This Film Is More Than 100 Years Old

The Cook (1918)

After the absolute horror of Good Night, Nurse!, Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton return to form with this pretty wonderful film. Which is nice.

As you can probably guess from the title, Fatty Arbuckle is a chef in this, while Buster Keaton plays a waiter. The owner of the restaurant, meanwhile, is a man with an absolutely magnificent moustache. Which is nice.

This first section is really great, with Fatty Arbuckle serving up the food in increasingly absurd ways, while Buster’s all charm and acrobatics as the waiter (a pretty good combination, I’d say). There’s even an extended dance scene, which is pretty fun.

And there’s Luke the Dog. Lovely Luke the Dog.

The middle section is the only real lull here, with Fatty Arbuckle and the rest of the staff eating pasta for a full five minutes for some reason, intercut with occasional scenes of Luke the Dog chasing a bad guy around outside for a while.

But at least he gets a hug for all his hard work at the end.

After the interminable pasta interlude, it’s off to the seaside for a day out. I don’t know why. Maybe they just wanted to go back to Coney Island again (and who can blame them, really).

Anyway, at the beach, Fatty’s going fishing, Buster’s going to Goatland (which looks amazing), and Luke the Dog is still chasing that man around. And then there’s a pretty astonishing stunt at the end, which I have spoiled in the image below, I’m afraid.

It’s pretty good fun, all in all. I liked it.



1. I watched this on blu-ray yet again. The screenshots are taken from this version on youtube (which seems to be the blu-ray restoration, but with different music).

2. This film was lost until about twenty years ago.

3. But then it was found.

4. I am glad it was.

5. Fatty Arbuckle’s dancing scene in this is also apparently a parody of the dancing seen in Salomé.

6. Another lost film

7. Which unfortunately seems to have stayed lost.

8. One of the few surviving clips from Buster Keaton’s 50s TV shows is him doing/re-doing Fatty’s dance here.

9. But I can’t seem to find it on the internet anywhere, I’m afraid.

10. And I’m not sure it was quite funny enough anyway really to warrant a remake.


Film Information

Title: The Cook
Director: Fatty Arbuckle
Year: 1918
Duration: 20 minutes
Watch: youtube