Poll

What is your favorite?

[don't like any]
0 (0%)
[haven't seen any]
6 (66.7%)
[other]
0 (0%)
Leading Lizzie Astray (1914)
0 (0%)
Fatty's Magic Pants (1914)
0 (0%)
Fatty and Minnie He-Haw (1914)
0 (0%)
Mabel and Fatty's Wash Day (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty and Mabel's Simple Life (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty and Mabel at the San Diego Exposition (1915)
0 (0%)
Mabel, Fatty and the Law (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty's New Role (1915)
0 (0%)
Mabel and Fatty's Married Life (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty's Reckless Fling (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty's Chance Acquaintance (1915)
0 (0%)
That Little Band of Gold (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty's Faithful Fido (1915)
0 (0%)
When Love Took Wings (1915)
0 (0%)
Wished on Mabel (1915)
0 (0%)
Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World's Fair at San Francisco (1915)
0 (0%)
Mabel's Wilful Way (1915)
0 (0%)
Miss Fatty's Seaside Lovers (1915)
0 (0%)
Fatty's Tintype Tangle (1915)
1 (11.1%)
Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916)
0 (0%)
He Did and He Didn't (1916)
0 (0%)
His Wife's Mistakes (1916)
0 (0%)
The Waiters' Ball (1916)
0 (0%)
The Butcher Boy (1917)
1 (11.1%)
The Rough House (1917)
0 (0%)
His Wedding Night (1917)
0 (0%)
Oh Doctor! (1917)
0 (0%)
Coney Island (1917)
0 (0%)
Out West (1918)
0 (0%)
The Bell Boy (1918)
0 (0%)
Moonshine (1918)
0 (0%)
Good Night, Nurse! (1918)
0 (0%)
The Cook (1918)
0 (0%)
Love (1919)
0 (0%)
Back Stage (1919)
0 (0%)
The Hayseed (1919)
0 (0%)
The Garage (1920)
1 (11.1%)
Special Delivery (1922)
0 (0%)
Leap Year (1924)
0 (0%)
The Iron Mule (1925)
0 (0%)
Curses! (1925)
0 (0%)
The Movies (1925)
0 (0%)
My Stars (1926)
0 (0%)
Fool's Luck (1926)
0 (0%)
The Red Mill (1927)
0 (0%)
Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931)
0 (0%)
Bridge Wives (1932)
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Author Topic: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'  (Read 802 times)

pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 03:02:00 AM »


Moonshine  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1918)

Anarchically self-referential fun. There are some good, standard bits here (the clown car gag, the stuntwork of Arbuckle and Keaton on the side of the cliff), but the real joy of Moonshine is its narrative irreverence. The film vacillates almost randomly between being a typical two-reeler about moonshiners and revenue agents; and being a film about the production of that same two-reel comedy. So when Alice and Fatty start kissing, her father complains about the believability: "That is crazy! You beat up my daughter and she jumps into your arms!" But Fatty counters, "Look, this is only a two-reeler. We don't have time to build up to love scenes." And the father concedes, "In that case, go ahead. It's your movie."

Most of the self-referential items are contained in the title cards (somewhat calling to mind The Word segment on The Colbert Report), though there's also a fantastic scene where Keaton seems to mock Al St. John's exaggerated expressions, leading to an awesome monkey-face face-off (which itself calls to mind Keaton's monkey impression in The Playhouse). Moonshine just feels like a film where Fatty and friends were out to amuse themselves and have a good time, whether audiences liked it or not, and it's all the more enjoyable for that reason, despite the irreverence occasionally crossing over into laziness. It's a shame that a better print hasn't turned up.

Grade: B-

pixote
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 12:50:35 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 03:07:23 AM »


Good Night, Nurse!  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1918)

Nicely made short that's just a little too short on laughs. I like the spirit of the rain-soaked beginning and Buster in drag getting blown across the sidewalk on his belly by the wind in his umbrella and I like the setting of the the sanitarium and the playful craziness, but there's just something missing. Nice to see Buster and Al St. John paired together for once (however briefly), and the scene of Buster flirting with Fatty (in drag as a nurse) is a definite highlight and probably would have made for some amazing outtakes.

Grade: C+

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 03:11:10 AM »


The Cook  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1918)

The first reel has most of the best moments: Arbuckle in the kitchen showing off his juggling skills; Buster almost getting his neck chopped off and Fatty lifting him up by the head to make sure it's still attached; both guys separately mimicking an exotic dancer, with Fatty turning kitchen utensils into drag apparel. The second half drags a bit, with most highlights going to Luke the dog and the silhouetted humor of Arbuckle trying to catch a fish.

Grade: B-

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2017, 03:15:52 AM »


Back Stage  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1919)

The theater setting makes for a somewhat interesting comparison with Keaton's The Play House, but the focus here on an indomitable strong man doesn't really seem to fit Arbuckle's strengths nor Keaton's, for that matter. Buster has the best laugh of the entire film, as he struggles to free himself from a barbell that has him pinned to the door by the back of his neck. There's also a really good visual joke with a sign that, when halfway covered up, reveals an unintended message. Other good bits would be improved upon by Keaton in his later film: the facade of a house falling on Fatty, who doesn't even notice; Buster appearing to go down a set of stairs; and a few others. Keaton doing parkour flips in Egyptian drag sounds amazing as I write it but is actually just okay. It's amazing how much these films inform the style and comedy of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons.

Grade: C+

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 03:21:09 AM »


The Hayseed  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1919)

My least favorite of the Arbuckle-Keaton films, as it offers no true laughs and just a few hesitant smiles. Molly Malone probably has the best moment: realizing that Fatty is about to give her a ring, she slips her other suitor's ring off her finger and hides it in her cleavage, all the while with a perfect expression on her face. That other suitor is John Coogan (Jackie's father), and his role as the villainous town sheriff drags the film down. I don't find him nearly as appealing as Al St. John. Intertitles vary on the prints of these films, but I believe this in the first time they've referenced Buster by name. Even in the self-referential Moonshine, Buster was the only main actor not to get a shout-out, which seems like an odd omission. Perhaps he hadn't fully earned his stripes yet.

The most interesting aspect of The Hayseed is the foreshadowing of Fatty being assumed guilty of a crime just on the word of a single accuser. Even Luke the Dog loses faith in him. It's too bad Buster couldn't have come to his rescue so easily in real life, but I have new respect for his mockery of William S. Hart in The Frozen North.

Grade: C

pixote
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 03:22:42 AM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2017, 03:32:13 AM »


The Garage  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1920)

The on-screen Arbuckle-Keaton collaboration saved the best for last. The Garage was the 14th film they made together and the final one before Arbuckle signed a deal with Paramount and Keaton took over Comique and started directing his own films. In many ways, The Garage feels like a Keaton movie, but I can't tell if that's just because he revisited so many of the gags here in his own films (most notably The Blacksmith, which is set in a very similar garage and which I'd argue is a less successful film).

I really love the camaraderie between Keaton and Arbuckle true co-stars at last. Other highlights: Luke the dog chasing Keaton and biting off the seat off his pants when Keaton gets caught in a fence; a woman accusing Keaton of flashing her and Keaton manufacturing an outfit from a billboard before a cop arrives but then taking it too far; everything involves the spinning wheel on the garage floor; the fact that the oil on fatty's face didn't turn into a blackface gag (though it certainly seemed headed in that direction; I wonder if something was edited out there at some point);  the photograph of Mabel Normand; the excitement of the garage fire; Molly Malone caught in the wires and the attempt to save her; someone jumping doing to the life net but missing the target. It's all quite good.

Based on these shorts, I think it's likely that Arbuckle is underrated as a director, or at least overlooked. I'm now more interested than ever in checking out his work before and after these collaborations with Keaton. This series of shorts didn't have any real highs but also very few lows (aside from the racist moments). His films seem to be very consistently likable, which perhaps is what happens when you've made 80+ of them. Keaton's shorts, by contrast, have some amazing highs building on the foundation laid by Arbuckle and others but also, I think, more lows. Despite starting out with a bang with One Week, there's still a learning curve to his filmmaking. Arbuckle's experienced hand has him perhaps coasting a little more at this point in his career but, again, with consistently solid results. The scandal that ruined his career was tragic on multiple levels, including as a great loss for cinema. To hell with William Randolph Hearst to hell with overweight legends dying before age 47, especially ones that reportedly had amazing singing voices and were well positioned to move from silent film comedy into talkies. Ugh.

Grade: B

pixote
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 12:49:27 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2017, 06:40:12 AM »
Sometimes I think pixote spends as much time as 1SO binging weird niches but is more surreptitious about it.
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pixote

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Re: Arbuckle, Roscoe 'Fatty'
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2018, 12:16:14 AM »
The Iron Mule  (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle & Grover Jones, 1925)
After Our Hospitality, Buster let his blacklisted buddy Roscoe use (and destroy) the train from that film in his own short (under the "William Goodrich" pseudonym). Keaton even makes an incognito cameo and probably did a few stunts as a stand-in. The results are ... sad. The Iron Mule offers few if any hints of comic genius. The whole thing just feels derivative and stale.
Grade: C

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.