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Film: The Knockout
The Knockout is a 1914 Slapstick Farce starring Fatty Arbuckle and directed by Mack Sennett. Fatty stars as Pug, a big guy with a pretty girlfriend. Pug sees some ruffians making unwelcome advances on his girlfriend and fights them off. This gets him volunteered for a boxing match against professional "Cyclone" Flynn, who is taking on all comers. Two hobos who rode in on the train have an idea to impersonate Cyclone Flynn and score some easy money. They propose to split the purse with Pug if he lies down. But then the real Cyclone Flynn shows up and poor Pug finds himself fighting a professional boxer. Pug is getting the worst of it in the fight, until he steals a pair of guns from a spectator and turns the tables on Cyclone Flynn, going on a long, silly chase that forms the climax of the movie.


Tropes:

  • Billing Displacement: After Charlie Chaplin blew up into a huge star, this film was rereleased with him prominently advertised—that is, until the bogus murder scandal that wrecked Arbuckle's career led to this film being banned along with all the rest of Arbuckle's films.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pug has gone off to change into his boxing trunks. He's about to take his pants off when he looks straight into the camera. Embarrassed, he motions for the camera to pan up, which it does, shooting him from the chest up until he's done putting on his trunks.
  • The Cameo: Charlie Chaplin! In 1914 Chaplin was the big new star at Keystone Studios, where Arbuckle worked. In this film he has a small part as the referee in the fight between Pug and Cyclone Flynn. He gets in some pretty good comic business in his brief appearance, including a gag where he takes a punch and then counts himself out. This is one of just a few film appearances in Chaplin's career where he wasn't the star.
  • Celebrity Paradox: After chaos breaks out at the fight and the crowd runs out, a poster for the Keystone production Caught in a Cabaret is visible. Several of the actors in this film, including Chaplin and Minta Durfee (Pug's girl) also starred in that film.
  • The Chase: The film ends with a long and very silly Chase Scene, starting with Pug chasing Cyclone, and then transitioning to the Keystone Kops chasing Pug. Eventually the Kops literally lasso Pug, whereupon he drags them and himself off a pier and into the ocean.
  • Creator Cameo: Mack Sennett is an audience member at the fight.
  • Lemming Cops: The Keystone Kops in fine form, chasing Pug and Cyclone Flynn across the rooftops, looking like idiots. The part where they burst into a high society party, shotting their guns everywhere, is a highlight.
  • Non-Indicative Name: There is no knockout. Just when it looks like Pug might get knocked out, he grabs some guns and goes after Flynn.
  • Police Are Useless: A policeman who tries to stop the fight between Pug and the toughs at the railyard is chased away.
  • Roofhopping: An enraged, gun-toting Pug chases Cyclone Flynn across the rooftops in the long comic climax of the film.
  • Spit Take: Pug does this when he sees how big Cyclone Flynn is.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: A comic use of this trope. Only men are allowed at the boxing match, so Pug's girl dresses up as a man to see her boyfriend fight.
  • Throwing the Fight: The hoodlum that's trying to pass himself off as Cyclone Flynn tries to get Pug to do this.
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