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Film / The Garage

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The Garage is a 1920 short film co-starring Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, directed by Arbuckle.

Fatty and Buster work at an auto repair shop that doubles as a fire station. Fatty is sweet on Molly, the garage owner's daughter, but a fancy gentleman, Jim the Dandy, is also paying court to her. Fatty accidentally dunks the flowers Jim was going to give the daughter in motor oil, causing Molly to reject Jim. Angered, Jim then sets off a false fire alarm, sending Jim and Buster off on a wild goose chase. Then he accidentally starts a real fire.

The fourteenth and last film co-starring Arbuckle and Keaton. Keaton would soon after start his own production company. Arbuckle's career would come to a sudden halt barely a year later when he was unjustly accused of murder.


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Tropes:

  • Acrofatic: As usual in Fatty Arbuckle movies; in this one he nimbly leaps over a large wheel that Buster rolls at him.
  • The Alcoholic: Buster evidently thinks his drink doesn't have enough kick, so he spikes it with wood alcohol.
  • The Alleged Car: A rich guy comes in and demands a cheap rental. Fatty gives him an old Ford jalopy that literally falls to pieces the moment the rich man drives it out the front gate.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The daughter, and then Buster and Fatty, are shown lying down across some power lines. While a bird can sit on one power line because it doesn't complete any electric circuit, lying across multiple lines like that would fry anyone who tried it.
  • Bathtub Scene: Rube's daughter is in the bath when the garage/firehouse catches fire.
  • The Dandy: Jim, whose crisp white suit dramatically contrasts with Fatty and Buster the grease monkeys. One comic sequence involves Fatty accidentally getting Jim's white suit liberally splattered with motor oil.
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  • Early Installment Weirdness: As with all the other Arbuckle-Keaton shorts, Keaton does not act The Stoic, instead being very expressive and indeed verging on Large Ham from time to time. Keaton didn't develop his "Great Stone Face" persona until he embarked on a solo career.
  • Product Placement: Not the first in film, as that dates back to 1909 and the tobacco company that bankrolled Princess Nicotine. But even in 1920 people noticed the strange prominence of Red Crown brand gasoline.
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