6.2/10
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The Butcher Boy (1917)

Not Rated | | Short, Comedy | 23 April 1917 (USA)
Customers and clerks frolic in a general store. Roscoe walks out of the freezer wearing a fur coat, then does some clever cleaver tossing. In Buster's film debut he buys a pail of molasses.

Writers:

Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle (story), Joseph Anthony Roach (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ... Fatty / Saccharine (as 'Fatty' Arbuckle)
Buster Keaton ... Buster
Al St. John ... Alum
Josephine Stevens Josephine Stevens ... Almondine
Arthur Earle Arthur Earle ... The Manager
Joe Bordeaux Joe Bordeaux ... Accomplice (as Joe Bordeau)
Luke the Dog Luke the Dog
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Storyline

Customers and clerks frolic in a general store. Roscoe walks out of the freezer wearing a fur coat, then does some clever cleaver tossing. In Buster's film debut he buys a pail of molasses.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 April 1917 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A mészárosfiú See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Comique Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

Buster drops a bucket of molasses on the floor, but as soon as he leaves the store both the bucket and the molasses puddle are gone. See more »

Quotes

Fatty: [filling up Buster's molasses bucket, he walks off with it] Aren't you forgetting something?
[the quarter]
Buster: [points to the bucket] It's in there.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Buster Keaton Rides Again (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny 'Fatty' film. 'The Great Stone Face' laughs.
6 April 2008 | by sonnyschlaegelSee all my reviews

I guess this is the first time I have seen a Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle movie. I really liked him in his (title) role as a butcher boy. The way he moves is very funny in my opinion, for example how he handles his knife and the way he rolls a cigarette. I think he is a good actor; his facial expressions really suit the role he plays, for example how he winks at the audience in the end. But one might add that that was probably not too difficult. Anyway I think he would have deserved a longer career. As you probably know it was ruined by greedy journalists who made money by printing false accusations that said he was involved in a scandal.

The plot is not very important. In the first half, Fatty and Alum are employees at a store and rivals for Almondine's affection. After a heavy food fight, Almondine is sent to a girls' school by her father, the store owner. (This is the beginning of the second half). Both Fatty and Alum enter the school in drag, and the fight for Almondine continues. (Some of the characters' names are different in the version that I have seen. It seems that for some reason they replaced the original title cards with new ones.)

There are a lot of corny gags like food fights and pratfalls, but they are done well in my opinion. And there are some gags I really liked, for example how they make the dog run the pepper mill (or is it a coffee mill?), or the scene when Fatty dons a coat although it is obviously not necessary, or when Miss Teachem, the head of the girls' school, spanks Fatty, and he spanks her back.

Buster Keaton is also funny in this, his first, movie; a good addition to the cast. In the first half he is a customer at the store, in the second half he supports Alum in his fight for Almondine. I liked his acrobatics, for example when Fatty pushes him from one room of the school to another, he doesn't show a simple pratfall but lands on his hands and his head and does a little pirouette. Watch out for one scene in the food fight: Alum throws a flour bag at him, but it misses and hits the store owner instead. That makes Buster laugh, which must be a rarity since he normally always shows a neutral expression (which - as you probably also know already - got him the nickname 'The Great Stone Face'). (One more note: Al St. John, who plays Alum, was 'Fatty' Arbuckle's nephew, and later became famous for the role of 'Fuzzy' that he played in lots of westerns.)

I don't like this one as much as I like, for example, 'One Week' and 'The Balloonatic' (films that Buster made later, without 'Fatty'). And it didn't make me laugh out loud often - but it made me smile a lot, so I have given it eight points.


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