The conventional screen writing books will tell you that bad luck can get a character into trouble, but good luck can never get him out. That’s cheating. The character has to devise the solution and make it happen.
But when Jack Sparrow sails into port on the top of the mast of a sinking ship, stepping onto the dock as gracefully as you please, luck has brought him in that way. While Jack is a skilled and clever fellow, luck serves him very well through all his adventures. He has charmed the gods.
Buster Keaton’s character was also a lucky guy. When, in Steamboat Bill Jr., the house wall gets blown down on top of him, and he fits neatly through the window, it was pure chance that saved him.
What brought me to think of this was my re-watching of the original cut of The Thief and the Cobbler. Way back in the day, I had the chance to see the original cut of the film. I remember being blown away, especially by the war machine sequence of the climax. I just got around to watching the entire “recobbled cut” on youtube.
As I watched it seemed to me that the cobbler is very much a Charlie Chaplin style character. while the thief is Buster Keaton. In particular, his Keatonesque act is apparent during the war machine sequence of the climax. It is a must see sequence for anyone in animation. It is absolutely spectacular, and NOT included on the horrible “Arabian Knights” video that was made from the parts.
His goal is to steal the three golden balls that are perched at the top of a massive war machine commanded by the evil “One Eye”. The Cobbler shoots a tack, which starts a chain reaction that destroys the preposterously huge war machine. As this world is exploding around him, the Thief manages to avoid obliteration many times over. He casually walks and flies through the conflagration of falling elephants, waves of arrows, and giant spiked balls. It is Buster Keaton on acid.
Here are the two vids that contain the part I’m talking of, but if you haven’t watched the whole thing, start from part 1 and make it full screen.