May 12, 1928
Directed by Buster Keaton and Charles Reisner
The day before, he got the dreaded news. His production company was finished. He would no longer be able to make independent movies. Silent movies themselves were, as everyone could tell, a dying medium. At 32, his career was over. And since this career was the only thing he had done since he was an infant, this meant his life was over.
With nothing to lose, he decided to go for it. He had survived a near-death experience performing stunts many times before, but this would be the biggest and most dangerous stunt yet. It was built and ready to go. There would be no tests or safety measures. It was all or nothing. It wasn’t even a stunt that would require a death-defying feat of athleticism. He merely had to be in the right place at the right time, and not an inch out of place. When the moment came, and the film was rolling, the co-director and cameraman refused to watch. He stood on the green. The crew let it go, and it fell.
And he was still there. He looks behind him, runs off in alarm, and finishes the five-second shot with aplomb. But merely having survived is not enough. He must still confront Nature in her most powerful form – the hurricane. The world has crashed around him and now he must run into a wind that sweeps the ground away from him. Yet despite the unrelenting power of the storm, he keeps his head, rescues the girl, and proves to his father that he is a man.
It’s a miracle he survived, but it’s a miracle that any of us are here, living on the Earth and breathing this air. We have already survived. It’s time to run through the hurricane and rescue the girl.