Customers and clerks frolic in a general store. Roscoe walks out of the freezer wearing a fur coat, then does some clever cleaver tossing. In Buster's film debut he buys a pail of molasses.

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The Garage (1920)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Roscoe and Buster operate a combination garage and fire station. In the first half they destroy a car left for them to clean. In the second half they go off on a false alarm and return to find their own building on fire.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Molly Malone
Back Stage (1919)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Roscoe and Buster are working at a vaudeville house. When the crew attacks the strongman for bullying his assistant, the man goes out on strike so the crew puts on a show. When the ... See full summary »

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
The Bell Boy (1918)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

At the Elk's Head Hotel bellhops torment the lobby, each other and guests. The elevator is powered by a stubborn horse. A sham robbery turns into a real one. And there is a chase on a ... See full summary »

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Roscoe, his wife and his mother-in-law run a seaside resort. Buster plays a gardener who puts out a fire started by Roscoe, then a delivery boy who fights with the cook St. John, then a cop.

Directors: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Out West (1918)
Short | Western | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A satire of western movies. Roscoe comes into town after riding the rails. The saloon has a trap door over a pit where bodies are tossed as they are shot. A black patron is taunted and shot... See full summary »

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Roscoe's wife wants him committed to the No Hope Sanitarium for a cure from drink. He is greeted by blood spattered, cleaver-wielding Buster and a barely clad female patient. He eats a thermometer and must be rushed into surgery.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
The Cook (1918)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Cooks make hovoc in seaside resort hotel.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
One Week (1920)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A newly wedded couple attempt to build a house with a prefabricated kit, unaware that a rival sabotaged the kit's component numbering.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In a drugstore Al and Roscoe are rivals for Alice. Roscoe slings melons and operates the gas pump. Buster delivers a wedding gown for Alice, begins modeling it, is mistaken for Alice and is kidnapped by Al.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Moonshine (1918)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A feud between the Owens and the Gillettes ends when the last remaining Gillette is killed, but new trouble erupts for the mountain folk with the arrival of a U.S. revenue agent and his ... See full summary »

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Convict 13 (1920)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
Oh Doctor! (1917)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Roscoe is a doctor who falls in love with a pretty woman whose boyfriend, in turn, falls in love with Roscoe's wife's jewelry.

Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Fatty / Saccharine (as 'Fatty' Arbuckle)
...
...
Josephine Stevens ...
Arthur Earle ...
Joe Bordeaux ...
Accomplice (as Joe Bordeau)
Luke the Dog
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Storyline

Customers and clerks frolic in a general store. Roscoe walks out of the freezer wearing a fur coat, then does some clever cleaver tossing. In Buster's film debut he buys a pail of molasses.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

23 April 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Metzgergeselle  »

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| (DVD)

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(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film of Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle's new Comique studio. See more »

Goofs

Buster drops a bucket of molasses on the floor, but as soon as he leaves the store both the bucket and the molasses puddle are gone. See more »

Quotes

Fatty: [dressed up as girls] Aren't you worried about splitting your mouth open even wider than it already is?
Alum: Don't worry about me, Sister.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Buster Keaton Rides Again (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fine cut
4 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle comedy is best remembered for featuring a young Buster Keaton, fresh from splitting with his family's roughhouse Vaudeville act, in his film debut. Buster gets quite a substantial part in this film and it's quite a funny one overall. "The Butcher Boy" has lots of laughs and is an example of pure old-fashioned slapstick done well, though it would seem to come from the brief era of two-reel comedies when filmmakers still imagined in one-reel segments as a matter of course.

The first half of the film takes place in a general store, with Arbuckle as the the butcher boy of the title. It's an excuse to mine the many possibilities for fast physical humor that a general store provides, and Arbuckle really shows himself to be a 300-pound acrobat, demonstrating subtlety, skill, and grace in his performance of what might have been unremarkable slapstick routines that raise them to a different level. A running gag has him flipping a large butcher knife casually so that it spins accurately into it's proper position stuck into the cutting board, and I'm still stunned that Arbuckle really seems to do it each time. There's also a really nice gag that sees him leaning on his scale and confused as to why his cuts of meat weigh so much.

Buster Keaton is a boy who comes into to buy some molasses, and performs deftly in a foot-stuck-to-floor routine that follows. Apart from the odd and almost unsettling half-smile, his idiosyncratic attitude and body language make him recognizable immediately as the Buster we know. He even has his eventually-trademarked flattened hat -- here destroyed for the first time when filled, of course, with molasses.

The second half of the film moves into more situation-based comedy and Arbuckle and his rival Al St. John dress in drag to infiltrate Fatty's girlfriend's boarding school. A lot of the humor also comes from the generally surreal and mysteriously laugh-inducing sight of these two odd fellows wearing drag and trying to "be girls." buster is in this segment too, but mostly stands there in the occasional cutaway, helping St. John.

The ending of "The Butcher Boy" becomes a little emptily frenetic, but on the whole and beyond its historical curiosity interest, it's a well-done comedy that gets just the knockabout laughs it is going for.


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