Anyone who is remotely interested in the history of screen comedy, or for that matter, the history of Hollywood's impact on the social landscape of society, should become familiar with Roscoe Arbuckle and his work. His life story is as all encompassing in highs and lows as it is engrossing. One of the most interesting aspects of it was his return to the screen in talking pictures. After the nightmare that his life became, for him to have the courage to step back in front of a camera, with the added challenge of sound, is nothing less than heroic.
Hearing Roscoe speak, with his slight southern accent, adds a wonderful dimension to this film. His character becomes more human and the derivative nature of the plot, (clearly based on Chaplin's "The Kid" as well as taking gags from his own "The Waiter's Ball" and "The Butcher Boy"), becomes less distracting. He is charming, and endearing, and most of all genuinely funny; throwing his bulk around, dressing as a woman, and especially, interacting with Billy Hayes.
This film, along with the other Vitaphone talkies, is a great introduction to this gifted man's work, despite their coming at the end of his career. Watching them may make his silent films more accessible to new comers.
In the end, this is a very enjoyable film.
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