This Al St. John short was directed by his uncle, Roscoe Arbuckle, anonymously, after his acquittal for the manslaughter of Virginia Rappe caused him to be banned from performing. Yes, I know. It doesn't make sense.
The plot is so simple that the movie can be followed despite having Czech titles: St. John plays a bicycle messenger who is supposed to deliver a letter -- well, his stage act was as a trick bicyclist. Along the way he gets mixed up with some spies who want to steal the letter and some lions. It ends up with a nicely done bit of thrill comedy as he perches high atop a flagpole while one of the spies chops at its base with an axe.
The movie lacks much in the way of structure, being little but a series of gag in a straightforward time sequence, without much in the way of subtext to connect them -- fairly primitive for this period and within a year or two Arbuckle would be writing and directing far more sophisticated comedies with lots of subtext -- the hilarious CURSES! or the elaborately doubled vision of THE MOVIES. Perhaps in the aftermath of the trials, Roscoe had fallen back on producing 'em fast and cheap to pay off his lawyers and to start rebuilding his life. If so, he worked to his and St. John's strengths. It's very funny.
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