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Author Topic: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton  (Read 700 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/A14_The_Garage.html


Watch THE GARAGE in the link above.

Phase 1 of our journey has reached it's end, and what a wacky way to end.  It's a good short and well worth your time.

The crazy things that happen to cars in this are almost like things that happen to Laurel & Hardy.  Flying apart, imaginary glass, turntables, cleaning with gasoline, etc.  Roscoe and Buster are just masters of pantomime, plain and simple.  If I could have that turntable, I'd wash my car every week!

My big complaint is Harry McCoy.  He plays love like a petulant child, which drivers most of the second reel.  It's surprising he has as deep of career as he does.

An error: if Buster and Roscoe are the town's only cops (note their hat error), how does the woman find a cop to report Buster?  Ooooooopppppppsssss!

The fire was a well-done scene with the chase and the hose and the tram and such, and clearly this short was heavily plagiarized by Charley Chase for FLAT FOOT STOOGES.  An odd end to Phase 1.

8/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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Offline Umbrella Sam

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Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 09:47:04 AM »
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  • THE GARAGE was the final silent short Arbuckle starred in before his move to features and it was a pretty good way to go out. The actual scenes at the garage are very well executed and the chase in this is definitely one of the better ones in Arbuckle's films. The scene of Arbuckle hiding Keaton from the cops is very creative as well (and would later be reused for Keaton's appearance on THE TWILIGHT ZONE years later). Arbuckle and Keaton are not a great team character-wise like Laurel and Hardy, but their ability to take falls and come up with good gags does make up for this.

    Harry McCoy is also the one big problem I have with this short. He's such a boring character, although that gag of him jumping out the window was pretty funny. Thankfully, starting next week, we will be seeing countless great films by Keaton on his own.

    9 out of 10

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 10:44:39 AM »
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  •       A very enjoyable way to end the Arbuckle/Keaton series.  The only thing that prevents me from giving this a ten is that the whole motivation for the male romantic character is a bit muddy to me, but really a minor point in an otherwise highly fun and unpretentious slapstick comedy.  Yes, this film, more than the others, really feels like Arbuckle and Keaton are a team.  Perhaps they knew this was their last film together and they wanted to give Keaton a push before starting his solo career?  Not really sure, just a guess on my part.  This is the last film, either way, where it's not 100 percent pure stone faced Buster,  as you do see some animated grimaces and smiles, though not many.  The scene where they have close ups of Buster grimacing as the dog chews on his backside? You'll never see that in a Buster solo film. 

          As usual, the falls in these things garner big laughs.  There's one Arbuckle takes where he's sitting down next to Keaton while Keaton is working under the hood of a car.  Some explosion causes Arbuckle to burst up and fall on the ground with oil on his face...got a big laugh out of me.  The physicality of these Arbuckle films are great, and there's an example.

           The whole gag where Keaton cuts out the kilt from the billboard and uses it, and later Arbuckle, to cover his boxers from the cop and the lady feels pure Keaton.  When Arbuckle joins the gag, the camera angle and the constant shape shifting between the two comedians to hide Buster's exposed boxers from the back have that gloriously mechanical Keaton feel we will be discussing for a while.  The whole gag of Arbuckle and Keaton getting caught on the high wire and then landing in the car is a wonderful way to end the series.

          As for the aftermath, Keaton got his own solo short series which we'll be discussing, so I won't go into that.  As for Arbuckle, he remained at Paramount and made feature films.  Very few survive, I've only seen and own LEAP YEAR.  My understanding is Arbuckle made several features, sometimes two or three at a time, and he was given a lot of stage properties not exactly written for him.  Think Keaton in THE SAPHEAD, which we'll be discussing soon.  I would like to think Arbuckle may have gained some independence and would have had the chance to make his own films that could compete with Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd as the twenties went on, but alas, we'll never know.  September 5, 1921 was a fateful day in his life that got him banned from Hollywood for over ten years, even though he was legally found innocent.  The whole scandal has books dedicated to it, but below is a link to the Wikipedia portion, for the basics.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roscoe_Arbuckle#The_scandal

          After years directing films incognito, in 1932, Arbuckle was back in films making six shorts for Vitagraph Studios.  A few of them had earlier film appearances of some guy named Shemp.  After the six shorts were made, Arbuckle signed a feature film contract at Warner Brothers and then died in his sleep of a heart attack that night, age 46.  A very sad end.  I really wish we could have seen Arbuckle be independent and do his thing in the twenties, but as it stands, he was number two behind Chaplin in the mid to late teens.  For further viewing, I recommend the 1914 Sennett short he made with Chaplin called THE ROUNDERS and one of the many films he did with Mabel Normand, 1915's FATTY AND MABEL ADRIFT.

    9/10

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 11:30:35 AM »
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  •       A very enjoyable way to end the Arbuckle/Keaton series.  The only thing that prevents me from giving this a ten is that the whole motivation for the male romantic character is a bit muddy to me, but really a minor point in an otherwise highly fun and unpretentious slapstick comedy.  Yes, this film, more than the others, really feels like Arbuckle and Keaton are a team.  Perhaps they knew this was their last film together and they wanted to give Keaton a push before starting his solo career?  Not really sure, just a guess on my part.  This is the last film, either way, where it's not 100 percent pure stone faced Buster,  as you do see some animated grimaces and smiles, though not many.  The scene where they have close ups of Buster grimacing as the dog chews on his backside? You'll never see that in a Buster solo film. 

          As usual, the falls in these things garner big laughs.  There's one Arbuckle takes where he's sitting down next to Keaton while Keaton is working under the hood of a car.  Some explosion causes Arbuckle to burst up and fall on the ground with oil on his face...got a big laugh out of me.  The physicality of these Arbuckle films are great, and there's an example.

           The whole gag where Keaton cuts out the kilt from the billboard and uses it, and later Arbuckle, to cover his boxers from the cop and the lady feels pure Keaton.  When Arbuckle joins the gag, the camera angle and the constant shape shifting between the two comedians to hide Buster's exposed boxers from the back have that gloriously mechanical Keaton feel we will be discussing for a while.  The whole gag of Arbuckle and Keaton getting caught on the high wire and then landing in the car is a wonderful way to end the series.

          As for the aftermath, Keaton got his own solo short series which we'll be discussing, so I won't go into that.  As for Arbuckle, he remained at Paramount and made feature films.  Very few survive, I've only seen and own LEAP YEAR.  My understanding is Arbuckle made several features, sometimes two or three at a time, and he was given a lot of stage properties not exactly written for him.  Think Keaton in THE SAPHEAD, which we'll be discussing soon.  I would like to think Arbuckle may have gained some independence and would have had the chance to make his own films that could compete with Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd as the twenties went on, but alas, we'll never know.  September 5, 1921 was a fateful day in his life that got him banned from Hollywood for over ten years, even though he was legally found innocent.  The whole scandal has books dedicated to it, but below is a link to the Wikipedia portion, for the basics.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roscoe_Arbuckle#The_scandal

          After years directing films incognito, in 1932, Arbuckle was back in films making six shorts for Vitagraph Studios.  A few of them had earlier film appearances of some guy named Shemp.  After the six shorts were made, Arbuckle signed a feature film contract at Warner Brothers and then died in his sleep of a heart attack that night, age 46.  A very sad end.  I really wish we could have seen Arbuckle be independent and do his thing in the twenties, but as it stands, he was number two behind Chaplin in the mid to late teens.  For further viewing, I recommend the 1914 Sennett short he made with Chaplin called THE ROUNDERS and one of the many films he did with Mabel Normand, 1915's FATTY AND MABEL ADRIFT.

    9/10

    I've seen a couple of Arbuckle's solo features: THE ROUND-UP (which Buster Keaton is also believed to have appeared in) and LIFE OF THE PARTY. I remember him feeling very forced into THE ROUND-UP, which was overall not a very interesting film. LIFE OF THE PARTY was much better, featuring Arbuckle as a candidate for mayor who gets into several situations that could cost him the election. I find it interesting how much Arbuckle's character seemed to grow throughout these years. Whereas in OH, DOCTOR! he is very easily seduced by a vamp, in LIFE OF THE PARTY, he is not interested in her at all.

    Also, I highly recommend the film, THE RED MILL, which Arbuckle directed under the pseudonym William Goodrich. It stars Marion Davies, who I don't think was a particularly great dramatic actress, but was a very good comedienne, especially under a good comedy director like Arbuckle.

    Also, I checked out your YouTube videos and thought they were really good. Now please don't gouge my eyes out.  :laugh:

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 11:50:26 AM »
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  • We might, in the future, discuss the Shemp Vitagraphs (the ones available on YouTube, anyhow), including the ones starring Roscoe.  I've only seen IN THE DOUGH, but it was an excellent film given the circumstances.

    We'll get to a Buster feature direct by Mr. Goodrich as well, SHERLOCK, JR.

    Roscoe really got treated unfairly.  But thank heavens several Keaton films will address this!
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 12:11:08 PM »
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  • Interesting that Keaton does indeed get more footage as these things go on, but he must have been proving himself invaluable behind the scenes to get promoted to head comic instantly when Arbuckle left.  He must have been gag-writing, directing, etc, because he certainly doesn't have all that much more footage as an actor.  Somehow Schenck  ( sp? ) must have realized that he had a franchise player here.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 02:07:54 PM »
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  • Interesting that Keaton does indeed get more footage as these things go on, but he must have been proving himself invaluable behind the scenes to get promoted to head comic instantly when Arbuckle left.  He must have been gag-writing, directing, etc, because he certainly doesn't have all that much more footage as an actor.  Somehow Schenck  ( sp? ) must have realized that he had a franchise player here.

    Agreed totally.  Stuff like the kilt gag mentioned above strictly belong in Keaton's world.  I have no doubt he was an influence behind the scenes, and the fact Keaton's first shorts already show a comic fully arrived lead me to believe he learned, grew, and created with Arbuckle.  I'm sure they influenced each other.  I give Arbuckle credit for allowing Keaton the chance.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 02:12:44 PM »
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  • I've seen a couple of Arbuckle's solo features: THE ROUND-UP (which Buster Keaton is also believed to have appeared in) and LIFE OF THE PARTY. I remember him feeling very forced into THE ROUND-UP, which was overall not a very interesting film. LIFE OF THE PARTY was much better, featuring Arbuckle as a candidate for mayor who gets into several situations that could cost him the election. I find it interesting how much Arbuckle's character seemed to grow throughout these years. Whereas in OH, DOCTOR! he is very easily seduced by a vamp, in LIFE OF THE PARTY, he is not interested in her at all.

    Also, I highly recommend the film, THE RED MILL, which Arbuckle directed under the pseudonym William Goodrich. It stars Marion Davies, who I don't think was a particularly great dramatic actress, but was a very good comedienne, especially under a good comedy director like Arbuckle.

    Also, I checked out your YouTube videos and thought they were really good. Now please don't gouge my eyes out.  :laugh:

    You know, I have seen LIFE OF THE PARTY, now that you've mentioned it!  It's been over ten years, and on VHS.  THE ROUND UP I've definitely not seen.  Agree about Roscoe's character.

    Had no clue Roscoe directed Marion Davies either.  Have seen SHOW PEOPLE and THE PATSY, but not THE RED MILL.

    Thanks for the compliment on my videos.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 06:12:32 PM »
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  • Agreed totally.  Stuff like the kilt gag mentioned above strictly belong in Keaton's world.  I have no doubt he was an influence behind the scenes, and the fact Keaton's first shorts already show a comic fully arrived lead me to believe he learned, grew, and created with Arbuckle.  I'm sure they influenced each other.  I give Arbuckle credit for allowing Keaton the chance.

    And I think it comes as no surprise that an entire Laurel & Hardy short, PUTTING PANTS ON PHILIP, is a sequence of kilt gags, directed by Clyde Bruckman!

    We need to have a Clyde Bruckman discussion/debate one of these days.
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 06:41:26 PM »
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  • And I think it comes as no surprise that an entire Laurel & Hardy short, PUTTING PANTS ON PHILIP, is a sequence of kilt gags, directed by Clyde Bruckman!

    We need to have a Clyde Bruckman discussion/debate one of these days.

    Maybe we could use Bruckman as a topic for a possible 6th installation of the Master Debates.  ;)

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #10 on: May 02, 2017, 10:56:41 AM »
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  • Maybe we could use Bruckman as a topic for a possible 6th installation of the Master Debates.  ;)

    Sans the prizes, it's actually a good suggestion in the grand scheme of things, but I think it'd be something a bit more Stooge-y.  It would make for a fun regular discussion for everybody to contribute to in the general discussion forum.
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: The Garage (1919/1920) - Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
    « Reply #11 on: October 10, 2017, 07:55:20 PM »
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  • I’ve decided for fun that I’m going to start doing top and bottom 5’s as we complete each phase of our Buster Keaton journey, so without further ado, here are my picks for the Arbuckle comedies.

    Bottom 5
    5. OUT WEST- THE ROUGH HOUSE was close to taking this spot, but the racism and missed potential was what made OUT WEST take it instead. Still, it’s not awful and can be funny in spots.
    4. OH DOCTOR!- Arbuckle’s abrasiveness in this short is really what kills it for me. Still, this one does get points for originality.
    3. THE BUTCHER BOY- A slightly amusing first half is not enough to make up for an incredibly tedious second half.
    2. GOOD NIGHT, NURSE!- I recently re-rated this one because I felt that my original rating was a little too harsh. Still, the short is very boring and without a doubt takes the number 2 spot.
    1. HIS WEDDING NIGHT- There’s no chance of me re-rating this one. If anything, I felt I was a little too kind to this short in my review. The short is unfunny, offensive, and dated and to date remains the only film Keaton was in that I have outright hated. Keaton once said that Arbuckle’s mindset was that his audience was 6 years-old and I think that HIS WEDDING NIGHT is a perfect example of how flawed Arbuckle’s thinking was in these early years.

    Top 5
    5. THE GARAGE- It was a really good final short for Arbuckle, though Harry McCoy’s performance is what keeps this in the number 5 spot.
    4. THE BELL BOY- Also really good, but not quite as funny as the top 3.
    3. BACK STAGE- Even though it would be done better later as THE PLAYHOUSE, BACK STAGE still is a funny representation of the vaudeville era.
    2. THE COOK- While it reuses a few elements from previous shorts, THE COOK is still an interesting and funny enough short to make the number 2 spot.
    1. CONEY ISLAND- Maybe it’s the nostalgia from it being the first silent film I ever saw, but I think that CONEY ISLAND is a very charming short in both its humor and it’s wonderful location. I feel it also serves as a good transition for Arbuckle, as he seemed to start moving away from the Keystone-style of humor.

    Feel free to do your own top and bottom 5’s if you want. I’d love to read what your picks are.