FATTY'S TINTYPE TANGLE (Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, 1915, USA, 20m, BW)
Directed by Fatty Arbuckle
Produced by Mack Sennett
Starring Fatty Arbuckle
July 14, 1915
Country United States
Fatty's Tintype Tangle is a 1915 comedy short film. A man, tired of his mother-in-law's henpecking, leaves home in anger and sits on a park bench, where a photographer takes a picture of him sitting next to a married woman, whose husband is not pleased.
The movie stars Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Louise Fazenda, Edgar Kennedy, Minta Durfee and Frank Hayes. The film was directed by Arbuckle and features a spectacular sequence of Arbuckle walking on power lines.
In 1995, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle - Fatty
Louise Fazenda - Edgar's Wife
Edgar Kennedy - Edgar
Norma Nichols - Fatty's wife
Mai Wells - Fatty's mother-in-law
Frank Hayes - Police Chief
Joe Bordeaux - Passerby with Banana
Glen Cavender - Photographer
Fatty's Tintype Tangle (1915), which was directed by Arbuckle, and displays the speed and inventiveness for which Keystone was famous. A photographer takes a picture of Fatty on a park bench, when he happens to be sitting next to a woman he doesn't know. The woman's husband (Edgar Kennedy) gets the wrong idea and comes after him. Fatty tells his wife he has business out of town, and flees in a panic. Fatty's wife then unknowingly rents Fatty's room to Kennedy and his wife. Fatty returns home unexpectedly....and so on. This is all an excuse for escalating slapstick, with Kennedy shooting at Fatty, everyone running around and into one another, and the Keystone Kops racing in at the last minute. It's crude, fast, and funny. Arbuckle is extraordinarily agile -- at one point he gets trapped on some telephone wires and bounces up and down on them with alarming skill. Mack Sennett had come up with the idea of cranking the camera a little slower so that the action was slightly speeded up
Fatty is married to Norma Nichols in this movie, and is enduring a visit from her mother, Mai Wells. The mother-in-law nags at Fatty and makes him miserable, while he tries to make pancakes in the kitchen (at one point flipping one in the air and kicking it back into the frying pan mid-air with his foot. There’s a sequence in which he goes into the bathroom to get something for his wife, forgetting that the mother-in-law is in the bath. After taking quite a bit of abuse (and bringing it on himself), he decides to take a few nips from a jug in the kitchen, becoming confrontational as a result. He storms out of the house and goes off into the park. At this point, enter our other couple, Edgar Kennedy and Louise Fazenda, who, we are told, are Alaskan migrants, looking for a home. Kennedy is dressed as a kind of wild mountain man, while Fazenda is made up to look freckled and homely. While Edgar is gone, Fatty sits next to Louise on a park bench, on onto one of her knitting needles. She helps extract it, then sits on it herself. Fatty helps her and consoles her.
Not far away, Glen Cavender, an itinerant photographer, spots the two of them and takes a snapshot, thinking it is a lovely romantic scene. He shows them the tintype he has made, and they react in fear for their reputations. Cavender seems to toy with the idea of blackmail until Fatty becomes violent and chases him off, Louise retaining the picture. Now Edgar returns and sees the photo, and he threatens Fatty, who is clearly frightened – Kennedy is bigger than him, looks crazy, and has guns to boot. Kennedy tells Fatty to leave town before sundown. Fatty hastens to comply. He rushes home and absently packs a bag, telling his wife that he’ll be gone on business for a month. Norma decides she won’t need the house to herself and moves in with her mother, looking in the paper for renters.
She finds an ad and calls, getting Edgar Kennedy, who eagerly comes over to move in with Louise. Meanwhile, things have not gone well at the train station for Fatty, who missed his train and got in trouble with a station cop for drinking. He decides to go home to wait for the next train. Of course, he manages to walk in on Louise in the bathroom, and tries to hide from Edgar in the shower, getting sprayed when Edgar tries the tap. Edgar flies into a rage when he finds him there, and chases him all over the house with his guns blazing, frequently scoring hits on Fatty’s behind. At one point, Fatty feigns death, and Edgar seems to feel remorse, but he forgets this as soon as Fatty revives. Fatty winds up on the telephone wires above the house, with Kennedy still shooting from his never-emptying guns. Finally, they both fall into a rain barrel, with their wives pulling each of them out by the hair and giving them a consoling kiss.
The climax of this movie is Fatty on the high wires, walking, running, jumping, and bouncing along for a minute or more. This is a darned impressive stunt, and apparently a famous one as well, although overall the movie doesn’t have as much stuntwork as we saw in “Fatty’s Faithful Fido.” There is one good bit with the Keystone Cops, who get called, pile into a car, and never actually arrive on the scene. Apart from that, it’s all Fatty in this one sequence, whereas the other included great work from Al St. John and Luke the Dog. A tintype, by the way, was a kind of “instant” photograph that was made by creating a direct positive on a thin piece of metal, which is why a photographer in the park could offer Fatty a picture right away, instead of having to go home and develop it from film.
About Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle
Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle , byname Fatty Arbuckle
born March 24, 1887, Smith Center, Kansas, U.S.
died June 29, 1933, New York, New York
Arbuckle began entering five-dollar amateur shows in his preteen years, and by the time he was 20 he was a veteran of carnivals, vaudeville, and traveling stock companies, with an act that consisted of jokes, songs, acrobatics, and magic tricks. Weighing between 250 and 300 pounds for most of his adult life, he amazed audiences with his physical prowess and gained a reputation for versatility. After a few tentative stabs at film acting between 1908 and 1910, he was hired by Mack Sennett's Keystone comedy studio in 1913. Appearing opposite such seasoned clowns as Ford Sterling, Mabel Normand, and Charlie Chaplin, “Fatty”—a nickname he always hated—Arbuckle quickly emerged as one of Keystone's top attractions. From late 1914 onward he wrote and directed virtually all the comedies in which he starred, including such classics as Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916) and He Did and He Didn't (1916).
In 1917 Arbuckle took creative control of producer Joseph M. Schenck's Comique Film Corporation, for which he directed and starred in a series of knockabout two-reelers. During this period he also discovered and nurtured the talents of the young Buster Keaton, who costarred in several Arbuckle films. With The Round Up (1920), Arbuckle became the first major comedy star to make the transition from short subjects to feature films. Though most of his subsequent features tended to downplay slapstick in favour of situational humour, his popularity grew unabated.
After completing three films back to back in September 1921, an exhausted Arbuckle attended a weekend party at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. A few days after the drunken festivities, one of the participants, movie starlet Virginia Rappe, died of a ruptured bladder. On the basis of questionable “eyewitness” testimony, Arbuckle was accused of rape and manslaughter by a battery of politically ambitious prosecutors. He also endured a prejudicial “trial by headline,” orchestrated largely by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Ultimately, three court trials were held; the first two ended in hung juries, but the third resulted in a full acquittal. An impassioned statement by the third jury began “Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle. We feel that a great injustice has been done him.”
This verdict notwithstanding, Hollywood's top executives, hoping to deflect attention from other scandals in the motion picture industry, persuaded censorship czar Will H. Hays to ban Arbuckle from the screen. Throughout the 1920s and early '30s, Arbuckle found work as a film director using the pseudonym William Goodrich (his father's name) and enjoyed modest success in vaudeville and as co-owner of a popular California nightclub. Thanks to a letter-writing campaign inaugurated by his friends in the movie industry, he made an impressive screen comeback in 1932 as the star of a series of Vitaphone two-reel comedies.
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