What The Iron Mule lacks in plotting, it makes up for in exuberance. Unfortunately, the exuberance isn’t omnipresent. It’s like directors Arbuckle and Jones felt the need for gags, which don’t work, but had modern fun with the physical comedy.
Almost all of the physical comedy is in long shot. It doesn’t seem like a good idea at first, like the audience is going to miss some detail, but then Arbuckle and Jones hold the shot and even more comedy plays out.
Those sequences–there are a couple great ones and a few more good ones–make up for Mule‘s lack of direction. It’s the story of a train ride, with the main joke being the titular Iron Mule. It’s a pitiful little train (borrowed for Our Hospitality), losing a race with a cow.
Ostensible leading man Al St. John makes no impression.
It’s charming, without being much good.
Directed by Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle and Grover Jones; written by Jones; released by Educational Film Exchanges.
Starring Al St. John (The Engineer).