Leap Year | Chicago Reader

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56 minutes

Comedy, Romantic comedy, Silent
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is better known now as the victim of a Hollywood scandal (his career was cut short in 1921 by a false murder charge) or a mentor to Buster Keaton (who got his start in movies with Arbuckle's production company, Comique) than as a performer. In this genial silent comedy from Paramount, shelved for decades after the scandal broke, Arbuckle proves remarkably agile for his size—in a swell sight gag, he interrupts his golf game by scooping up his little caddy, dropping him into the golf bag, and sprinting away with it. As a stuttering rich boy, he agrees to squire the bathing-beauty girlfriend of his married pal after the pal's wife cables him of her imminent arrival; the ensuing romantic misunderstandings leave little room for the knockabout comedy Arbuckle practiced at Comique, but they give him the chance to develop his slapstick persona into something a little more rounded (so to speak).

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