Saturday, September 22, 2012
Angry war birds
Well, I give 'em credit: they use different opening music, of a more Civil War flavor if you will! The film itself opens with the same flavor, of course, deep in the heart of Culver City. Moe's line is heavily dubbed in: "I could do this forever and ever!" We see each Stooge individually wooing their own Southern belles. They must be well off in this one, otherwise it wouldn't work. Curly's on a teeter totter with his gal, and he ends up lightly falling off. Larry gets kissed and we hear that Cuckoo on a Choo Choo sound... just the fizzling part. Then, it's settled. They're all getting married, but Curly can't get a soul to shake his damn hand! And when he insists, Moe and Larry tag team him!! Not a good omen.
More bad news. The handsome young bringer of bad news informs the six of them that the Civil War has just started. War always seems to interrupt love and marriage, especially on the silver screen. The only question is: which side of the war is the state the Stooges are in? It's half and half! The Stooges vow to join up anyway. Moe speculates Rumsfeld-style about how long the war will last: "Oh, about a week. It takes time to win a war, you know!" Perfect. I predict they'll lose the war in about 16 minutes. Larry gets a few lines, while Curly gets to back up into a horse! Hardest working Stooge in the biz.
Next scene: the same front of the same house, where Moe and Larry emerge from Stage Left in ... are they Confederate uniforms? I wish they'd make that clear. Larry gets to do the ol' "there's no other place around the place" routine that everyone's just sick of, and gets poked in the eyes for it. Curly arrives from Stage Right in an opposite uniform. The seeds of comedy have been planted, and we'll spend the rest of the film harvesting their golden fruits. First fruit: an entire regimen of ... the type of soldiers that Moe and Larry are come a'marchin' up. Moe and Larry declare that Curly's their prisoner... and, of course, they have told Curly to keep his mouth shut and play along. "Where will we put him?" asks John Tyrrell. "The smokehouse, I reckon!" says Moe.
At this point, the commanding officer starts issuing marching orders. He barks "Left face!" and for once, someone other than a Stooge gets hit by a rifle! ...okay, maybe it happened before. I haven't been keeping that close a track of it, I confess... whew! Got my cursor back! Maybe this will work better in Internet Explorer; there's always a first.
Next scene: the smokehouse, where Moe is reminded verbally again to lock up Curly. Moe and Larry search for the key. Curly gives the key to Moe. There's a metaphor for the South there someplace. Just then, we see a bunch of Union soldiers chasing a bunch of Confederate soldiers! Back to Curly, who's getting let out of the smokehouse by Moe and Larry. Soon enough, it's Curly's turn to lock up Moe and Larry. Moe gives Curly the key. There's a metaphor there someplace... Anyway, I may be the only one who's confused, but the confusion is finally cleared up by Larry at about 4:51, saying that he and Moe need to get Confederate uniforms, like Curly's got. So there you have it. The Stooges are basically decent people, not content with keeping up the little game of arbitrage they've got going in the midst of this bloody battle.
Though the Stooges' hearts belong to Dixie, they're not above stealing the shirt off their fellow Southerner's back. The trio comes across two Confederate soldiers at the face washin' trough. They're both the Stooges' size, but how to get their uniforms? As is sometimes the Case, Curly gets the divine spark of inspiration. We see a shot of some busy-ass ants on the ground. Curly scoops up some ant-laden dirt and dumps it down the soldiers' pants. It does the trick, and soon the soldiers are running around, letting out unsettlingly high-pitched squeals as they do battle with the ants in their pants. Curly sits by with arms folded as the two throw their pants away, completely unaware in their pain and suffering that Curly's even there. And so, Moe and Larry have Confederate pants... the two soldiers seem to still have their jackets, but never mind.
Meanwhile... the smokehouse is empty! The Confederate regimen make this discovery, and begin to search the surrounding area. Next scene: the inside of a barn, where Moe and Larry are putting their pants on. Approaching voices are heard, so Curly springs into action. He's already holding a pitchfork, so he starts ladling giant helpings of hay over Moe and Larry. Now, either the hay's really heavy, or they get what's going on and play along... nah, that can't be it. Curly piles on a couple more helpings of hay at about 12 fps, then starts pretending to churn butter. The coast clears, and Moe and Larry reemerge from the hay. Larry threatens either the Fourth Wall or the Suspension of Disbelief by saying "This war'll be over by the time we change our clothes!" Curly loses his cap in the hay, finds it, then puts it on with a big bunch of hay in it, then clears away the hay. He can stretch the material as thin as anybody, my friends. Meanwhile, Moe confuses his coat with pants... didn't Letterman do that sketch several times? We see Larry struggling with a small coat, then it's back to the action. The Confederate regimen retreats from the firing Union regimen. Fade to black.
Next scene: a non-sequitur, where the Stooges enter a fancy mansion. They each grab a golf ball out of a bowl and take a bite. Maybe it's lemon meringue, who knows. They walk into a room and sadly see well after the rest of us that they've wandered into a Union den. They spit their collective mouthfuls of food out, and the Union men surround the Stooges. They surrender all too quickly, but Moe provides the caveat "We surrender, but only to General Grovelbump." "Who's General Grovelbump?" asks Theodore Lorch. Don't tell me........................ yup, it's time for the ol' "walks like this" routine. Aware of the moldiness of this bit, Moe says "General Grovelbump don't walk... he RUNS!!!" Exit Stage Right, with the Union men in hot pursuit. The Stooges go through a door. Lorch opens the door and knocks three Union men out in the process. This is how the Keystone Kops got started, apparently. Small price to pay to be a Yankee, I suppose. Lorch gets to ad-lib a little bit before the cross-fade.
Next scene: the Stooges apparently stayed in the house and changed costumes again. Their costume? Three ... um... let's say Negroes. Another small price to pay for being a Yankee, the Yankee soldiers confess that they're out-soldiered. They haven't even noticed the Stooges yet! The Stooges make a huddle: if they can alert their fellow Confederates of the Yankee's precarious position, they can end the war and, more importantly, get married! ...what did Moe say? Never mind. It's agreed: the boys will attempt to steal the Union map. They perform a rousing rendition of "Way down South in New York City" for the Union soldiers. Let's all sing along, shall we?
Oh, way down South in New York City
The cotton grows on the trees so pretty
On the trees? On the trees!
In the South?
South Brooklyn... (lol)
Oh, South of the Bronx where I was born
The songs are rotten and the jokes are corn
Look away! Get away!
Get away, Trish, we're hungry..
...I think that's what they say. Time to stretch out this pic... I mean, time to dance! At least, until Curly's face paint starts coming off. The boys run off again, and Theodore Lorch knocks out three Union soldiers with one door again. Oh, those Yankees never learn.
Next scene: another part of the house. The Stooges hide beside a door. Lorch comes through the door, and Larry hits him with his banjo. A mighty Ka-Bong rings out... I mean, rings out. Curly removes his two cabbages and makes room for the two Union maps.
Next scene: the barn again, where Moe and Larry have Union uniforms, and Curly's stuck with his Confederate uniform again. This all seems very familiar. We hear voices. Moe covers Curly with hay this time. Three Union soldiers go into the barn to find Moe and Larry churning butter and singing. There's a brief frame blow up at about 3:30. Two Union soldiers start sifting through the hay with their bayonets; one of whom is the Stooge regular who usually plays thugs and heavies. His specialty is turning and looking. Moe says "We're just making butter!" Lol. They find Curly and ruin their bayonets in the process. The punishment is not just the smokehouse this time: it's getting shot as well! Too much excitement. I better do the rest later.
Running out of time; better warp this up. Well, the boys are hard at work emptying the powder out of the other soldiers' bullets. Then, there's a mixup with the guns, Larry ends up firing a shot at the wrong time. Curly ends up disguised as a scarecrow, and he falls off a wagon. Moe and Larry look at him with stupid expressions on their faces at about 9:23. The three are triumphant and end up going back home via sled, with Larry cracking the whip on the other two!
They have a 3-way marriage, and all is well. In unison, the three couples hug, the boys end up pouring their cold drinks down their wives' back, the wives' throw their drinks into the Stooges' faces, then the wives end up strangling their husbands. When you get right down to it, folks... aren't all marriages just like that?
Good double bill with: Mooching through Georgia, if you can find it... well, shut my mouth! Whoomp, there it is! YouTube's got everything.