Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle’s New Humor

Fatty’s Plucky Pup
R: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle. D: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Phyllis Allen, Edgar Kennedy, Joe Bordeaux, Josephine Stevens, Al St. John. P: Keystone Film Company. USA 1915

“The narrative discourse of Fatty’s Plucky Pup is evidently not designed for unity. There is nothing necessary in the events of the first reel for an understanding of the second; we do not, for example, need to know how Fatty acquires his dog in order to accept the dog’s subsequent presence. Narrative development is hostage to the film’s structural tensions and divisions. As unusual as this film is, the majority of Keystone’s two reel releases exhibit a similar compromise with narrative values: rather than attempt a comprehensively plotted form, Keystone’s filmmakers preferred a more divided approach, shifting from loosely structured ‘biz’ at the films’ beginnings to tautly plotted melodramas at the ends. The inventiveness of this strategy was to have met the challenge of the two-reel format without undermining Keystone’s indebtedness to the disjunctive formulas of the New Humor. But it also produced an unresolved tension between the demands of slapstick and the demands of narrative, a tension that could – and in the case of Fatty’s Plucky Pup did – yield disunities within the comic text. This tension lay in the heart of Tillie’s Punctured Romance.”
Rob King: The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture. University of California Press 2008, p. 118/119

>>> Fatty and Mabel