Artist that he was, I think he might have loved it because of its purity. There are very few titles; the characters’ emotions are shown rather than described, through fine, delicate performances, and the gags flow naturally from the situations with endless inventiveness. And only the hero and the title character have names, and that because the plot depends on it -- the others are known by their roles, like "The Girl" or "His Manager." The story is very simple: Alfred Butler, a pampered, helpless rich boy is sent on a camping trip by his exasperated father to “make a man of him.” This laudable end is thwarted somewhat by the fact that he is accompanied by his super-efficient valet, played by the wonderful Snitz Edwards, who makes sure that his charge’s bathwater is hot and his dinner is served on a suitable damask cloth, even if it is in the woods.
|Alfred's palatial tent|
Alfred decides to try fishing, which does not go well. Then, seeing some ducks placidly paddling by, he climbs in a boat with his rifle and attempts to shoot one, leading to one of Keaton’s most hilarious series of gags, which culminates in his ending up standing in water up to his neck as the Girl paddles by in her boat. Politely doffing his hat, again, he slips under the water and she rescues him, taking him back to his luxurious campsite, where Snitz is preparing a meal.
|The Girl tells Alfred off for careless shooting|
|The start of their dinner date|
The next morning, he tells Snitz that he’s decided he’d like .to marry the girl. “Arrange it,” he says. When she comes by to see him, he works up the courage to ask her — and she says yes. But her family don’t exactly see it that way until Snitz has the bright idea of telling her father and brother that he is, in fact, the lightweight boxer who shares his name — Alfred “Battling”
|The end of their dinner date|
Alfred and Snitz attend the fight, which Battling wins by a knockout, to Alfred’s chagrin. Next, Battling is scheduled to fight the Alabama Murderer. Alfred decides to do the right thing and go back and tell the Girl the truth. “I’d rather loose her that way, “ he says. Disconsolately, he and Snitz board the train taking them back to the mountains. And when they reach her town, to Alfred’s horror, he is met by a welcoming brass band ready to escort him
|After seeing Battling Butler fight|
But unbeknownst to Alfred and Snitz, the real Battling Butler is on the same train, and he is seriously annoyed to find another guy, as he thinks, impersonating him. Meanwhile, instead of confessing to the Girl and giving her up as he expected, Alfred finds that his new prospective in-laws have, as a nice surprise, scheduled a wedding right away. The Girl appears in a lovely bridal gown and veil, and Alfred can’t help going through with it. Most unfortunately, the announcement of the real Battling’s next fight is printed in the newspaper — and he’s starting training the next day. “You’ll have to leave right away,” the new father-in-law says.
|Married but no honeymoon|
They sadly say goodbye, and Snitz picks him up in the Rolls. There’s a beautiful shot where Alfred looks longingly out the back window as his bride recedes in the distance. They decide to go to the site of Battling’s training camp so he can write to her from there.
At the same time, the real Battling’s attractive wife has arrived at the local hotel (”Silver Warm Springs”). Annoyed at being shut out of the training area, she goes for a walk to pick flowers, and breaks the heel of her shoe — and gets a ride back from the gentlemanly Alfred, who just happens to be driving by. With his impeccable manners, he hands her out of the car on arriving at the hotel — and this is witnessed with some ire by Battling. It turns out that Mrs. Battling is a flirt, and Battling is the jealous type, which does not bode well for Alfred. To add to his troubles, his new wife arrives at the hotel and insists on staying.
|Mr and Mrs Butler meet Mr and Mrs Butler|
|Just getting into the ring presents a problem|
|She sees his fight with the real Battling|
|They only have eyes for each other|
The last shot sees Mr and Mrs Alfred Butler walking down the street, blind to everything but each other — oblivious to the fact that Alfred is still wearing boxing trunks and gloves.
In essence, this is a deeply romantic love story. Keaton always treated women with respect, and the character of the girl is an excellent example -- she is not silly, she is not flighty, she is not dishonest (qualities that so often provide plots for inferior stories). Played by the very attractive (but not overly glamorous) Sally O'Neill, she is a good-hearted, frank girl, clearly the best thing that has ever happened to Alfred. Almost the only thing he has going for him — besides his exquisite manners — is the fact that he realizes this at once. What really "makes a man" of him, and enables him to stand up to a mean bully like Battling, is her love and belief in him, which never wavers.
The entire film, in a pretty good print with a musical soundtrack, is available on Youtube