Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Tailors of Pandemonium

Two in a row, no less!  This and Brideless Groom are prominently featured on every two-bit nonofficial Stooge DVD, along with Disorder in the Court and Malice in the Palace (coming later).  Each DVD pretends they've got the exclusive stuff, of course.  Well, let's dive in, ne'theless.


As you can see from the sign in the picture, the Stooges were ahead of their time with the rampant misspellings in their window.  Must've been the work of crazy Beatniks.  The font is very early 50s, and the Web is now home to billions and billions of spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as publishing house errata who still have some pride in their work, just not enough to get it right the first printing.  The camera follows Moe as he moves the curtain behind the above sign, rendering it practically unreadable.  He moves to the other window which says "Cleaning, Pressing, Altercations."  Foreshadowing if there ever was an example!  And then, the film's budget is wasted as the camera dollies INTO the establishment, keeping an eye on Moe who youthfully rolls over the counter and prepares for another long day of face slapping and eye poking.  So much paperwork to fill out for that kind of work; so little time.
Close-up of Larry, who's tackling... oh, they're tailors, by the way... Larry's trying to get rid of a particularly persistent spot of white on an article of clothing.  I hate to spoil the gag, but the director spoils it for us, as we see that it's a shaft of light emanating from the holy curtain.  Larry takes a break, taking a swig of soft drink, then grabs the bottle of spot remover right next to it and gets back to work, rubbing vigorously.  He appeals to Shemp for help, but Shemp's too busy with a visual gag of his own.  This one's easy enough to predict, and it gave birth to the chief visual gag of The GoodiesThe first hit goes to Shemp for his impropriety.
And so, the fuse of the plot is lit: if the Stooges don't pay the bill for their equipment, it'll get repossessed!  But how?  How on earth is a trio of dunces like the Stooges going to come up with... how much?  $321.86.  The capper: the letter says they've got 24 hours to come up with the money!  The letter came late, so they've got just 16 minutes to come up with the dough!  But how?  HOWWW.......
Shemp is strangely unworried about all this.  He says "What we need is a little music to cheer us up!" and he ruins his visual gag at about 2:02.  He goes over to turn on the radio.  Instead of music, however, it's time for an emergency news flash.  Moe goes over to Shemp to really let him have it, but Moe hesitates and listens intently to the news flash.  We hear about notorious safecracker Terry "Slippery Fingers" Hargin, who has robbed his eighteenth safe in nine days!  Nice work if you can get it.  There's a big cash reward for his capture, no less!  God bless the criminals and the reward money on their heads.  Then, there's an ad for "No-Burp-aline," the only gasoline with bicarbonate of soda... for all those burping cars out there.  Well, it was funny at the time.  Shemp puts two and two together, and suggests to Moe that they should capture Hargin themselves!  Moe takes Shemp's idea and rubs its face in the ground.  Dude!  So mean.  An eye poke would be preferable to sarcasm in my book!... never mind.  Geez!  That one looked like it actually went into the eyes!  Uncool.  You're supposed to poke a guy in the forehead just above his eyes, Moseph!
Back to Larry, who finally figures out the riddle of the spot.  He takes a big drink of cleaning fluid, spitting it on Moe's back as he walks by.  Moe gives Larry a nice big slap to the face, then goes over to make some lunch.  Moe can't think when he's hungry, so it's time for another Stooge meal.  They seem to do that a lot.  Family values, I guess.  He drops some ready-to-go pancake batter onto the clothing steamer, and we're well on our way to another disastrous meal.  Time to kill some time!
Moe closes the steamer onto the pancakes, and we hear what sounds like a WWII battle: guns firing and... well, just guns firing.  Cross-fade to the finished product!  Moe slides the spatula under the griddle cakes with glee, and proceeds to chop them up into ... pancake strips?  With his dirty scissors?  Good Lourdes.  Meanwhile, Shemp enjoys the funny papers.  Talk about Mr. Noisy!  Shemp doesn't get to eat, as he's got a curled-up pair of pants to iron out.  Time to kill some more time with that side adventure!  See also: Curly's struggle with curly wallpaper in A Bird in the Head.  Final score: pants 6, Shemp 0.  And now for the instant replay from the highlight reel...  Shemp ends up hitting Moe in the face with a broom rather than finishing up the pants.


Cross-fade to tranquility restored, and Shemp and Larry are working side by side, with Shemp doing some hand-stitching with the ol' fashioned needle and thread.  What could possibly go wrong?  Oh, just Larry getting stabbed in the ass, and then in the belly, that's all!  And then, a fugitive runs into the shop, followed close behind by overweight Detective Vernon Dent.  That's right, Terry Hargin walks right into their shop so the Stooges can catch him... but Terry's too clever for that, and he won't get caught on the first bounce.  Maybe the second or third, but not the first.  The Stooges are too busy hitting each other to notice that Hargin has taken his place amongst the store mannequins in the corner, AND had enough time to quickly apply a phony moustache!  Dent enters the store but, failing to introduce himself properly, the Stooges think he's an ordinary customer.  He ends up having Hargin's coat thrust upon him, with the slacks second.  Ironic indeed, that the Stooges would go for the clothes on the newest addition to their mannequin collection.  Dent's badge is eventually seen, and the scenario laid out.  
Cross-fade to next scene: Hargin made his escape in a big black trenchcoat, and damn little else.  He left the combination to a safe in his suit pocket, and he sends his hot young girlfriend back to the Stooges' place to try and get it.  As one of those old adages should go, with a new suit comes new problems.
In a rare bit of carefulness, Moe checks the pockets of the pants he's about to press, and he finds the bit of paper with the safe combination on it.  He spends three seconds unfolding it.  The combination is... spoiler alert ... First line: "L-R-L-R-L-R-L", second line "1-1-2-3-2-2-1."  I know, I know, but Hargin's meticulous and likes to cover his tracks.  Hell, with a combination like that, I could probably crack open that safe.  Reminds me: I better check Yahoo! for the latest and greatest password tips.  Of course, my site's hacker proof due to lack of interest.
Things go from bad to worse for Hargin.  Moe looks inside the mystery coat to find the monogram "TH."  Even criminals gotta put their initials out there sometimes.  Another problem with working with a gang of thieves: they keep stealing your clothes.  What else is a guy gonna do?  Shemp and Larry try to figure out what "TH" stands for, and epicly fail.  Read Mhebner23's comments for all the gory details.  But I will point out that Moe's getting soft in his eyebagged old age, missing a very golden opportunity to hit Shemp in the forehead with his fist.  To save time, Moe checks the back of the monogram, where Hargin's full name is hiding.  This caper's so easy, a Stooge could solve it.  Shemp gets his finger bitten for trying to stifle a perfectly good 'dummy' rejoinder.  Phew!  FINALLY!  I was starting to think I was watching an episode of Dragnet or something!  It's been a while since there's been an act of random wanton violence.
Cross-fade to next scene, where the busy work of tailors marches on.  Moe's slicing some garlic with a razor blade... no, wait, that was GoodFellas.  Moe's whittling something down with a razor blade, a bit of soap maybe.  The point is, the razor blade falls into a broom.  A fresh customer comes in to get his suit.  Moe notices that the coat's got shmutz all over it, and orders Shemp to ... wait for it... brush him off.  Shemp slowly grabs the broom with the blade in it, making sure we get a nice big eyeful of the gag to follow.  Great direction, Weiss!  The boys make small talk while Shemp devastates the back of the guy's coat.  Shemp asks "Who made that hat?"  The guy answers "My mother!"  Shemp says, "I thought so." ...damn.  So far, no YouTube poster finds that to be a postworthy exchange.  Well, time will give it its due, I think.  The dude walks away, double take, and we see the damaged coat for ourselves.  Looks like the curtain a car drives through at the car wash!  Very evenly spaced strips on the back of the guy's coat.  I'll leave the real experts to explain Shemp's comeback.
In comes the dame, and the Stooges fawn over her, of course.  She wants a dress dyed in henna.  No, not henna color at all, but rather the brown reddish type.  Odd, because Shemp never ate a brown radish before... this may go on for years!  Anyway, out comes the part about looking for a coat and some slacks... she points to Hargin's clothes, saying "That's EXACTLY what I want!"  With stars in their eyes, the Stooges all too eagerly oblige.  And then, the untidy business of coin.  A job like this calls for a human calculator.  In the absence of Edgar Cayce, Shemp will have to do.  Shemp gets to work.  As it turns out, Moe's been paying attention, and he swaps out the safe combination with a different piece of paper at the last minute!  Sneaky little devil.  Speaking of the Devil at work in the world, the Stooges say the cost is $42.50, but the dame pays $450 for the suit, pulling out a stack of bills from another pocket.  She's barely out the door when Moe says "Aren't we the saps.  We had a fortune in our hands and let it slide through!"  Yeah, no one was going to miss that.  To kill some time before the big final showdown, they decide to search all the clothes more thoroughly for more hidden swag.  This doesn't give tailors a black eye at all!  Shemp manages to find a bill Moe's holding.  Lol.  A Day at the Races, anyone?  Moe makes Shemp look like a V8.


The dude with the ripped coat comes back to thank the Stooges, adding that his wife really likes the coat.  He says "She wants you to make a pair of pants that match."  The three faint and fall backwards, because really, how else to react to that?
Cross-fade to the lion's den, where it's about to hit the fan.  Hey, it's the guy who turns around and looks!  I love that guy.  Hargin gets his clothes back, but the safe combination's been replaced with a Pip Boys receipt.  "They even took my bankroll, the dirty crooks," says Hargin.  Off they go.
Horizontal wipe to next scene: the Stooges are hard at work, when three beefy guys pretending to be old men just waltz right in behind the counter!  Shemp sees the telltale "TH" on the dude's coat, and probably oversteps his bounds by pulling on Hargin's fake beard.  Again, we look to Loose Loot for similarities.  Hargin asks Shemp about the scrap of paper.  Shemp describes it very thoroughly, then says "I never sore it..."  That's probably the highlight of the whole film right there. 
And so, LET THE BIG FIGHT/CHASE BEGIN!  The other two run off, and we're stuck with Shemp, who quickly dons the fake beard, fooling Hargin enough so that he loosens his grip.  Hargin realizes he's been played; he turns around, kicks Shemp in the ass, then pulls the fake beard off Shemp!  Karma is restored.  Hargin literally bounces Shemp off the screen, Stage Right.  Larry kicks his guy in the gut, while Moe gets tickled to death by the guy who turns and looks.  Moe uses the old 360 fist on the guy, and sticks his head in the pancake maker.  Good thing the Stooges aren't cannibals; otherwise, they'd be preparing some steamed skull for dinner.  Remember!  Twenty minutes per pound.  Larry finishes hogtying his guy, and goes over to help out Moe with his head-steaming duties.
Meanwhile, Hargin's got Shemp in a tight spot.  Hargin uses his vampire strength to lift Shemp up onto a circular clothesrack.  This turns into a variation of the Stooges' tried and true two-men-in-a-coat fight routine.  Shemp gets hit, spins around the clothesrack (12 fps, sped-up audio), and ends up hitting Hargin right back.  After the second iteration, Hargin's jaw is getting a lot more elastic!  Back to Schindell, who's getting steamed on both ends now.  He gets his head removed from the steamer, and he releases a cloud of smoke from his mouth.  As if all that torture wasn't enough, Moe gives him a light paddling on the head, which makes a very thunderous sound.  DOWN GOES SCHINDELL!  ...I mean, the guy who turns and looks.  "Success!" say Moe and Larry to each other.
Hargin didn't learn from his mistake, and gives Shemp a third slap.  Hargin gets hit by Shemp's foot this time, and faints.  Moe and Larry help a screaming Shemp down from his lofty perch, and they celebrate anew with the downfall of Hargin.  Officer Dent comes in to clean up the mess.


Moe asks about the reward money.  Dent smugly replies, "Oh, I get the reward!... but here are some tickets to the Policeman's Ball."  Dent goes to use their phone to call the paddywagon to pick up all the bad guys.
It's unclear who's crying at this point, but there are definitely tears shed, perhaps by Shemp.  Fortunately, Hargin's the gift that keeps on giving, as Shemp stands next to a knocked-out Hargin and finds another wad of bills on Hargin's person.  Like clockwork, Moe helps Shemp hide it from Dent, as Dent returns to take Hargin away.  With Dent gone, it's now time to count the dirty spoils of justice.  Will the Stooges pay their creditors on time?  Will their tailoring equipment get repossessed?  So many unanswered questions, but who cares.  Time to move on to the next one, All Gummed Up.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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