Fatty Joins the Force (1913)
A friend asked me who Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was recently, and I said, “before there was Charlie Chaplin, there was Fatty Arbuckle.” This answer serves for casual conversation, but, of course, is an oversimplification, ignoring the degree to which the careers of the two men paralleled and even intersected one another. This is an example of a movie Arbuckle made at Keystone only a few weeks before Chaplin arrived at the lot, and it has a lot in common with the movies I’ve discussed from Chaplin’s Keystone era. It certainly lives up to the formula, “a park, a girl, and a policeman,” with the interesting twist that Fatty himself is the policeman, and a gang of local kids are his nemesis. It includes such recognizable comedic standards as pies in the face, mistaken identities, and clothes stolen while an innocent fool takes a swim. Fatty winds up the worse for the whole experience, even losing his girl (Dorothy “Dot” Farley, later in “The Unholy Three” with Lon Chaney, Sr. and “Pretty Policeman”) to the police captain! Arbuckle may be a bit heavier than the other stars of slapstick, but nearly as athletic in his pratfalls as the stars we remember better today. Mack Sennett, the head of Keystone, makes a cameo appearance as one of Fatty’s fellow officers.
Director: George Nichols
Starring: Roscoe Arbuckle, Dorothy Farley, Mack Sennett
Run Time: 13 Min
You can watch it for free: here.