Roscoe and Buster are working at a vaudeville house. When the crew attacks the strongman for bullying his assistant, the man goes out on strike so the crew puts on a show. When the strongman starts shooting from the balcony, Buster rigs a swing, picks him up, and takes him to the stage where is again subdued.
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ... Stagehand
Buster Keaton ... Stagehand
Al St. John ... Stagehand
Molly Malone ... Strongman's Assistant
Jack Coogan Sr. ... Dancer (as John Coogan)
Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Codecs: OpenDivX 4 / MP3
This is one of the very best of the Arbuckle/Keaton short features, and there are a lot of good reasons to watch it. Most of the comedy material works very well, and it has some very creative gag ideas, along with some excellent stunt work added in.
The setting, with Fatty and Buster working "Back Stage" for a vaudeville show, lends itself well to humor and variety, and this setting is quite interesting in its own right. If you watch closely, you'll also notice a number of gags used here that Keaton later refined and used to even greater effect later in some of his own short features.
There are several good sequences, and they provide a good showcase for both Arbuckle and Keaton to display their considerable array of comic talents. Al St. John and the rest of the supporting cast also get a couple of good moments. It's great comedy, and a lot of fun to watch.
This is a quite humorous two-reeler from Arbuckle and Keaton- Keaton's twelfth film and his twelfth with the master. Set in a vaudeville house, Fatty and Buster provide gallantry towards the abused wife of the strongman and then when the troupe walks out, put on skits themselves before the strongman's jealousy leads to a fight that practically destroys the theater.
Many gem pieces here:
Arbuckle pasting a nosey boy to a billboard by the seat of his pants; The dressing room star on a pulley; Keaton's walk "downstairs" behind a free-standing door; Arbuckle's moving a sliding door to block a sign that reads quite differently than intended; The attempt to axe the strongman to no effect.
It is interesting to have John Coogan, Jackie's father, identified as the very effeminate specialty dancer - he appeared in THE BELL BOY also as an effeminate man. I wonder if this was his comic specialty - having only seen him in these two similar pieces. Arbuckle's drag never seems offensive but Coogan's prancing does. Coogan also plays the heckler and can be glimpsed as an extra with a moustache in the balcony scene.
There are many drop outs in the print that KINO has in its VHS/DVD collection Arbuckle and Keaton Volume 2, including whatever leads up to the company walking out on the stage hands in the middle of the film. The print is sharp, however, and for once the Alloy Orchestra creates appropriate music for the short. Applause as a sound effect is also added in.
The two pieces Arbuckle, Keaton and Malloy perform in are an operetta, entitled THE FALLING REIGN, with Buster in drag as the queen and Arbuckle as her king, falling for a vamp. Buster's dance ala Isadora Duncan is a treat.
The second piece, SNOWFLAKE SERENADE, involves a cardboard house front which falls on Arbuckle, so that the cut out window does him no harm - this is echoed with a fully constructed house front in Keaton's later masterpiece, SHERLOCK JR.
This is very fast entertainment and one of the Arbuckle/Keaton team's best efforts.