Friday, September 09, 2011

Be-vare, take care.... Be-vare... VAIT! PULL DE STRING! PULL DE STRING!

Sorry, that's the only pun I could think of. Can't spend the usual amount of time or energy on this week's Stooge film, and perhaps that's the appropriate response. A film like this, why... you just should sit back and enjoy it on your own terms! Charley Chase strikes again as Stooge director with Flat Foot Stooges, but it's the second to last one. Saved by the Belle's the last one. I didn't remember the title, but I did remember that it was full of earthquakes. Looked pretty good, too! Damaged buildings, not just the shaky camera. Anyway, back to this one. This is another one where the Stooges play firemen. It doesn't seem to be terribly clever, as Chase was usually wont to do, unless one considers where the fire takes place. Was it original, though? Who knows...
As for the cast, the dude who harassed the Stooges in The Great War appears here as a fire station boss. Dick Curtis and Chester Conklin, on the other hand, they're clearly slumming. I think this is the first Stooge short that Curtis is in, maybe Conklin. But seeing as how Curtis appeared in Capra's You Can't Take It With You, and Conklin worked with Chaplin so much, well... guess the Stooges were the paying jobs, who knows. They can't all be labours of love; otherwise, one can't eat! Anyway, like all classy films, the Stooges deals with a turning point in history. In this case, when the horse-drawn fire engine was being replaced by gas-powered ones. Surely the gas-powered ones had almost total market share by this point? And W.C. Fields and others made comic hay out of that damn ladder! The urgency of getting to a fire combined with the need to hang off of that ladder as it hangs over the side, right in the way of oncoming traffic. Well, spoiler alert: none of those kinds of shenanigans here, but shenanigans nonetheless. For starters, Curly's come up with a new invention. Yes, even Curly has ideas for inventions, just no startup capital to bring it to greater fruition. One just has to find the right string to pull... (from the film)
As the Stooges don't tend to set the plot in motion, enter the villain: a dude wanting to sell the old man a new-fangled fire engine. Capitalism at its finest. After getting caught taking matters into his own hands, a chase ensues that results in a fire starting in the upper floor of the firehouse. The Stooges, showing why it's the nightmare scenario to have them as firemen, mistake the place of origin of an emergency call as the place of origin of the fire, and off they go. Through a comic mishap involving a beta version of Curly's invention, the horses take off running, leaving the horse-drawn fire engine as a Stooge-drawn fire engine. Using their populist powers, they quickly summon an army of volunteers to pull the fire engine, Keystone Kops style, to where the call came from. It's only through a miracle they discover they're going the wrong way: the dude who started the firehouse fire, finds himself trapped by it, and yells very VERY loudly for help. The fire engine gets dragged back to the fire house by all those people, the... I tend to not be exhaustive in my plot descriptions. The fire chief's daughter was also trapped by the fire. The net crew end up saving her, while the bad guy falls safely into a giant pothole in front of the fire station... they really ought to fill that up, lest another stunt man fall into it! Ultimately, the victory belongs to the modern fire engine. The bad guy gets away, and the Stooges start to chase after him. They fall into the hole the bad guy fell into, but the Stooges aren't as savvy about getting themselves out of a hole. Too busy hitting each other. Ain't it always the way?

good double bill with: False Alarms

****
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

1 comment:

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