battling Butler (& “The Adventurer”)

Welcome to Public Domain Theater, your home for the wonderful world of films that have (in the United States, at least) fallen into the public domain, and are free for everyone to see!

This month, we have for you Battling Butler, a comedy from the silent era of film, with one of the most classic plots imaginable: boy meets girl, boy lies to girl, boy has to go to ridiculous lengths to maintain the lie … hijinks, hijinks, hijinks … love conquers all.

The appeal here isn’t really the story. Rather, it’s an excuse for Buster Keaton, that master of old time slapstick, to pretend to be a guy pretending to be a champion boxer, and seeing just how much physical comedy they can get out of that premise. If you’re at all familiar with Ol’ Buster, you know that’s a lot.

But maybe a silent, slapstick comedy isn’t your cup of tea … well, too bad! Because our opening short, “The Adventurer”, is from exactly the same genre, just swap out Buster Keaton for Charlie Chaplin, and replace “rich fop pretending to be boxer” with “escaped convict pretending to be high society gentleman”.

What we lack in variety this month, I assure you, we more than make up for in fast-paced comedy classics starring the masters of the art form – all right here on Public Domain Theater!

Opening Short:

Feature Presentation: