A judge and his frivolous wife are celebrating their second wedding anniversary. The wife insists he buy her a gift. He goes out and buys her a necklace and pendant, which he promptly loses... See full summary »
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 »
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle,
Al St. John
An inventor and his accomplice plan to rob a ship carrying gold bullion by using a submarine. A waiter overhears their plans, buys himself an admiral's uniform, tricks his way into command of the sub and plots to take the ship himself.
A rotund young man and his wife are spending the day at the beach at Coney Island. Feeling restless and wanting to go to the amusements at Luna Park, he ditches his wife. At the amusement park, he meets a pretty young woman. She arrived at the amusement park with one man, went in with another who had money to pay her entrance, before she ends up spending much of the day with the rotund husband, who managed to get the second man arrested. As the husband and the pretty young woman get into one misadventure after another, the first two men try to win back the affection of the pretty young woman, while the wife goes searching for her husband. The wife and the second man, who are old friends, team up in their quest, which leads to further misadventure for all five and the police. Written by
...because I actually think this is one of better-plotted Arbuckle/Keaton/St. John comedies. The three main characters remain consistent throughout--Amoral Fatty, Hot-Tempered Al, and Put-Upon-but-Resilient Buster--and their story lines are nicely interwoven. Good use is made of Luna Park, and Newton's law ("every action has an equal and opposite reaction") is thoroughly tested. The two women, Agnes Neilson and Alice Mann, are both skilled actresses, in the Vaudevillian manner, and have a few nice little comic bits of their own. (Also, love that striped bathing suit!) Some of the Keystone Kop ("Comique Cop"?) business got a little tiresome for me, but whatever...I've still watched this picture about 5 times, and will watch it more once I actually buy the DVD.
Another symptom of my oncoming mental illness is that, after seeing a pile of these Comique things, I'm starting to think Al St. John is kind of cute. I guess he's an acquired taste, like beer, or arsenic, but you can't deny his slapstick ability. Watch the terrific head-spin he makes after Fatty pushes him into Buster at the bell-ringing stand. And I love the way he looks just like a terrier when he makes his "angry" face.
Part of the fun of watching these shows is not so much to laugh at the falls and fighting--I'm not sure they would have been considered so hilarious even in their own day. But to know that these are all real stunts, that the actors really could jump and tumble like that, is awe-inspiring. It's like watching Jackie Chan's stunts. And the Comique boys didn't have the help of CG tricks, and probably could only do a limited number of takes.
The Alloy Orchestra's soundtrack for the Kino DVD is problematic for a lot of people, but boy, that's a rollicking Luna Park theme. Just try to resist dancing or at least bouncing to it.
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