The Mystery of Leaping Fish (1916)

Images retrieved from:
Wikipedia.org on September 21st, 2013.
seul-le-cinema.ca on September 21st, 2013.
Text retrieved from Wikipedia.org on September 21st, 2013.

In this unusually broad comedy for Fairbanks, the acrobatic leading man plays "Coke Ennyday," a cocaine-shooting detective parody of Sherlock Holmes (a self-injecting cocaine addict in Arthur Conan Doyle's 1890 novel The Sign of Four) given to injecting himself with cocaine from a bandolier of syringes worn across his chest and liberally helping himself to the contents of a hatbox-sized round container of white powder labeled "COCAINE" on his desk.

Fairbanks otherwise lampoons Sherlock Holmes with checkered detective hat, coat, and even car, along with the aforementioned propensity for injecting cocaine whenever he feels momentarily down, then laughing with delight. In addition to observing visitors at his door on what appears to be a closed-circuit television referred to in the title cards as his "scientific periscope," a clock-like sign on the wall reminds him to choose between "EATS, DRINKS, SLEEPS, and DOPE".

The film displays a lighthearted and comic attitude toward Coke Ennyday's use of cocaine and laudanum (a tincture of opium), but condemns the act of smuggling opium which is done by Asian gang members in the film.

ShareThis