Knockout, The (1914)
A boxing ring is a natural site for slapstick, and Keystone brought together nearly all of its star power for this boxing-slapstick comedy. Fatty Arbuckle (from “Fatty Joins the Force” and “The Rounders”) stars as “Pug,” a large, innocent fellow with a yen for Minta Durfee (his real-life wife, also in “A Flirt’s Mistake” and “Fatty Joins the Force”). After several escapades with local tramps, he gets fast-talked into ten rounds against “Cyclone Flynn” (Edgar Kennedy, who was in “A Flirt’s Mistake” and “A Star is Born”). Charlie Chaplin (who also co-starred with Fatty in “The Rounders”) shows up about halfway through as the referee, Mack Swain (from “The Gold Rush” and “Tillie’s Punctured Romance“) is there as the gambler who threatens Fatty if he doesn’t win, and the Keystone Cops show up at the end, when everything has gone completely out of control. It’s a much larger cast and more elaborate scenario than usual in the shorts of the period, with substantially more intertitles, and the editing is tight and the camerawork imaginative as well. The funniest sequence by far is the actual match, in which Kennedy is just “straight” fighting, Fatty is clearly outclassed, but scared to lose, and Chaplin is desperately dodging the blows of the two other men, while trying to trip Fatty up in order to get the ordeal over with sooner.
Director: Mack Sennett
Starring: Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Minta Durfee, Edgar Kennedy, Mack Sennett, Charlie Chaplin
Run Time: 27 Min
You can watch it for free: here.