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His Wedding Night (1917)

 |  Short, Comedy  |  20 August 1917 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 530 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

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.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Drugstore soda clerk
...
Rival Suitor
...
Delivery Boy
Alice Mann ...
Alice
Arthur Earle
Jimmy Bryant
Josephine Stevens ...
Lady Customer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alice Lake
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

20 August 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fatty se zení  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the few films in which Buster Keaton smiles. See more »

Goofs

When the second woman to try on the perfume comes, she leans against Fatty's freshly painted sign advertising $4.00/oz. However, instead of the sign showing up reversed on her dress, it shows up so we can read it - which is not the way it would have imprinted itself. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fair to middling, but Buster provides some nice moments
2 May 2003 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton made several enjoyable two-reel comedies together during Buster's apprenticeship as a filmmaker, but His Wedding Night is not one of their better collaborations. It's an early credit for Buster, his fourth film, and he doesn't appear until almost the halfway point, but within moments of his entrance --as a dress maker's delivery boy on a bike-- he promptly steals the show with a spectacular flip over the bicycle rack. (And he made such stunts look easy! Easy for him, anyway.) Buster also appears in drag, in a wedding gown no less, and milks his entrance in this costume for all it's worth.

Meanwhile, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is up to his usual antics. Here he's a clerk in a drug store, elaborately mixing malted drinks, flipping utensils in the air and deftly catching them. The location offers ample opportunity for of Keystone-style shenanigans, as when Fatty tussles with a mule, insults customers, bilks a rich man out of money for "gasoline" that is actually water, and once again engages in a rivalry with nasty Al St. John over a pretty girl. It's no mystery why Al St. John is so unappealing in these comedies (for one thing, when the girl jilts him he has a tendency to assault her, as he does here), but it's remarkable that Arbuckle manages to be so likable when his character behaves as he does. In this film, for instance, a running gag involving chloroform leads to a moment when Fatty deliberately renders a pretty girl unconscious so he can kiss her. You may or may not find that gag funny, but when he performs it Roscoe comes off like a naughty boy, not a pervert. Within a few years, of course, after the sex scandal that destroyed his reputation and his career, it would have been impossible for Arbuckle to have performed such a scene without stirring deeply unpleasant associations in viewers' minds.

Over all this film feels like a somewhat routine effort, not as inspired as the best Arbuckle/Keaton shorts produced for Roscoe's "Comique" company. And it's marred by an interlude of racial humor near the beginning that leaves a sour after-taste. The scene involves a customer in the store, an African-American lady who is the butt of several gags-- literally, in one instance. Racial gags turn up frequently in silent comedy, and the scene in His Wedding Night is far from being the worst offender in the Comique series (that dubious distinction belongs to a mean-spirited sequence in Out West which ruins that film), but the bottom line where this comedy is concerned is that the material in question simply isn't funny.

The best Comique shorts, such as The Bell Boy and The Garage, are full of inventive gags and routines that still provoke laughs. His Wedding Night doesn't hold up nearly so well, but the limber young Buster Keaton provides it with some enjoyable moments, and the best reason to watch.


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