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Banned Fatty Arbuckle Film Returns to Bay Area

It’s been a big week of news for someone who rarely makes headlines anymore, silent era film star Fatty Arbuckle.

On Tuesday, Vulture reported that Modern Family cast member Eric Stonestreet has made a deal to star in a biopic of the disgraced big man for HBO, with Barry Levinson directing. Now comes word via the San Francisco Chronicle that Leap Year, the 1921 silent that was banned in the wake of Arbuckle’s trumped up underage sex scandal, will enjoy a very rare screening in the Bay Area on August 27. Not too far in fact from the St. Francis Hotel, where Arbuckle’s career came undone:

Arbuckle was tried three times, with the first two trials ending in a hung jury. At the third trial, Arbuckle was acquitted. Along the way, there was speculation of false testimony, jury tampering and backroom deals. After the third trial, the jury even took the unusual step of issuing an apology to the accused comedian.

But it didn’t matter. Arbuckle had been convicted in the courtroom of public opinion.

Prior to this weekend’s screening of Leap Year at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, article author Thomas Gladysz notes that the 56-minute comedy was shown in San Francisco only once previously, back in 1993.

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