Saturday 30 June 2007

Mabel and Fatty's Married Life (1915) Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle

I've seen quite a few of the films that Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle made around the time that Charlie Chaplin was starting out, and redefining comedy in the process, in 1914. I still can't quite work it out from a progression standpoint but the only one I thought was any good wasn't from 1914 or 1915, but earlier, in 1913: Fatty Joins the Force. This one's from later, in 1915, and stars him opposite frequent screen wife Mabel Normand.

It starts off pretty well with an edge of danger as Fatty gets into trouble with an organ grinder whose monkey is a little too friendly. Then he leaves his wife at home alone, but when he returns for papers that he's forgotten, she thinks he's one of the band of foreign robbers apparently in the neighbourhood. She's an excitable sort an so gets to shoot Fatty a lot with one of those Hollywood guns that fires too many bullets and never actually hurts anyone. Naturally the organ grinder and his monkey make another appearance to liven up the action.

This one feels a litle better than most I've seen, and part of that may be the fact that there's appropriate music to work as a soundtrack. I've been getting used to cheap copies on cheap DVDs that tend to run the same music for every film, not caring if it actually has any relevance to what it's the soundtrack for. It does make a pleasant change, and probably helps no end, to have a real soundtrack written by someone deliberately for this film. Other than that, it feels like an easy way to pass ten minutes.

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