On May 11, 2006 I attended the second American screening of this newly restored short, an amalgam of two separate incomplete prints, one found in Holland, the other in Italy. The restoration is still not entire, as the film lacks an ending, but enough is here to get a fair idea of the whole.
Fatty cannot stomach his wife's cooking, so he takes a ferry to a campsite to get away for a while. En route, he meets Al St. John (in his usual bumpkin getup) and his wife. Al is jealous of Fatty's flirting, and in the ensuing mêlée he gets tossed overboard. Fatty and Al's wife proceed to the campsite, where they encounter Al, Fatty's wife (armed with some very long carving knives) and a couple of irate Italian grocers, one of whom is played by Monty Banks (later immortalized in the train chase of "Play Safe" (1927)as anthologized by Robert Youngson.)The current version ends with the wives going at it after Fatty has managed to placate everyone he's aggravated in the first reel.
This film reminded me a bit of Harold Lloyd's first talkie, "Welcome Danger" in that the lead character is obnoxious and not very likable. Lloyd's film was a feature, so he had time to win the audience's sympathy. Arbuckle has no such luxury here. The gags are routine, the acting is nothing special (although Banks shows promise,)and the entire affair is uninspired. I suspect Arbuckle and producer Joe Schenck felt the same way, for this film, completed in the summer of 1918, wasn't released until January 1919. By then, Buster Keaton had gotten out of the Army and would return to liven things up.
In summary, this is a mediocre product from a director/star from whom we would expect better. Not terrible, but this is the weakest starring vehicle for Arbuckle I have yet seen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?