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Film / Coney Island

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Coney Island, aka Fatty at Coney Island, is a 1917 film starring Fatty Arbuckle and a young Buster Keaton. This film, directed by Arbuckle, features Fatty as a Henpecked Husband who escapes from his nagging wife for some fun at the famous Luna Park on Coney Island. Keaton plays a young man who wants to take his girl to the park, but doesn't have money for tickets, whereupon she goes to the park with another admirer. Said admirer is also an old friend of Fatty's wife. Fatty also hits on Buster's girlfriend after entering the park. Hilarity Ensues.

One of fourteen films that Arbuckle and Keaton co-starred in before Keaton went solo and Arbuckle's career was destroyed by the Virginia Rappe scandal.


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Tropes:

  • Amusement Park: Luna Park on Coney Island. The film starts with a lovely clip of the park lit up at night.
  • Aside Glance / Breaking the Fourth Wall: Fatty looks at the camera and winks a couple of times. Another time, when he is changing into a swimming suit, he signals the camera to pan up. (This was a recycled gag from earlier Arbuckle film The Knockout).
  • Beach Bury: Fatty does this to himself to escape his nagging wife at the beach, using a periscope to confirm that she's left in search of him.
  • Disguised in Drag: It's kind of accidental, as Fatty steals a woman's swimsuit after finding out that the rental counter doesn't have a men's swimsuit big enough for him. He also winds up grabbing the woman's wig and parasol, and puts the whole ensemble on.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Keaton, at this early stage in his career, had not evolved the "Great Stone Face" deadpan persona that he made famous in The Roaring '20s. Viewers more familiar with his later, more well-known work may be surprised to see a Keaton who cries, smiles, laughs hysterically, and mugs for the camera.
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  • Literal Ass-Kicking: In one scene Fatty stands between the other admirer and a cop, kicks the cop's butt, and ducks out of the way as the cop turns around and hits the other admirer.
  • Manchild: Fatty is introduced at the beach, shoveling sand into a toy bucket with a plastic shovel.
  • Nameless Narrative: Typical of silent pictures of the day. The guy hitting on Buster's girlfriend is here referred to as the "other admirer".
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: The other admirer is none too pleased to find out that Fatty's actually a man.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: After being kicked out of the men's room (which is just a shower) because he's dressed up as a woman, Fatty goes into the women's room, which has chairs and couches and full-length mirrors.
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