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Author Topic: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton  (Read 278 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/A05_Coney_Island.html
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6f/Coney_Island_1917_FATTY_ARBUCKLE_BUSTER_KEATON.webm

Watch CONEY ISLAND in the link above

The fifth film in our journey is definitely the best by far.  Here we have the full lineup of Arbuckle, St. John, and Keaton with all getting significant camera time, pratfalls, and, best of all, there is no "villain" in this one!  There is a lot to be said of character in this one: Roscoe is his fat lovable self, always trying to sneak by his wife; Al St. John is usual huckster; and Buster Keaton has his familiar stone face in many of his scenes, including when he is surveying the parade.  It's overall interesting to see Buster experimenting with his character in these shorts.

The opening scene is a clever one, with Roscoe rolling away from his wife.  Keaton hiding in a trash barrel was a bit uninspired, as the garbage man doesn't seem affected by the weight.  The overall chase over this girl is quite hilarious, to me anyway.  The log sending Roscoe and Alice Mann into the water was a ROTFLMAO-copter moment.

But the best comes at the end: Roscoe and his beloved wife.

I don't want to spoil this.  It's just really, really good.

10/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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Offline Umbrella Sam

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Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 12:59:25 PM »
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  • This is actually the very first silent film I ever saw, so I've always had very fond memories of it. Thankfully, it still holds up very well. I like the sort of mother-child relationship that Fatty's wife has with him at the beginning on the beach, and Arbuckle's method of escaping from her is hilarious as well.

    Keaton shows off a lot of acrobatic skill in this short, at one point doing an impressive backflip. I also believe that he is playing one of the officers as well (the one in between Arbuckle and Al St. John in the picture that I'm attaching).

    I even think Arbuckle in drag kind of works, as a lot of the comedy comes from people's reactions to him, like in the men's shower room. All of this eventually builds up to a satisfying final showdown with Arbuckle, Al St. John, and Keystone Kop-esque characters galore.

    On a side note, I just want to say that the rides in this park look amazing. It's the kind of park I could only dream of going to when I was little, although I do understand the dangerous risks when it comes to these rides.

    I recently saw the original ending that is cut out of most copies of this short. It's basically a rehash of the racial gag from HIS WEDDING NIGHT. It's short and not funny in the slightest. However, this isn't able to bog down what I otherwise consider a very satisfying short.

    10 out of 10

    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 07:47:31 PM »
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  • The log sending Roscoe and Alice Mann into the water was a ROTFLMAO-copter moment.

    I believe I read that Buster doubled Alice Mann for that stunt.

    My favorite fall Buster does in this one is when he swings the mallet at Al, and the nonchalant backflip he does in the lifeguard get-up is indeed impressive and also funny just because of how out of the blue it is. And yes that is him as the mustachioed cop. Nice to see him get his girl back in the end.

    Roscoe and Al are no slouches either; their whole fight in the drink is fun to watch, from Al's flying leap onto Roscoe to the dolphinesque way Roscoe swims away from Al.

    Also, Joe Bordeaux is both the ticket taker and the cop putting Al in and later ushering him out of the cell. He also appears as a cop in the chase. Apart from being a supporting actor and stuntman, he was also Roscoe's chauffeur (per Brent Walker's Sennett book).

    Very fun short overall. A deserved classic, and I love the opening shots of Luna Park at night.

    (Lastly: post #150! Whoo!)
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 08:00:15 PM »
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  • Buster is not quite Buster yet, but he's getting there, and he's definitely gaining on the other two.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 08:39:40 PM »
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  • Gonna rewatch this sometime this week, but for now, want to say I don't know if I'd rate a single one of these Arbuckles a 10, but I remember this being one of the more interesting ones.  This one's really filmed at Coney Island too!
    "Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 04:45:22 AM »
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  • Gonna rewatch this sometime this week, but for now, want to say I don't know if I'd rate a single one of these Arbuckles a 10, but I remember this being one of the more interesting ones.  This one's really filmed at Coney Island too!

    Well, I think this is going to be my only 10 among the Arbuckles, based on what I remember about the rest.
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 09:05:42 AM »
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  • From what I remember, I think there is one more Arbuckle that I'd give a 10, but I'll have to watch it again first.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Coney Island (1917) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 08:24:02 PM »
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  •       OK, OK, I'm going to join in on the chorus and give this thing a ten.  One of the great things about this film is the genuine, real Coney Island setting.  Real location settings like this were pretty common in the silent era but got lost a bit once sound came in.  Arbuckle, being a Sennett veteran, no doubt was inspired by his former boss.  Sennett shots tons of films on outdoor locations.

          Keaton is not 100% in vintage form simply because he smiles and makes broad gestures, something he'd never do on his own.  Other than that, he's physically in top form, doing some wonderful falls and stunts.  Love the random backflip he does in the lifeguard uniform, and the falls he takes on the bumper cars earlier on really had me laughing.  Also, rule of thumb - yes, that probably was Buster being a stunt double for the leading lady.  Whenever you see a long shot of a female taking a ridiculous fall in a Keaton film, it's Keaton doing the stunt.  The most famous example is in SHERLOCK, JR.

          Arbuckle is totally enjoyable, running away from his wife, hiding below the sand, and doing that classic, fourth wall breaking bit where he gets dressed on screen and instructs the cameraman to move the camera up so we don't see below the waist.  The physical stuff he and St. John do in their fight towards the end is awesome, even more impressive because of Arbuckle's size.

          This short is paced beautifully, and no moments feel too fast or wasted like some of the random chases in previous entries.  This film is a pleasure all around.

    10/10
    "Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin