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Sunday, 1 July 2007

Fatty's Plucky Pup (1915) Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

Fatty and Luke the Dog again, and it's Luke to the rescue. Fatty's girlfriend has been kidnapped by four bad men and only Luke can save her. That sounds like a promising film as described in the plot synopsis at IMDb, but to get to it we have to suffer through some really bad comedy that has Fatty as a complete moron burning. He burns down his bed and fights it with cups of water, then drops all the laundry in the mud and tries to fix the situation with a garden hose. You could write the script yourself from here and do as good a job. The funniest thing about this entire half of the film is a title card reading 'He meant well'.

Anyway, some interminable time later, Al St John and his fellow dog catcher try and eventually manage to catch Luke the Dog, thus causing a decent amount of fairly decent slapstick. After more water based inanity at home, Fatty falls for Edgar Kennedy's crooked shell game and only gets his money back with the use of a gun from a neighbouring shooting gallery. All the bad guys team up and kidnap Fatty's girlfriend, Lizzie, and we're at the decent part of the plot at last. They're going to kill her at three o'clock if she doesn't get rescued first.

As expected Luke is by far the best actor and the most sympathetic character here, and wow, that dog could move. He does all the work and is the real hero of the piece. I couldn't care less about Fatty, who is really not likeable in the least here. Lizzie is a fair damsel in distress, as played by Josephine Stevens, but then it's Fatty's mother and the Keystone Kops. This is hardly a good example of what Arbuckle could do, one stunt on a bicycle notwithstanding.

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