Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Working backwards from the title

Okay, so we got a great Stooge title to work with: Some More of Samoa. Now, to fashion a plot around it. How do we get the Stooges to go to Samoa? Or will they perhaps go to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ISLAND ALTOGETHER? Stay tuned to find out! The answer may disappoint you...


Well, the sleeping pill's starting to kick in, which is probably the best way to watch a Stooge short to begin with. Needles to say, I'll have to parse this out over the next couple days. Anyway, we start with Symona Boniface in a rare appearance outside of the fancy party, without a face full of whipped cream and pie crust. I'm just not used to that! She plays the doting wife of a nutty botanist who's nursing some rare tree, a Puckerless Persimmon... a Samoan tree, perhaps? The pieces fall into place slowly, but more quickly once the Stooges arrive. The boys play three tree surgeons with their own shop and everything! We see them washing their hands, much like the Marx brothers did in A Day at the Races, but don't think about that. Funny tool names are thrown about, but for some reason the cotton proves to be the most troublesome. Curly still gets the chance to make a noise like a dog barking... tree bark, dog bark? See the connection? The boys are working on a tree patient, maybe a patient tree, and Curly gives it an injection of Vitamin PDQ. Now, I hate to be the bearer of spoiler alerts, but can you even doubt what's going to happen when the Stooges get near a hypodermic needle? Anyway, after pumping their tree full of Vitamin PDQ, it instantly rises several feet, and fruits on the tree limbs start to grow so fast, you'd swear they were balloons inflating! Curly lets out a different nyuk nyuk at about 2:50 or so... Just then, the big phone call comes in. Larry doesn't usually use his own last name for the purposes of puns, but he does here, saying that he's fine. And my eyelids are starting to droop. Better finish this later.
(later) Why is it every time Curly wears a stethoscope, Moe pulls on it and lets it loose in Curly's face? Anyway, the call comes in, and so begins the episode that will hog the rest of the film. But I must give a shout out to my friend's favourite part of this film. Curly starts packing his bag. He rips the phone off the wall and puts it in the bag. Moe asks why he's bringing the phone. Curly's obviously a futurist, a thinking man, a man ahead of the technological curve... anyway, he says "In case we get a call whilhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gife we're gone!" That's why there's a reference to iPhones in the new Farrelly brothers' Stooges movie; that, and it's a blatant product placement. And sure enough, the phone rings in the bag! Curly says hello twice, but the second one's the key one. (Curly 3:42) Curly eventually gets his head out of the bag after what seems like an eternity, gets hit by Moe, and... you guessed it... falls ass first onto the Vitamin PDQ hypodermic. Curly's legs begin to grow. After the initial shock, Curly says "Look! I'm a giant!" Moe retorts "Well, I'm a giant killer and my name ain't Jack." Curly responds, "Well, beat me, Daddy, down to the floor." That's one for the hardcore Stooge fans; must be a reference to red-headed stepchildren or something.


Back to that guy in the wheelchair. What a pain in the ass. Thank God the Stooges show up. You may think he's outnumbered 3 to 1, but believe me, it's a meeting of equals. The Stooges take some of their tools out before entering the room, mostly saws. Symona looks visibly worried. Either she thinks they're going to operate on the guy or the tree; hard to say which would be worse at this point. They go ahead with the comedic ruse. Surprisingly, the wheelchair guy plays along perfectly! As Curly saws a tree limb, he acts as if it were his leg being sawed off. It's obviously a phony limb, of course; you can tell even on the YouTube.
After the dust settles, saw or otherwise, Professor Moe goes to work on someone other than a Stooge! I guess that makes the wheelchair guy (uncredited) an honorary Stooge. The blind leading the blind. Moe declares that the persimmon tree won't bloom because it has no mate. In Moe's exact words, "This poor thing is pining away for a girlfriend!" Curly helpfully offers "Or maybe a boyfriend!" Maybe some bees could pollinate the tree, but there's no time for that. This is only a two-reeler. We learn that a mate for the tree will be found on the isle of Rhum Boogie. Road trip time. Let the racism begin!

This is probably where Act Two should begin proper, but never mind. It's too late. I've made my choice, and now I'm sleeping in it. We begin this section with Moe and Larry arriving on the island via sailboat. They've clearly spent too long on the boat and have become dizzy from drinking seawater, as they can barely account for the lack of Curly on the boat with them. They find his helmet on the shore of the island, and they assume he's arrived ahead of them. We're clearly in uncharted Stooge territory now. Moe orders Larry to find Curly's footprints and follow them. For once, they're stealing gags from Tex Avery instead of one of their live-action contemporaries. They follow the trail of footprints until it leads them to one of the native Rhum Boogians named Kingfisher, played by stuntman Duke York... Duke York. What a name. Bad schoolyard name. The boys run from the frying pan to the fire, as they get surrounded by a couple dozen Rhum Boogians wielding spears. Moe and Larry get hogtied and taken back to the village. The village king is summoned, and Moe and Larry get hit on the head for not bowing to the king. Curly emerges from the hut, flanked by two rather Anglo-looking babes. Moe and Larry look surprised, then angry. Curly says "Boy, they have rather large monkeys in this part of the country!" Curly apparently won a game of dice against the king. The king himself emerges, and it's another rather Anglo-looking fellow who seems to have also sat upon a Vitamin PDQ hypodermic. Why didn't they think of this before? Casting stuntpersons as villagers of a third world island nation? Maybe they have... probably did that with the Native American-themed films they've done.
They get right down to business. Moe says they want a persimmon tree. The king will give them a tree if one of the Stooges marries his sister. The rather Anglo-looking sister emerges. She wants to marry Curly. Moe and Larry are happy with this proposition; Curly, not so much. Of course, when Moe and Larry find out they're going to be eaten, they're much less happy.


The soup is being prepared. Curly must've done something to queer the deal because he's got an apple in his mouth and getting covered in sifted flour!! Moe and Larry are tied to a tree. If it's a persimmon tree, there's some salt in the wound to start. Curly laughs at 2:49. Gotta like that. It figures: they get the black dudes to prepare the Stooge stew. Curly somehow manages to escape, not being tied down and all. Moe and Larry must not have been tied down very well, as they make their escape at about the same time. A mighty chase ensues. Curly runs back into the king's hut to get the persimmon tree, after unsticking his pivot foot. Curly runs afoul of a giant comedy Native statue with many arms and dusty nostrils. Curly finally gets satisfaction after hitting the statue once with a giant club, takes the persimmon "tree" from its cradle, and leaves the king's hut. Curly gets his pivot foot stuck in front of the hut, but manages to break free and catch up to Moe and Larry. Curly gets spooked after Moe and Larry emerge from hiding. He runs into a tree and dislodges three irregularly shaped coconuts which all land on his head.
The Stooges make their escape again, but there's still about three and a half minutes to go, so Curly loses the "tree" and starts looking for it on his hands and knees. Curly misses the tree by several yards, and pokes his head into a hollowed out log. Enter the crocodile. It thankfully moves very, very slowly and doesn't eat anybody. Maybe it's an alligator. I can't tell from the head, but the body looks pretty massive so I'm assuming it's a crocodile. It enters the frame while Curly's got his head in the log. The crocodile looks at Curly and sits down. That's a well-trained crocodile! And then, through the magic of film editing, the crocodile's stunt replacement is brought in, acting as the second log for Curly to stick his head into. Curly sees the persimmon "tree" in the crocodile's throat but doesn't reach for it. The stunt crocodile closes its mouth and scares the shoe leather out of Curly. Curly tries to outwit the crocodile but obviously fails. He doesn't think to look around for a stick to pry open the croc's mouth. Thankfully, Moe and Larry show up. Curly calls it an "alligator" (alley-got-tore - his pronunciation). Professor Moe saves the day once again: he and Larry will tickle the alligator's stomach, and it will open his mouth, giving Curly the chance to reach in and get the persimmon tree out of its throat. Let the suspense begin.


The boys manage to get the tree out of the alligator's throat, but Larry ends up losing the toes of his shoe. The Stooges escape to their boat, chased by native Rhum Boogians. They start throwing their spears now. Negotiations are now impossible. They get back to the boat, but have failed to fix its leaks. They make the saddest island getaway attempt ever. The ending reminds me of the ending of Laurel and Hardy's Perfect Day. There is no supernatural wind to blow them out to sea; they'd have to have Daniel Boone costumes for that. I guess the moral of the story is don't count your persimmon trees before they're boated out of the country. Too bad they didn't get the H.M.S. Beagle!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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