His Wedding Night (1917) Poster

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Fair to middling, but Buster provides some nice moments
wmorrow592 May 2003
Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton made several enjoyable two-reel comedies together during Buster's apprenticeship as a filmmaker, but in my opinion His Wedding Night is not one of their better collaborations. It's an early credit for Buster, his fourth film, and he doesn't appear until almost the halfway point, but within moments of his entrance -- as a dress maker's delivery boy on a bike -- he promptly steals the show with a spectacular flip over the bicycle rack. (And he made such stunts look easy! Easy for him, anyway.) Buster also appears in drag, in a wedding gown no less, and milks his entrance in this costume for all it's worth.

Meanwhile, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is up to his usual tricks. Here he's a clerk in a drug store, elaborately mixing malted drinks, flipping utensils in the air and deftly catching them. The location offers ample opportunity for of Keystone-style shenanigans, as when Fatty tussles with a mule, insults customers, bilks a rich man out of money for "gasoline" that is actually water, and once again engages in a rivalry with nasty Al St. John over a pretty girl. It's no mystery why Al St. John's character is always so unappealing in these comedies -- for one thing, when the girl jilts him he has a tendency to assault her, as he does here -- but it's remarkable that Arbuckle manages to be so likable when he behaves as he does. In this film, for instance, a running gag involving chloroform leads to a moment when Fatty deliberately renders a pretty girl unconscious so he can kiss her. You may or may not find that gag funny, but when he performs it Roscoe comes off like a naughty boy, not a pervert. Within a few years, of course, after the sex scandal that destroyed his reputation and his career, it would have been impossible for Arbuckle to have performed such a scene without stirring deeply unpleasant associations in viewers' minds.

Over all this film feels like a somewhat routine effort, not as inspired as the best Arbuckle/Keaton shorts produced for Roscoe's "Comique" company. For me it's marred by an interlude of racial humor near the beginning that leaves a sour after-taste. The scene involves a customer in the store, an African-American lady who is the butt of several gags -- literally, in one instance. Racial gags turn up frequently in silent comedy, and the scene in His Wedding Night is far from being the worst offender in the Comique series (that dubious distinction belongs to a mean-spirited sequence in Out West which ruins that film), but the bottom line where this comedy is concerned is that the material in question simply isn't funny.

The best Comique shorts, such as The Bell Boy and The Garage, are full of inventive gags and routines that still provoke laughs. His Wedding Night doesn't hold up nearly so well, but the limber young Buster Keaton provides it with some enjoyable moments, and he remains the best reason to watch.
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Generally just okay,...until Buster almost gets married to Al St. John and Fatty Arbuckle!!
MartinHafer16 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is a rather poor film for the first 80% of the movie. Fatty Arbuckle and Al St. John both are wooing the same girl at the store where they work. However, eventually the girl accepts Fatty's proposal and Al stomps away to plot his revenge. Up until this time, there was a lot of mindless slapstick--making this a rather unsophisticated and dull film. However, when Buster Keaton (a definite secondary character in this film) appears with the bride's wedding dress, things do improve. Oddly, the bride-to-be wants Keaton to put it on so she can make some last minute adjustments. Considering he's a pretty small man, I guess this isn't 100% unbelievable! However, when Al St. John and his henchmen sneak into her room to kidnap her, they accidentally steal Keaton! Then, with the veil in place and the preacher with a gun pointed at him, Al is about to marry Buster!!! But, they are interrupted by the hero, Fatty (too bad,...he should have let the service continue!). Fatty then tries to marry Buster, as he, too, thinks it's the girl! But, she comes in at the last minute and Fatty marries the right one! This is by far the funniest sequence in this otherwise dreary film. It's just too bad the preacher never got a chance to finish either ceremony with Buster--now THAT would have been funny and could have set the stage for a wonderful closing line to the film!
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Michael_Elliott10 March 2008
His Wedding Night (1917)

** (out of 4)

Fatty once again has to fight for the woman he wants to marry. Going through these films in order I've noticed that each one basically has the same storyline and always has a food fight. This is getting a tad bit boring but Buster Keaton has a small role and brings some laughs.

Oh Doctor (1917)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Dr. Fatty gets in trouble when a woman he flirts with turns out to be a thief with his wife's jewelry on her mind. The best aspect is Buster Keaton playing Fatty's son and being constantly abused by daddy.

Out West (1918)

*** (out of 4)

Spoof of the western genre has Fatty Arbuckle landing in a small town being over run by thugs. Buster Keaton plays the timid sheriff. There are minor laughs throughout the film but it really works due to its wonderful charm and the fact that the spoofs work for westerns even made within the past few decades. There's some off colored racial humor, which might insult some.
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Fatty and Al squable over Alice,and almost end up married to Keaton!
weezeralfalfa31 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Several reviewers claim there isn't much comedic content in this 2 reel comedy short, and most of that is concentrated in the last 5min., when there is a mix up about who the apparent bride really is. I don't agree with this assessment.....When Roscoe(Fatty) Arbuckle arrives at the drugstore, where he works, he hangs his cane around Al St. John's neck, places his coat on Al's shoulder, and his hat on Al's head, without a flinch from Al. Al doesn't work here. He comes in with hopes of seeing the pharmacist's daughter, Alice. But, this morning, Fatty put a ring on Alice's finger, and she accepted it. Just then, Fatty had to go outside to pump gas. He charges the first customer26c/gal., as the sign says. But, then an open air limo pulls up. Fatty flips the price sign over so that it reads $1.00/gal,. Meanwhile, inside, Al flirts with Alice. He asks her to marry him, but she says Fatty already gave her an engagement ring. Al becomes enraged, and tries to choke her. Fatty saunters over, and bops Al on the head. Alice runs and hides. Fatty then flips Al around in the air and on the floor, before heaving him to the other side of the store, where he lands in the middle of a table occupied by 4 people. For good measure, Fatty throws part of a melon, but it hits one of the guests. Soon, Al is heaved back to near Fatty, who, along with Alice, smears some soft food items over Al's head. Al then begins to choke Alice again. He is booted out of the store, and is seen walking down the road.........We finally see Buster Keaton riding a bicycle down the road, with a large box in one hand. When he hits the bike rack, he does a somersault over the handlebars, spilling the box, which contains Alice's wedding gown. She is thrilled to see it. She asks Keaton to model it so she can see where to make alterations!? Meanwhile, Al is preparing to kidnap Alice, and make her marry him. He gathers several accomplices and hires a buggy...... Meanwhile, Fatty has put chloroform in a perfume bottle. When a young lady smells it, she is knocked out right away. Fatty cradles her and kisses her on the lips. When she starts to come to, he sprays her face with the anesthetic, she passes out again, and Fatty kisses her several times. . .....Meanwhile, upstairs, Al and accomplices have entered a window, and put a towel over Keaton's head, assuming he is Alice. They wisk him off to a justice of the peace, where Al demands an immediate marriage, enforced by a pistol he shoots at the floor. But, just then, Fatty arrives(how did he know where to go??) and begins shooting a pistol , demanding that the ceremony be stopped. He then demands that the justice marry him to the silent, unseen bride But, just then, Alice arrives, stunning Fatty.(How did she know where to go??) Thus, the marriage to Keaton is called off. We assume that the justice marries Fatty and Alice, but the film ends before this is confirmed......This whole sequence is so contrived and unbelievable that I didn't find it entertaining in the least, although kids might forgive the many implausibilities........See it at YouTube.
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'Fatty' Fights for Love. Again!
SendiTolver22 August 2018
'Fatty' Arbuckle works in the drugstore where he serves the drinks and also services the gasoline pump. He is about to marry Alice, the daughter of the drugstore owner. Al St. John, again, stars as Fatty's rival. When he gets pushed aside by Alice he decides to kidnap Alice. Unfortunately they kidnap delivery boy (Buster Keaton) who were just showing off the wedding dress to Alice.

Nothing too original, clever or inventive - Fatty again fights over a woman with his rival Al St. John. Buster Keaton's role is literally just being thrown around by others.

Most interesting moment in the movie was a scene, where Arbuckle's character (who were supposed to be sympathetic and heroic) drugged the female customers in the store to make out with them. Something that definitely couldn't pass nowadays.
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His Wedding Night was a partly amusing/partly stale Arbuckle-Keaton collaboration
tavm4 July 2009
Compared to the previous short I watched that starred Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle with Buster Keaton in support, His Wedding Night isn't all that funny though there are a few good laughs like when Roscoe changes the gas from 26 cents to $1.OO when a limousine arrives or when there's a food fight between him and his rival Al St. John for a girl's hand. Things really pick up when Buster arrives with the wedding gown as he first does a hilarious flip when he stops his bike and then-after trying the gown and keeping it on-he gets kidnapped by St. John and a couple of henchmen! There's also a mischievous scene when Arbuckle steals a kiss from a female customer while she's fainted from chloroform that Roscoe put in a perfume bottle that I was amused by. Otherwise, besides some boring spots there's also some racist humor on a couple of people of color that marred some of the enjoyment. Still, for all that, His Wedding Night was pretty enjoyable and I say this one's worth a look.
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