Leading Lizzie Astray (1914)
This comedy short stars and was directed by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle during his tenure at Keystone Studios (we’ve seen Fatty already in “The Rounders” and “Fatty Joins the Force”). The premise is deceptively simple: Fatty is a powerfully strong “Country Boy” whose girl (Minta Durfee, who was married to Fatty in real life) is tempted away to the city by a slick character (Ed Brady, who was in “Sulivan’s Travels” and “The Man from Texas”) up to no good. Fatty pursues, and finding his girl being abused, takes revenge on the City Slicker and pretty much anyone else in range of his fists. But, as simple as this sounds, it involves a surprising number of set ups, a huge cast of Keystone regulars (including Mack Swain and Edgar Kennedy, both in “The Knockout” as well), multiple intertitles, and complex inter-cut editing. The whole thing is of course a satire on the “Lost Girl” melodrama which was popular grist for more serious filmmakers’ mills, but Fatty gives the audience the chance to identify with his sensitive and naïve portrayal of a middle-American man in love. The chaos he wreaks on the flashy city café and its clientele has to be seen to be believed: at one point he throws an assailant through a wall and for good measure throws a piano after him!
Director: Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle
Starring: Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Minta Durfee, Ed Brady, Edgar Kennedy, Mack Swain.
Run Time 12 Min
You can watch it for free: here.