The Butcher Boy (1917 film)

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The Butcher Boy
Butcher boy 1917 1.jpg
Directed by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
Produced by Joseph M. Schenck
Written by Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Joseph Anthony Roach
Starring Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle
Buster Keaton
Al St. John
Josephine Stevens
Arthur Earle
Joe Bordeaux
Luke the Dog
Charles Dudley
Alice Lake
Agnes Neilson
Cinematography Frank D. Williams
Edited by Herbert Warren
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • April 23, 1917 (1917-04-23)[1]
Running time
30 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)
A short clip of The Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy is a 1917 American short comedy film starring Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and Buster Keaton. This was the first in Arbuckle's series of films with the Comique Film Corporation, and Keaton's film debut.


The story involves Arbuckle working as the butcher boy in a general store. He's in love with Almondine (Lake), the daughter of the store manager Mr. Grouch. His attempts to get close to her are thwarted when the store's sales manager named Alum (St. John), a rival for the girl's affections, starts a fight in the store with Fatty, which subsequently involves a customer who had earlier bought molasses (Keaton) and Mr. Grouch. Determined to marry Almondine, Fatty follows her—disguised as a female cousin—to an all-girl boarding school. Unfortunately, Alum has the same idea and masquerades as a female student as well. After another fight breaks out between Fatty and Alum, Fatty is taken by the school's principal Miss Teachem to a separate room to be punished. Meanwhile, Alum and his accomplices (Keaton and Bordeaux) attempt to kidnap Almondine. Luckily Fatty's dog Luke distracts the gang while Fatty and Almondine escape. They spot a church across the road and decide to get married.

Note that in a later release, the film's subtitles reflect new names for the characters Alum (now "Slim Snavely") and Almondine (now "Amanda").[2]


Critical response[edit]

A contemporary Variety review indicates the film was well-received, stating: "The Comique Film Co.'s series of Arbuckle two-reelers starts off with Fatty shaking out a bag of laugh making tricks. The cast fits the star, and not the least important member is 'Luke,' the bull terrier. It is a wonder. Arbuckle's juggling with the accessories of the country store where he is an important factor, also his way of handling the feminine clothes worn in his visit to the girl's boarding school, is done in such a serious, earnest way the comic effect is all the more forceful... The first of the Arbuckle series has set a good mark to aim at. While there is some slapstick, the comedy is recommended."

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Knopf, Robert (2 August 1999). The theater and cinema of Buster Keaton. Princeton University Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-691-00442-6. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  2. ^

Further reading[edit]

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