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Fatty's Chance Acquaintance (1915)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  8 March 1915 (USA)
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Fatty and his domineering wife visit the park, where they encounter a pair of pickpockets.

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Title: Fatty's Chance Acquaintance (1915)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Billie Bennett ...
Fatty's Wife
Harry McCoy ...
Pickpocket
Minta Durfee ...
Pickpocket's Girlfriend
Frank Hayes ...
Cop
Ollie Carlyle ...
Girl with Purse
Billie Walsh ...
Boyfriend of Girl with Purse
Glen Cavender ...
Waiter
Ted Edwards ...
Ice Cream Vendor
Grover Ligon ...
Ice Cream Buyer
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Storyline

'Fatty' and his bossy, stingy wife are visiting the park at the same time that another couple is there. When his wife refuses to buy him a soft drink, Fatty walks over to a drinking fountain. Meanwhile, the other man, who is a purse snatcher, has targeted Fatty's wife as his next victim. Fatty notices the purse snatcher's pretty companion sitting on a bench by herself, and begins to flirt with her even as the purse snatcher is trying to evade a policeman who has spotted him at work. Written by Snow Leopard

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

8 March 1915 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene where Fatty's wife's purse is stolen, the "pickpocket" at first has a cigarette in his mouth. The next shot has him hooking her purse off her lap with his cane, and no cigarette is visible in his hands or mouth. Next when he arises off the bench after acquiring the contents of the purse, he again is smoking a cigarette. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another day at the park with Roscoe & Company
30 April 2005 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

I viewed this silent one-reel comedy at a public screening along with several other shorts, all made for Keystone in 1915 and all featuring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle. Many of the same supporting players turn up in film after film, and perhaps it goes without saying that some of the same plot elements and gags turn up repeatedly too, although in fairness it should be added that the filmmakers never expected or intended for these shorts to be shown back-to-back: each Keystone comedy was meant as a curtain-raiser for the main feature, along with short dramas, documentaries, newsreels, and, somewhat later, cartoons. Still, audiences of the time surely must have recognized certain story motifs, distinctive players, and favorite comic bits, even when seeing the films over an extended period, especially these "park" comedies.

Fatty's Chance Acquaintance is a typical example of a Keystone park comedy, set entirely outdoors and featuring all the key ingredients: flirtatious shenanigans, larceny, slapstick violence, and vigorous efforts by law officers to restore order. I wouldn't call this a great comedy or one that stands out from the pack, but it's amusing enough and provides a few laughs along the way. Perhaps the most notable aspect is that, in comparison with Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle (who both starred in and directed this film) did not entirely dominate his productions, but rather tended to work as part of an ensemble. He was certainly generous with his fellow actors in sharing screen time and gags: some of the funniest moments here belong to supporting players Frank Hayes, Harry McCoy, and Billie Bennett. Hayes, an older character actor with the face of a goblin, plays a cop and gets perhaps the biggest laugh of the picture simply peering through shrubbery in a tight close-up. This cop is watching thief Harry McCoy, who snatches a purse Chaplin-style with the hook of his cane, and is pursued doggedly thereafter. Roscoe's wife is portrayed by Billie Bennett in the typical Haughty Duchess manner (earning a hearty raspberry from Roscoe when her back is turned), but once she realizes she's been robbed she drops the Grande Dame act and shows surprising vigor in tackling and pummeling the person she believes responsible -- although as it happens, she's chosen the wrong guy.

For his part, Roscoe wastes no time in ditching his wife and taking up with a much more attractive and agreeable young lady who, as it turns out, is Harry's girlfriend and partner-in-crime. (This young woman is played by Minta Durfee, who, off-screen, was Mrs. Roscoe Arbuckle at the time.) When she announces she's hungry, Roscoe promises to treat her to a meal at the park's outdoor café, a meal he expects to pay for with his wife's money -- unaware that her pocket-book has already been cleaned out by Harry, who is busy getting chased all over the park by the goblin-faced cop. And so it goes!

Like I said, this film is not a particular stand-out, but it's pure Keystone stuff and fun while it lasts. It often appears that the plots of these movies were concocted just moments before the cameras were set up for the first shot, and that spontaneity a big part of their charm.


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