Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Three Stooges Make a Date with Disaster... so what else is new?

Ah... the Three Stooges as firemen. What could possibly go wrong? We find the boys are showering at the fire station, on the verge of getting fired by that mean bastard from that army one I reviewed a couple weeks ago... too tired to go looking for it now. In fact, he says "If this were the Army, I'd have ya shot at sunrise!" Of course, they don't get up that early. They get one last chance, and immediately get to work destroying the Fire Department. Meanwhile, the boss' new car arrives. What could possibly go wrong?
They start slow with a prelude to the damage to be inflicted upon the prized new car. Then, they move on to what would seem like the least necessary work in the Fire Department: washing the fire hoses. So far, my favourite gag has to be when Curly throws a rolled-up fire hose into the giant washpan, thereby splashing Moe with soapy water. The hoses finally get destroyed beyond further usability in what is clearly an "homage" to the big finale of One Week. They speed up their work to get to Maisy's house for pig knuckles smothered in garlic. Well, it was the Great Depression, as good a time as any to throw the ol' kashrut right out the window. The hose-washing operation ends up out on the street, at which point they had to redub. Must've been either too noisy on the street, or the microphones were just too lame.
Meanwhile, the three girls are awaiting the arrival of Curly. Could there be three more thankless token roles in showbiz? The fat chick is named Minnie... get it? Kinda subtle for the Stooges. Usually their comedy names are lawyers named I. Fleecem or presidents of the pest exterminator companies named A. Pest. Poor thing. She's looking for a boyfriend. She's got a good line: "The only way I can get a man is to call a doctor." Moe and Larry are back at the station doing a sink gag they'll do later in the brief interim between Shemp and Joe Besser... but I forget which one. Moe and Larry miss another fire call. This one was called by Curly. There's a complicated gag involving Moe's intent to eye poke, but it'd take too long to explain... ah, who'm I kidding? I've got nothing but time! They leave the sink on the Fire Dept.'s top floor, and crash their way through the bathroom door. The door falls down, and they cling to it, much like Billy Crystal in Throw Momma from the Train. In the Stooges' case, however, there's no decline to justify forward momentum. They slide towards the fire pole, fall down, and two dummies land on the bottom floor. Larry's head has sunk down into his coat. Moe takes Larry's cap off, ready to poke him in the eyes, but he can't! Larry's head has sunk down into his coat! He grabs him by his naturally curly locks and ratchets his head back up into its proper place. The eye poking is called off for the moment. Phew! I'm tired now! Anyway, the fire truck is on its way to Curly's fake call. Moe and Larry try to save their jobs... by taking the boss' new car to the call. What could possibly go wrong with this plan? They take a shortcut, and arrive at Curly's emergency call box well before the fire truck. They didn't get a chance to cause too much damage to the car, but I have a feeling they'll make up for it later. The six of them pile into the car and drive back to the fire station. It's at this point where they seem to have completely run out of script, and have to improvise. Curly seems to use his real voice when he tells one girl to "cut it out."
There's some fancy second unit car stunts before the inevitable giant crash. The car is covered in fake columns. Minnie ends up with a black eye, and finds herself in a slap fight with Curly. Well, it was a different era. The Farrellys definitely won't do that today... will they?
All right. I can't handle any more of the blow-by-blow play-by-play. I won't spoil the ending for you, but the boys end up driving off in a smoldering Bekins truck. I seem to recall that ending in another one... surprise surprise. Maybe I'll keep better track of those kinds of details someday. I guess this one isn't one of my favorites. At least, I haven't seen it a million times like some of them. Still, it's not bad. A typical signature Stooge film.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

No comments: