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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Fatty's Chance Acquaintance (1915)

'Farce comedy' says the title card, as if we needed the hint for a short from Mack Sennett's Keystone company. It's a Fatty Arbuckle short, both as an actor and a director. He's a henpecked husband this time out, on a trip to the park and he looks as nasty as his wife, courtesy of some facial contortions and the amount of makeup everyone wears. Maybe it's the high contrast but some of these old Arbuckles play with a nasty edge similar to some of the earliest Charlie Chaplins before the little tramp acquired a softer more sympathetic side.

Fatty's nasty wife, who looks like the wicked witch of the west, won't let him buy drink because it's cheaper to drink at the fountain, so off he goes to have fun with that. After he has fun with that, he has fun with the chance acquaintance of the title, a young lady played by Minta Durfee, whose other half hasn't got any money. While Fatty's having fun and falling for this young lady's ruses, his wife gets robbed by the young lady's boyfriend, leaving nothing or Fatty to pilfer to spend on his young lady. Yes, you can write the story yourself. This one is OK as these things go but it's routine through and through.

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