Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


THE THREE STOOGES featurettes.
Most baby boomers remember the Three Stooges from their TV show when they were older [and different] men and had done the same old routines about ten thousand times. Years before, in the forties, when they were comprised of Moe and Jerry/Curly Howard (Shemp Howard came later) and Larry Fine, the Stooges had done much more interesting short features that were shown in movie theaters. AMC showed quite a number of these on New Year's Day, and while it must be said that the Stooges should only be taken in short doses, some of their old shorts are quite funny. In Hoi Polloi the boys try to turn into society types; the best scene has them imitating their pretty dance instructress who goes into all sorts of physical conniptions when a bee goes down her dress! They masquerade as psychiatrists at a society party in Three Sappy People and discover that a kindly widow has oil on her property in Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise. The boys manage to fix up a hotel but come afoul of mice and other things on opening night in Loco Boy Makes Good, and are ice men turned disastrous chefs in An Ache in Every Steak. As professorial impostors at a girls school, they have the lasses singing a dopey "Alphabet Song" in Violent is the Word for Curly. Curly becomes a wrestler in Grips, Grunts and Groans. In Woman Haters, Larry joins a misogynous club only to discover he has to get married. [The entire story is told in verse and song, but despite this clever aspect it all becomes quite tiresome after awhile.]

Three of the best Stooges shorts are: If a Body Meets a Body in which Curly Q. Link thinks he's inherited money from an uncle and winds up in a haunted mansion with assorted dead bodies; A-Plumbing We Will Go, in which the boys completely demolish a mansion when they try to fix a simple leak in the pipes; and especially Micro-Phonies in which Curly in a wig is mistaken for a grand opera singer and must perform with his buddies in front of a crowd. You have to see the Three Stooges lip-syncing to the sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor to believe it! Hilarious! Fine and the Howard boys were all gifted comic actors. The Stooges' full-length movies include Rockin' in the Rockies, the dreadful Gold Raiders, The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze, and the amusing Have Rocket, Will Travel.

Verdict: They're not the Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy but they can be inventive and funny. ***.

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