(director: Charles Avery; cinematographer: Frank D. Williams; cast: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle (Pug), Minta Durfee (Pug’s girlfriend), Edgar Kennedy (Cyclone Flynn), Charles Chaplin (Referee), Frank Opperman (fight promoter), Al St. John (Boxer rival), Hank Mann (Tough), Mack Swain (Gambler); Runtime: 26; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mack Sennett; Grapevine Video; 1914-silent)

“Wacky boxing comedy short.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Producer Mack Sennett turned out for his Keystone studio this wacky boxing comedy short (a two-reeler) that despite the title has no knockout. What it has are many sight gags. Film buffs with nostalgia for silent comedies should find it a treat, others may not.

Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle is a jolly young man who learns he has some boxing talent after tangling with some hooligans. He tries to impress his girlfriend Minta Durfee (Arbuckle’s real-life wife) by signing on for a boxing match with the champ, Cyclone Flynn (Edgar Kennedy, a former boxer who once went fourteen rounds with the legendary Jack Dempsey), as the champ advertises that he will meet all comers in Fatty’s hometown. Two hobo con-artists have one of them pretend to be Cyclone Flynn, but when the hustler boxer (Al St. John) observes Fatty in his workout lifting a 500 lb. weight with one hand, he tosses a note to Fatty that says “It’s very unpleasant knocking out fat men, so lay down and we’ll go halves on the coin.” Fatty refuses and the con-artists flee when the real Cyclone arrives and quickly dispatches both of them. In the ring, Charlie Chaplin makes his 17th appearance in a Keystone comedy and becomes a punching bag from both fighters. When Fatty realizes he can’t win, he steals two six-guns from the mustache twirling gambler (Mack Swain) and starts shooting at Cyclone’s feet as the fight spills out to the street and six Keystone Kops are dragged on a rope by Fatty, who was lassoed by them, through the streets until they reach the pier and then they all fall into the water and Fatty’s surrounded by the Kops.

The Knockout (1914)