Arbuckle's last contribution to the silver screen before a certain scandal occurred
After almost ten years with a gigantic success to the movie-going public, and with Charlie Chaplin as his only big competitor in the business, Roscoe Arbuckle's reputation is given a blow from which it would never recover after a few weeks of scandals in the newspapers. I suppose most readers are familiar with the story. Roscoe is accused of murder; through three court trials he is declared completely innocent, but thanks to gossip-papers and people's tendency to believe everything bad they want to believe, his career as a star comedian is on the other hand declared ruined. This sad chapter in his life has in a way received more attention than it is worthy of; Roscoe's career and the talent that built it deserved so much better.
The last year before the scandal took place, Roscoe had made the transition to feature-length films, being one of the first comedians to do so on a presumed permanent basis; CRAZY TO MARRY was not the last one to be made but still the last one to be released in the U.S., in August of 1921, due to said scandal. Arbuckle had much less control over these films, which were made at Paramount, than he'd had while doing short films, and all of them are reported to provide more of a situational kind of comedy rather than knockabout slapstick. In this one, now thought to be lost, Roscoe plays Dr. Hobart Hupp, a doctor able to rehabilitate by surgery and therefore reduce crimes. Press reviews of the time states one of the highlights to occur when the comic leaps into a fountain, trying to rescue a supposedly drowning woman -- and by force emptying all of the water from the basin with his weight. I wish more of Arbuckle's Paramount-features were available for public screening, as I regard everything he appeared in to be of interest, though the few of these features that do survive (such as LEAP YEAR) are not quite on par with his best work in two-reelers.
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