Loosely based on the 1920's film star Fatty Arbuckle scandal (in which he was tried, but acquitted of raping a young girl during a Hollywood party, resulting in the demise of his career), this is adapted from a narrative poem that has some similarities to Arbuckle, but notable differences as well. Dukes plays a writer who narrates the story from his hospital bed. He recounts the difficulty that his associate, silent film comedian Coco, has had in holding onto a career in the cinema business. Coco hasn't had a film released in five years and is throwing a huge bash in order to show his latest opus to various studio heads in the hopes that they will distribute it for him. Unfortunately for him, it's the dawn of sound and his film is silent. His live-in lover Welch is a grateful and loyal, but restless, sexpot who he mistreats regularly (and increasingly, as his career dwindles.) Together, Coco and Welch host this bash and soon find that the studio heads are more interested in other parties or in hooking up with loose women on the premises. King plays a hot new actor who's brought to the party by starlet Bolling, who is one of Welch's best friends. Once he eyes Welch, King can think of virtually nothing else the rest of the night. Meanwhile, Ferra, a teenage girl, has come to show Coco her talent in dancing, never dreaming of all the angst and drama unfolding in the house. Eventually, the party escalates into a near full-on orgy and the divergent personalities clash, ending in violence. Coco gives an extremely strong performance in one of his better roles. His desperation is palpable and he gets to show both his comic and dramatic skills through the framework of the film. Welch is attractive, but very plastic and anachronistic. She never seems genuine at any point in the film. Her character is supposed to be acting like a content and secure hostess, but Welch carries this facade throughout the entire film with only occasional lapses into realism. She also performs a couple of sexy, but largely inappropriate dance numbers. King provides a welcome does of male sex appeal. His angular features are a perfect contrast to the rotund Coco and he shows off his enticing physique in one key scene. Dukes, Bolling and Dano (as Coco's long-time chauffeur) do well in their respective roles as well. The biggest problem with the film is that nothing wild happens until it is almost over! The period costuming and decor are interesting and there are some good moments along the way, but the high-flying, wildness is not in evidence at all until over an hour into it. Then, when the debauchery starts, it is pretty tame all things considered (certainly compared to the REAL parties of 1920's and 1930's Hollywood!) Those familiar with the Arbuckle case may be expecting the story to take a different turn than it does. It's actually a pleasant surprise when things don't go exactly as one might be anticipating, but the major catalyst for the violence at the end isn't even shown! (A particular lovers tryst is only alluded to.) A whimsical score (with some clever songs), good acting by Coco and the attractiveness of Welch and King are the primary assets here. It's not bad, but it could have been much better.
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