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.