Saturday 30 June 2007

Fatty's New Role (1915) Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

This time out Fatty is a amiable tramp and of course it's not difficult to make him look the part. He sleeps in a barn and tries to get himself a free breakfast and drink at Schnitz's Bar but gets thrown out. He's long gone but when the 'friends' of the owner read in the paper that a man has been causing havoc in bars after being thrown out, they play a jape on him that would land them in a secret CIA jail nowadays. They cook up a fake terrorist plot suggesting that his bar will be visited by a bomb at three o'clock.

Needless to say Fatty returns arrives back at three o'clock with a little money and chaos ensues. Talk about changing times! This is a film that not only couldn't be made today, if it was tried it would get the term 'plot device' banned. It certainly wouldn't be seen as comedy, but an anti-American attempt to throw scorn on the country's record on handling domestic terror threats.

As a film it isn't bad and is actually enjoyable for its lack of pace. The usual suspects are all here, with their outrageous facial hair: Mack Swain as Ambrose Schnitz, the bar owner, Edgar Kennedy, Slim Summerville and many of the rentacops of the era like Al St John. None of them get to kick anyone else's ass, literally or figuratively, and that seems like a real treat. I'm just sorry I missed Luke the Dog, as he was apparently in there somewhere, and he would have been my favourite actor in the film.

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