"Tomalio" is one of the six Vitaphone shorts (filmed in Coney Island, Brooklyn) which comprise the entire talking-picture career of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle after his long and unfair blacklisting from the screen. (Arbuckle was put on trial three times for rape and murder, was eventually acquitted, but was stigmatised afterwards as if he'd been guilty.) Five of those comedy shorts are brilliant little gems, very funny. "Tomalio" is the clinker of the bunch. It isn't funny at all.
The skimpy plot of this film finds Roscoe in a Latin American country called Tomalio (pronounced "Tamale-Oh", as in hot tamales). Nothing much happens, and none of it's funny. "Tomalio" screens like a dress rehearsal for all the corny gags about hot-blooded Latin American stereotypes that would later turn up in Bob Hope's debut film "Going Spanish" (a movie which Hope always reviled).
But it's a pleasure to see Roscoe in any movie. Considering the long nightmare he lived through in his personal life, we can forgive Roscoe for dropping the tamale this time round. I can't recommend "Tomalio" to anyone except a die-hard Arbuckle fan, but his other five Vitaphone shorts are all hilarious and deserving of your attention.
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