Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Release Date - Jan 9, 1916 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 34 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

One of the best of the Keystone comedies, the three-reel Fatty and Mabel Adrift is an excellent film by any standards, as well as incarnate proof that Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was among the most talented comedy directors in the business. The film opens with a series of amusing tableux, as hero Arbuckle and heroine Mabel Normand, their faces framed by cut-out heart silhouettes, are romantically spliced by a capricious Cupid -- much to the dismay of Mabel's erstwhile suitor Al St. John, whose own heart silhouette symbolically crumbles to dust. After their marriage, Fatty and Mabel purchase a prefabricated house, situated near the California seaside. Though the bride's first meal is a disaster (her biscuits are as hard as granite), she and her new hubby are blissfully happy in their cottage by the sea. But St. John intends to scuttle their union, and to do this he hires a bunch of hooligans to detach the house from its foundations and send the structure drifting off to sea. Upon awakening, Fatty and Mabel discover that their dream house has become a nightmare: the living room is flooded, and the entire domicile threatens to sink beneath the waves at any moment. Desperately, the newlyweds dispatch their faithful dog Teddy to summon help from the shore patrol, leading to a typical but uproarious Keystone chase finish. For all its slapstick, Fatty and Mabel Adrift contains moments of genuine charm, notably the famous vignette wherein Arbuckle's shadow seems to gently caress the cheek of the sleeping Mabel. The film was presented virtually in its entirety in Robert Youngson's 1960 compilation feature When Comedy Was King.



chase, dog, house, newlywed