Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Still with plenty of bricks 72 years on...

Finally! Another one I'm sorta familiar with. But time does march on, and when Dick Curtis tells the gang that their musical number was awful, I'm more inclined to agree with him these days.


Scene: Maxey's Place in the New West. Curly's got a fancy bicycle, a precursor to those damn tiny scooters that seemed to be everywhere about ten years ago... damn, has it been that long? Anyway, Moe and Larry and three chicks are singing "Red River Valley." Ah, comedians. They always work with the prettiest chicks of average talent, don't they? Curly arrives late, and has an appropriate reaction to his boss. Curly gets kicked in the ass and proceeds to join the rest on stage. Curly drastically changes the dynamic when the sextet sings "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain," and Moe gives Curly such a slap, it literally makes Curly's hat spin off of his head! That's worth the price of admission right there, folks. (Curly 2:44)
Meanwhile, back to work. Curly dispenses beers like nobody's business... and they'll be out of business if Larry keeps spilling 'em! And then... the plot pudding thickens before bubbling. The bad guy from the last film shows up here as Dick Curtis' henchman. He pays for a drink with a $20 gold piece by mistake. From there, the Stooges get the idea that they can pan for gold and make a lot of money.
Now, here's a part not for modern audiences. Curly dreams of the future, and says the following: "Oh boy! I can see it now: Me coming home from a hard day's work, I whistle for the dog, and my wife comes out..." To lessen the impact of that offence, Curly elaborates: "Me, with my own wife and children! Dozens of 'em!" (children, that is.) Moe holds up two fingers and asks, "How many is that?" Well, let's face it, folks: when you've made an institutional investment in comedy as the Stooges did, ad-libbing's just that much easier. By the time this scene ends, however, they've clearly come to the end of their ad-libbing, and Moe seems genuinely upset!

We see the bad guys burying a bunch of money they just robbed from a bank. The arch bad guy... Maxey? But he's a dude! Anyway, "Maxey" bites into something way too hard and loses a gold filling. The other guy, a plot genius, says, "We ain't got time to look for it now..." Is there any doubt that this gold filling will get found later on? Seems like Larry David's been studying Stooge films for plot-development inspiration! No wonder he's got a part in the upcoming Three Stooges movie. Lucky for him he doesn't have to wait for the Farrellys to make a movie for future employment. Meanwhile, the Stooges are heading right for the spot where the illicit loot was recently buried. They do the ol' six legs routine, but don't quite pull it off this time. (It's Curly and a horse in the water, not the three of them...) For some reason, certain lines stick in the craw of memory forever. One of them is when Curly says that the eggs are "nice and fresh in the sun." Larry must've complained that he's more than just his haircut, so he's got an interfilm recurring gag involving the simple act of chopping wood for a fire. Every time Larry chops wood, one piece flies very, very high up into the air. This time it falls and hits him on the head. I don't think that part happens every time, but I could be wrong... and I probably am about that. Curly ends up falling over the burro, taking all the provisions with him. I'm pretty sure it was a stunt double, however, and I'm pretty sure that the stunt double tried yelling like Curly as he went over.

Act 2.5: Some pretty ambitious plotting ahead. Seems a shame to waste the cut of beef that they do. As it turns out, their burro is named Yorick, so here's how they set up the Hamlet reference. Larry bends his ax on a rock, picks up the rock and throws it over his shoulder. The rock hits Curly and thinks Moe threw it. Curly throws the very light rock at Moe's head. Moe doesn't have a rock handy, so he throws a lit stick of dynamite instead. Makes sense somehow. This lit stick of dynamite lands in front of Yorick the burro. Moe realizes the consequences of what he's done and gets whipped into a frenzy. Curly catches second-hand frenzy. The two of them search for a bucket of water, and they don't see that the dog has moved the dynamite to a safer location. They arrive to douse the dynamite, find it missing, and think the burro swallowed it. Eventually, there's an explosion, and the three knuckleheads are pelted with a fairly large amount of stuff. The cut of beef lands in front of them, and they of course think it's Yorick. Moe gets to utter the line, of course.

The act break's a little uncertain here. This seems to be more like a two-act thing, or maybe I didn't take enough drama classes in college. I guess Act Three begins in earnest when Curly discovers gold... arguably, it's not as legendary as some, but more watchable, at least. JMHO. The gold fever hits the boys hard. Curly and Moe start digging the movie dirt so fast and furious, it freaks out their dog. In one bravura, uncut sequence, Larry brings a bunch of tools and drops them on Moe's feet. The scene continues. Moe gets hit in the ass with one of the picks, and Moe hits Curly on the head with his pick. They had to edit there to switch Moe's pick with a comedy pick. As any Stooge fan will tell you, Curly's head is made of tool-ravaging corundum. But does he not still feel pain? Moe uses an actual pick this time and drives it into the ground. When it gets pulled out, it's got a big wad of bills stuck to it! They eventually uncover all the buried loot and proceed to go back to town to start their new life. I know, I know, but it's part of the Stooge persona to never look a gift horse in the mouth. But it works against them later on when they go back to the very crooks who buried the dough in the first place. The shooting begins.
Curly really f... screws up this time. Moe sits Curly in a chair in front of the door so the bad guys won't get in. Moe says, "Put your weight on that." It doesn't work. Curly's got the bag of money. Maxey says, "GIMME THAT!" Curly throws it at him and makes his way out the window after Moe and Larry.
Anyway, I better cut it short now. There's a big car chase, and the bad guys end up driving into the sheriff's office. Moe tells the sheriff, Vernon Dent, that the bad guys stole the Stooges' dough. Vernon Dent looks at the dough and tells them that it was stolen from the First National Bank. Moe looks rightly disappointed and says "And all the time I thought we had a bonanza." Curly says, "Yes, we have no bonanza!" and starts n'yuk-n'yuk-ing. He turns and looks at Larry, and Larry makes like he's going to slap Curly. Now, I've heard a story that this is where the film was SUPPOSED to end. Fortunately, cooler or hotter heads prevailed. Moe finds himself a nice-looking brick and hits Curly over the head with it. Hopefully it was a prop brick, but it had a lot of prop dust on it! The scene goes on a little longer after that, apparently all ad-libbed, as only the Stooges could, of course. This one's probably not a 4-star Stooge short, but I've seen it so many times already that I can't help but be impartial.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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