Friday, September 7, 2012

In the Dough - 1932

Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Ray McCarey
Writer: Jack Henley (story)
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Release Date: 15 November 1933 (USA)
Production Co: The Vitaphone Corporation, Warner Bros. Pictures
Plot Keywords: Slapstick
Genres: Short | Comedy
"In the Dough" is very funny. It's one of the six short comedies that Roscoe Arbuckle filmed at Warner Brothers' Vitaphone studio in Brooklyn in the early talkie era. The funniest of these is "Buzzin' Around", but "In the Dough" is a close second in hilarity. Roscoe is at the top of his form, and Shemp Howard (the sometime Stooge) is funny here too.
Roscoe applies for a job in a bakery. When asked why he wants to be a baker, Roscoe grins broadly and replies: "Because I knead the dough."
Just when Roscoe is mixing a big vat of dough, along comes a hoodlum running a protection racket, played by the gifted comic actor Lionel Stander. One thing leads to six others, and soon Roscoe and Lionel have begun a bitter battle in the boiling biscuit batter. I usually don't see anything funny about actors getting splattered with sticky goo, but "In the Dough" is an exception.
There's a nice running gag about a Karl LaFong-ish customer who orders a birthday cake with very specific decorations: he wants "a large 'S' ... a capital 'S'." But this gag has been re-used by other comedians, so you probably know the punchline.
When I saw "In the Dough" at the American Museum of the Moving Image, with an audience full of New Yorkers, most of the audience members laughed at a stock shot of a police car stopping near a billboard for the Greenpoint Savings Bank. Apparently this is funny to New Yorkers.
The same stock shot turned up in another of Arbuckle's Vitaphone movies, and the audience laughed even harder the second time it showed up.
"In the Dough" was directed by Ray McCarey, brother of comedy legend Leo McCarey. While definitely not as talented as his brother, Ray McCarey made some excellent films and he deserves to be remembered as an efficient comedy director in his own right.
Vitaphone production reels #1568-1569.

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