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Arbuckle & Keaton: Volume Two (1920)
Rating:
Starring: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Joe Bordeaux, Al St. John, Buster Keaton, Alice Lake, Molly Malone
Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Category: Comedy, Classic
Studio: Kino Video
Subtitles:
[None]
Length:
121 mins

 
 

 

The Original Comique/Paramount Shorts 1917-1920

Virtually unseen by contemporary audiences until now, these two reel shorts offer a priceless view of the slapstick antics of two influential legends.Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was at the creative zenith of his career, second in popularity only to Chaplin, while Keaton was stepping before cameras for the first time.

Back Stage (1919) is a present from Arbuckle to Keaton after Busters's year-long army stint in World War I.Much in the same style as Buster's later The Playhouse (1921), this film contains many of the routines buster had used in the "Three Keatons" Stage act, and can rightly be called the first Keaton directed film.

Good Night Nurse! (1918) is Arbuckle's surrealistic nightmare, where he escapes the operating table, and as he runs away, inadvertently enters a "Great Heavyweight Race." Arbuckle also gives his best "In Drag" performance, playing a flirting nurse to Keaton's doctor.Watch Buster Keaton hopelessly fail trying to keep a straight face!Keaton would later expand on the dream sequence idea in Nurse for several of his own films, Like Sherlock, Jr. (1924).

Coney Island (1919) is the high point for Roscoe's nephew, Al St. John, in the Comique series.Traditionally playing the mock villain, against Arbuckle's mock heroes, in Coney Island Al St. John - later famous as "Fuzzy" St. John, in numerous Republic westerns - does a series of "tit-for-tats" with Arbuckle to win a girl, only to have her end up with Buster Keaton!

The Rough House (1918) contains Arbuckle's famous "Roll Dance," where at the breakfast table, he sticks two forks, each into a separate roll.He then uses them to do a parody of Charlie Chaplin's walk! Chaplin apparently loved this gag, as he later expanded on it for use in his masterpiece The Gold Rush (1925).

The last film of this series, The Garage (1920), presents Arbuckle and Keaton as a team, and is regarded as Buster's "spin-off" film for his own series at Comique.Featuring many gag ideas Buster later repeated in his own The Blacksmith (1922), The Garage features various ways of destroying cars, how not to clean oil stains, and how not to fight fires.