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Fatty Joins the Force (1913)

After rescuing the Police Commissioner's daughter from drowning, Fatty is rewarded with a position on the force, but soon finds that the job isn't all it's cracked up to be.



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Uncredited cast:
Fatty (uncredited)
Charles Avery ...
Arresting Cop (uncredited)
Lou Breslow ...
Boy (uncredited)
Harry DeRoy ...
Bald Apprehending Cop (uncredited)
Minta Durfee ...
Nursemaid (uncredited)
Dot Farley ...
Fatty's Sweetheart (uncredited)
Billy Gilbert ...
Fighter (uncredited)
William Hauber ...
Cop at Station House (uncredited)
Bert Hunn ...
Cop at Station House (uncredited)
George Jeske ...
Arresting Cop (uncredited)
Edgar Kennedy ...
Jealous Cop in Park (uncredited)
Hank Mann ...
Cop at Station House (uncredited)
George Nichols ...
Police Commissioner (uncredited)
Mack Swain ...
Cop at Station House (uncredited)
Jack White ...
Pie Thrower (uncredited)


When 'Fatty' rescues a young girl from drowning, she turns out to be the police commissioner's daughter. The grateful commissioner offers Fatty a position on the force, and at first Fatty is very pleased with his new position. But he soon runs into difficulties, as his attempt to break up a fistfight only brings him embarrassment. Then, when he confronts a group of mischievous young boys, his real problems begin. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

24 November 1913 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Freak Coward  »

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Did You Know?


One of the films that lay claim to being the first pie in the face. Young rowdies mash a pie in new cop Fatty's face as he sits on a park bench. See more »


When Roscoe chases the five boys after being hit in the face with a pie, the amount of pie on his face almost vanishes while he's chasing them, but then returns when he gets to the pond. See more »


[first title card]
Title Card: It turns out to be the police commissioner's child.
See more »


Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

The Keystone Kops meet Franz Kafka
11 November 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

As Keystone comedies go, this is a pretty dark and disturbing piece of work. There's an amusing moment or two along the way, thanks largely to Roscoe Arbuckle's physical dexterity, but ultimately the story is more harrowing than funny, with an ending that's like something out of Kafka. And once you know the details of Arbuckle's tragic life and career the distressing impact of Fatty Joins the Force is only compounded.

Like so many Keystones this one begins in a park. Fatty and his wife encounter cop Edgar Kennedy, who apparently tosses off a sassy remark (about Roscoe's girth?) en route to a flirtation with a nursemaid. While the cop and the maid are chatting, the nurse's charge, a little girl, wanders off and then falls into the lake. Fatty comes to the rescue and saves the girl, who turns out to be the Police Commissioner's daughter. Fatty the hero is 'rewarded' with a position on the police force, but quickly gets into trouble. He falls afoul of a group of teenage boys who easily get the better of him. And then, due to a misunderstanding, the one-time hero is mistaken for a dangerous "wild man" and winds up in jail himself, disgraced and sobbing with frustration while his wife flirts with the Police Commissioner.

How funny is that finale? Not so funny, if you ask me. When you consider that, several years after this short comedy was produced, Arbuckle himself plummeted from a position of popularity and respect to genuine and lasting disgrace, the weepy close-up of Roscoe in his jail cell that concludes this film is far more upsetting than it might otherwise be. The most credible research indicates that Arbuckle was not guilty of any crime, but he was ruined and Hollywood was never the same, afterward. Of course, when this short was made all of that was far in the future, but it's difficult not to think of it while watching. The final close-up suggests an infamous composite photo that ran in the tabloids at the height of the scandal in 1921, showing a grim-faced Roscoe supposedly behind bars in San Francisco, facing rape and manslaughter charges. (The charges were real, all right, but the photo was faked.) Even taken on its own terms, Fatty Joins the Force is short on laughs. Roscoe executes a couple of funny falls, and reacts strenuously to a pie in the face, but otherwise, given the unhappy connotations, this movie is about as comical as Hitchcock's The Wrong Man.

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