Rediscovering Roscoe Arbuckle comedy shorts
A fresh look at the films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle has been long overdue. Although his name is still recognized, it's more for his court difficulties in the 1920s than for his work as a comedy creator. In his recent book "Rediscovering Roscoe: The Films of 'Fatty' Arbuckle," author Steve Massa examines Arbuckle's work film by film, revealing not only an immensely talented and likeable comedian, but also an innovative and sophisticated director. This film program includes some of Arbuckle's best comedy shorts, ranging from his early work at Keystone to his reign as "King of the Comedy Shorts" in the late teens and early 1920s, headlining his own production company with a deal at Paramount, Hollywood's preeminent studio and distributor at that time.
Copies of Steve Massa's book "Rediscovering Roscoe: The Films of 'Fatty' Arbuckle" will be available on site for sale and signing.
FATTY'S RECKLESS FLING
After coming home inebriated one too many times, Fatty's wife confiscates his pants and locks him in the apartment. A high-stakes poker game across the hall assures that he finds a way to sneak out, but when the game gets raided our hero finds himself contending with flying bullets, a jealous next-door neighbor, a collapsible bed and his irate wife. DIR/SCR Roscoe Arbuckle; PROD Mack Sennett. U.S., 1915, b&w, 10 min. NOT RATED
GOOD NIGHT, NURSE! (1918)
Buster Keaton's earliest film work was in support of Arbuckle; he'd soon graduate to starring in his own shorts and features and go on to silent comedy superstardom. Ordered by his wife to check into the No Hope Sanitarium and get his drinking under control, Arbuckle is scared straight and then some by the sight of Keaton's blood-splattered, cleaver-wielding surgeon. Attempting various means of escape, Arbuckle finally succeeds in running away — and right into the town's Fat Man Foot Race. DIR/SCR Roscoe Arbuckle; PROD Joseph M. Schenck. U.S., 1918, b&w, 20 min. NOT RATED
CAMPING OUT (1919)
Fatty's wife is so busy with her clubs that she neglects her home and hubby. A disgusted Fatty decides to go camping on Catalina where he can do his own cooking. At the campground, Fatty stumbles into a mess where he's suspected of being the "other man" wooing a neglected wife, and soon has trouble with both her jealous husband and his own angry spouse. Long thought missing, this film was rediscovered and restored in 2002 by the EYE Filmmuseum in the Netherlands and Italy's Cineteca del Fruili. DIR/SCR Roscoe Arbuckle; PROD Joseph M. Schenck. U.S., 1919, b&w, 20 min. NOT RATED
THE GARAGE (1920)
In 1920's THE GARAGE, Arbuckle and Buster Keaton work in a combination garage/fire house, and after their fighting leaves everything in a shambles, they get in bad with the garage owner. The village dandy tries to court the garage owner's pretty daughter, but only succeeds in getting himself locked in the garage. Trying to escape, he accidently sets the building on fire, and it's up to Arbuckle and Keaton to come to the rescue and save the trapped heroine. DIR Roscoe Arbuckle; SCR Jean C. Havez; PROD Joseph M. Schenck. U.S., 1920, b&w, 20 min. NOT RATED
Total program approx. 75 min.
No AFI Member passes accepted.
About Ben Model
Ben Model is one of America's leading silent film accompanists. Ben has been playing piano and organ for silent films at the New York Museum of Modern Art since 1984 and has performed numerous shows at AFI Silver Theatre over the years. His recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD/Blu-Ray releases, on TCM and on his YouTube channel. His indie DVD label Undercrank Productions has released several discs of rare/lost silent films, including films preserved by the Library of Congress. Ben is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S. and internationally, and performs at universities, museums and historic theaters. In 2020, Ben also created a popular weekly livestreamed silent film show from his living room called "The Silent Comedy Watch Party." Visit Ben's YouTube channel and view past performances!
About Steve Massa
Steve Massa is the author of "Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy" and "Lame Brains and Lunatics: The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten of Silent Comedy." He has organized and curated comedy film programs for the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, as well as provided essays and commentaries for many DVD and Blu-ray releases. He also co-curated Undercrank Productions' "The Mishaps of Musty Suffer, Volumes 1 & 2," the award-winning "Marcel Perez Collection, Volumes 1 & 2," "The Alice Howell Collection" and the forthcoming "Edward Everett Horton Collection." His most recent book is "Rediscovering Roscoe: The Films of 'Fatty' Arbuckle."
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