Watch THE BELL BOY in the link above. We are halfway through the Arbuckle-Keaton era.
Happy 99th birthday to THE BELL BOY, which was premiered on this date in 1918! THE BELL BOY is different from the rest we have reviewed, as here we see Buster, Roscoe, and Al all working *together*. No one is the evil villain amongst the three for once.
The Three Stooges are great because they somehow manage to take a simple task and make it horribly wrong by doing it horribly wrong. Laurel & Hardy do it right and find every way possible way for it to go wrong. Arbuckle, Keaton, and St. John do it horribly wrong and have it come out not only right but with machine perfection.
The opening scene of this is recycled years later as IDLE ROOMERS. The early stuff is basic slapstick.
I love the culture references here. First, the nut Roscoe is trimming the hair of is named "Rasputin the Mystic," which is a reference to the Russian seer to the emperor, who is famous for supposedly being demon-possessed and surviving despite being shot several times in places that should have caused instant death, beaten, thrown off a building, and left to freeze before he finally drowned after being under ice for MUCH longer than even professions could survive. I digress. Likewise, Roscoe trims the man's hair to resemble famous figures... and pies the man after trimming his face to resember Kaiser Wilhelm I!!!
There are some great moments of slapstick throughout from our heroic trio. Each one gets an extended solo scene (though naturally Roscoe gets the most) during which incredible acrobatics are scene. The robbery scene is a slapstick pratfall demonstration for the ages, but sadly no one is identifiable in it.
Unfortunately, much of the supporting cast is downright pathetic, again. This isn't the Keaton silent era where Joe Roberts was dependable. Alas, I must take a point for this flaw as it does affect my viewing pleasure.