The Great Stone Face portrays Luke Shannon, a “tintype” portrait photographer who develops a serious crush on Sally, a beautiful woman who works as a secretary for MGM’s newsreel department. Luke’s primary rival for Sally’s affections is a cameraman for the company, so Luke decides to sign to the newsreel department in hopes of impressing her. However, his hand with a movie camera is not especially sure at first; he mistakenly double exposes a reel of film that results in battleships sailing down Broadway, while his attempts to get footage of a Tong battle seem more successful until an organ grinder’s monkey runs off with his film. Luke gets the axe before long, but he’s not about to give up, and he tries to find another way to impress his lady love.
The effete son of a cantankerous riverboat captain comes to join his father’s crew.
To reconcile with his girlfriend, a bookish college student tries to become an athlete.
Alfred’s father feels his son has grown up too comfortably and as a result has not become what a man should be. To remedy this predicament he sends his son Alfred off on a hunting trip. On the trip, in the midst of many follies brought on by his inexperience with the outdoors, he meets a young mountain girl and falls in love with her. Alfred’s butler, who has accompanied him on the outing, is sent to arrange the marriage with the girl’s father, who thinks Alfred is too weak to become a member of the family. In an attempt to change the father’s mind, the butler tells the girl’s father and brother that Alfred is actually Alfred “Battling” Butler, a professional boxer. The deception works and a wedding is arranged. Comic mischief ensues as Alfred and his butler attempt to make their newly fabricated story seem plausible to the family of his new bride.
Keaton portrays Friendless, who travels west to try to make his fortune. Once there, he tries his hand at bronco-busting, cattle wrangling, and dairy farming, eventually forming a bond with a cow named “Brown Eyes.” Eventually he finds himself leading a herd of cattle through Los Angeles.
A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries — by 7 p.m. today.
Two spoiled rich people find themselves trapped on an empty passenger ship.
A film projectionist longs to be a detective, and puts his meagre skills to work when he is framed by a rival for stealing his girlfriend’s father’s pocketwatch.
“The Three Ages,” Buster Keaton’s first feature-length film after a number of comedy shorts, is his parody of Griffith’s “Intolerance.” Keaton tells three parallel stories about the perils of romance, one set in the Stone Age, one during the Roman Empire, and one during the 20th century.