Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fatty and Mabel's Simple Life - 1915

Country: United States
Director: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Mabel Normand and Al St. John
Release Date: 18 January 1915 (USA)
Also known as: Mabel and Fatty's Simple Life (USA - alternative title)
Production Co: Keystone Film Corporation
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Farm | Farm Hand | Mortgage | Farmers Daughter | Cow  |  Well | Romantic Rivalry | Milking | Tree | Boyfriend Girlfriend Relationship | Rope | Slapstick | Hose | Chase | Wedding | Automobile | Character Name In Title
Genres: Comedy | Short
Fatty is a farm hand at Mabel's father's place. He and Mabel love each other, but dad wants to marry Mabel off to the landowner's son in exchange for tearing up the mortgage. When Mabel and Fatty find out dad's plan, they elope, pursued by dad, the hopeful suitor, and the local constables. 
Although the title must have been intended ironically, life sure does look simple for Mabel Normand and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in this pleasant little Keystone comedy. Roscoe works on a farm owned by Mabel's father, and the two of them are secretly betrothed. Mabel, introduced by a title card simply reading "She was happy," is shown handling (and kissing) a calf. Roscoe, who is introduced with the phrase "Poor but honest," deals with the cattle, and rural life seems idyllic. Before long, of course, knockabout comedy erupts when Roscoe has a bit of a run-in with farm hand Joe Bordeaux, and we're also offered a memorable sample of barnyard humor when Mabel squirts milk from a cow's udder through a knothole in a fence, right into Roscoe's eye.
Trouble erupts when young Mr. Jenkins, the wealthy squire's son-- an uncharacteristically dapper Al St. John --shows up to collect the rent. Mabel's father, who drinks on the sly, offers the young man a snort, and Jenkins' reaction makes it clear that the stuff is turpentine in all but name. Once he's recovered, Jenkins conveys the news that his father would be willing to tear up the mortgage if Mabel were to marry his son, i.e. Jenkins Jr. This arrangement sounds perfectly acceptable to Mabel's father, but when Mabel rejects it out of hand she is locked in her room. Roscoe comes to the rescue, and the lovers have no choice but to elope in a fast car-- a car that turns out to have a mind of its own and an ornery "personality" --while Mabel's father, the squire's son, and the local constabulary give chase on bicycles.

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