Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

BACKSTAGE (1919)

Molly Malone and "Fatty" Arbuckle
BACKSTAGE (1919 silent). Director: Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.

In this silent comedy short "Fatty" Arbuckle plays a stagehand at a theater and is assisted by Buster Keaton (whom in real life Arbuckle discovered). They come afoul of a strong man (Charles A. Post) who treats his female assistant (Molly Malone) so terribly that Arbuckle, Keaton and others team up to get even with him. The strong man and the other players go on strike, so Arbuckle, Molly and Keaton have to take their places on stage. Then the strong man sits in the front row of the balcony with plans of his own ... Backstage is a cute picture which shows Arbuckle's appeal as a funnyman. Jack Coogan Sr. plays a multi-dexterous specialty dancer that the boys try to imitate with expected results, and Al St. John is another stagehand.

Verdict: Funny and fast-paced with some good clowning and stunt work. ***.


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