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Buzzin' Around (1933)

Fatty invents a liquid with flubber-like properties which makes objects resilient and unbreakable. Unfortunately, in his rush to get out of the house to demonstrate his invention, he ... See full summary »

Director:

Alfred J. Goulding (as Alf Goulding)

Writers:

Jack Henley (story), Glen Lambert (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ... Cornelius
Al St. John ... Al
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Storyline

Fatty invents a liquid with flubber-like properties which makes objects resilient and unbreakable. Unfortunately, in his rush to get out of the house to demonstrate his invention, he unknowingly grabs a jar of moonshine instead of the jar which holds his wonder liquid. To make matters worse, as he drives to the demonstration, a football-sized beehive falls from a tree onto the cargo bed of his truck . . . Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

slapstick comedy | See All (1) »

Taglines:

With the world's funniest fat man. (One-sheet poster).

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vitaphone production reels #1509-1510. See more »

Quotes

Cornelius: That's what I love is action!
See more »

Alternate Versions

To Bee or Not to Bee (condensed reissue, 1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A nice pair of jugheads

"Buzzin' Around" is the funniest (and most action-packed) of the six Vitaphone shorts which comprise Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's entire talking-picture career. (Of the other five, "Close Relations" and "In the Dough" are only a whisker less funny than "Buzzin' Around".)

More significantly, "Buzzin' Around" features the ONLY team-up of Roscoe Arbuckle and Al St John in a sound film. St John was Arbuckle's nephew, who got into films (at Keystone) with Arbuckle's help. A natural athlete and acrobat, St John did some virtuoso pratfalls and daredevil stuntwork in many silent films for Keystone and other studios ... usually in support of other comedians, but also (with less success) in his own starring series. When Arbuckle starred in his own series of silent comedies at the Comique studio, Al St John came along and did dazzling work as Arbuckle's third banana (seconded by Buster Keaton).

Throughout their silent-film collaborations, Al St John nearly always played Arbuckle's rival ... usually for the affections of the girl. The first time I saw "Buzzin' Around", I expected them to play rivals or enemies here. To my delight, I was wrong. In this movie, Arbuckle and St John are working towards a mutual goal, although mostly in separate scenes. Roscoe plays Cornelius, a hayseed who has invented a varnish which renders pottery unbreakable. He goes off to the big city to demonstrate his invention to some investors, but the varnish has vanished and he accidentally brings along the family's moonshine jug instead of the jug containing his varnish. When St John discovers this, he grabs the proper jug and goes off to rescue Roscoe. But then the two jugs (and the two jugheads) get mixed up with a hive full of bees. Oh, beehive yourself! The precise relationship between the characters played by Roscoe and Al in this film is never explained; they live together in a hillbilly shanty and are apparently brothers, or possibly cousins. Cue the theme from "Deliverance".

It's a joy to see Arbuckle and St John playing allies for once, in their last appearance together. They both do dazzling pratfalls during the climax of this movie, although they appear separately in most of the footage. After this film, alas, Al St John's career dwindled into supporting roles in cheap westerns, and Arbuckle died tragically young.

The "bees" in this movie are actually animation, but they are extremely well drawn and animated, and look quite realistic. Silent-film veteran Arbuckle uses sound quite effectively, especially in a sequence in which Cornelius has swallowed a bee, and weird buzzing sounds replace Arbuckle's voice.

One footnote, or paw-note: In this film, Arbuckle and St John appear alongside a dog named Pete who is a dead ringer for Pete the dog in the 'Our Gang' comedies, including the ring round his left eye. I'm positive that this is NOT the same dog, though he has clearly been made up to look like the original.

IMDb reviewer Ron Oliver has called this film Arbuckle's final curtain call. Not quite. "Buzzin' Around" was the second of Arbuckle's six Vitaphone shorts: it was, however, the last of his films released during Arbuckle's lifetime. The third ("How've You Bean?") was released less than a week after Arbuckle's sudden death. The sixth and last, "Tomalio", is by far the least funny.

"Buzzin' Around" benefits from some interesting location work in a semi-rural section of Brooklyn near Coney Island. "Buzzin' Around" is required viewing for anyone who cares about American film comedy. Rate it ten out of ten: no; let's cheat and rate it an eleven. Make every possible effort to see this hilarious short movie.


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