Thursday, April 11, 2013
We could've had it all...............
Which is a shame, because if this is the one I think it is, my backup title would be "Still giving that fillum after 63 years." Anyway, fade in on a radio, where Moe's doing an impression of Walter Winchell, I assume. Wikipedia doesn't have everything after all! We see a swarthy-looking type with three watermelons. The radio tells about missing documents, and the dude turns off the broadcast when it starts turning into Morse code. The guy takes a handful of notarized documents and burns them in the stove, then goes back over to the watermelons. Then, for the benefit of the audience, he unrolls a roll of "fillum" for all to see. He says "With these fillum I have record the secret of those documents for my country!" Yes, it's time for the Stooges to fight the Cold War and do their variation on the infamous Pumpkin Papers. What an age that was. And while the Stooges may not have known everything about the Pumpkin Papers specifically, or the Cold War in general, they did know a few things about making a comedy that would stand the test of time. Three things: 1) funny haircuts, 2) watermelons are funnier than pumpkins and 3) it is very important to not get too specific when it comes to geography. Sure, the guy's obviously a Russian spy, but in this "fillum," he's a spy for a fictional country. Funnier that way, and even Joe McCarthy himself might have gotten a laugh or two out of the setup.
The spy in question, Mr. "Borscht" is played by Gene Roth, and this seems to be his first Stooge film. I know, I should know that without having to look it up, and yet, here we are. This is the first, and there's seven more collaborations with the Stooges to go yet.
Anyway, the foreign agent rolls the fillum back up and proceeds to stuff it into the watermelons. Looks like they blow up the frame at exactly 0:57, or maybe it's just a second take, but with the camera a little bit closer. Either way, this is important stuff for the audience to absorb. Cross-fade to the packing of the melons having finished, when suddenly... there's a knock on the door! The foreign agent reaches for a piece and heads for the door. "Who's there?" he bellows. It's just the Stooges, so there's no need to plug them through the door. Borscht opens the door, and the three idiots just waltz right in, acting like adult chidren... and kinda dressed like adult chidren as well! What gives? Why are they dressed like that? "Well, what are you dressed like this?" asks Borscht. Larry informs Borscht that they got a new job passing out handbills for ... wait for it... Old Holland cheese. To the Comedy Name Generator! This ought to eat up a few seconds. Not as many as a comedy map, but you can't have it all sometimes, even though you could've. Anyway, they promise to bring the guy a sample of the cheese they're pedaling. This leads to the foreign agent commandeering the whole Stooge film out from under them with his life story. Why do the Stooges do this to themselves? Borscht informs the Stooges that his visa has expired and he has to leave the country. Maybe they could help him with his luggage and carry the watermelons to the ship! How perfect is that? The Trojan horse just keeps getting smaller and smaller in the Age of Information.
But first, a celebratory drink. Damn Russians! The guy lines up four tiny glasses and fills them in a manner similar to a Stooge bartender. He spills a little bit onto the table proper, and the table starts smoldering, much like the plume of gray smoke in all those high-falutin' CGI Jack Daniels ads currently being shown on hi-def TVs in gyms all across this great land of ours. Moe and Larry look at the smoke and get concerned. Not Shemp, though. Shemp's been through hell and back. Every step of that journey's been etched onto his Keith Richards-style face, and he'll really be damned if he's not going to drink to that!
On second thought, Shemp might be regretting the decision. His tie starts spinning round and round, making the sound of the propeller of a giant WWII plane. I thought of the beginning of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, probably because I've seen it recently. Shemp releases a plume of smoke and the sound it makes is that of a giant WWII plane starting up. Lol. He makes his trademark "eep-eep-eep" noise. Quick cut to Moe and Larry; all they can do at this point is look on with fear, concern and sympathy. Next, Shemp's hat starts to leave the bonds of gravity. Same "eep-eep-eep" sound. Without saying a word, Moe and Larry agree to throw their drinks nonchalantly behind them on the wall. The wallpaper gets soaked with Borscht's drink, and soon after the wallpaper curls up like a curtain. MASSIVE DOUBLE TAKE. That's comedy, in case you didn't know what it looked like.
Next scene: Borscht's ship proper... or, at least, stock footage of it. Next scene after that: Pier 7, Berth C. A bunch of crates are stacked up, no more than four high. Note the centrally located crate of highly explosive dynamite caps. Did Michael Bay direct this or what? The Stooges emerge from Stage Left, each carrying a watermelon. Shemp has to rest his tired feet, so he sits on the box of dynamite caps, caressing his foot. Larry follows suit soon after. Moe, meanwhile, starts to take a nap while simultaneously batting flies away in his half-conscious state.... oh no. They're not going to... YES THEY ARE. The sound of clucking chickens starts up... As it happens, Moe once again finds himself sitting underneath some egg-laying chickens. This time, they're in a crate; well, at least they have more space than most of today's chickens. Recall, if you will, the similar scene from G.I. Wanna Home. Time for credit where credit's due: I'm very familiar with this particular one because it's a family favourite, one of our go-to Stooge shorts whenever we crack out the ol' Stooge DVDs, what few we have of those. How antequated! How quaint, and any other words containing a 'q'. This time, however, Moe has no one to blame but himself and, like a fool, he has to reach for his kerchief to get the egg off his face. FOOL! FOOL!!!!!!!
Speaking of fools, Shemp asks Larry, "Want a brazil nut?" Larry accepts, of course. Now, I think this is the first time one Stooge offered another Stooge a brazil nut, and it may be the last... phooey. Well, YouTube, as it turns out, doesn't have everything. I was hoping someone posted a copy of Chuck Jones' iconic, epic, game-changing classic 1953 cartoon, Much Ado About Nutting, in which a squirrel finds himself in nut heaven, and he tries to crack open a coconut. Oh well. No nerds talking about it, either? Gosh! That's surprising. Anyway, in case you haven't already figured it out yet, those highly explosive dynamite caps aren't going to blow themselves up, so that's where the brazil nuts come in. I will take a second to point out that Larry and Shemp have their finest hats on, like they did when they would pose for publicity stills. Classy stuff. Anyway, Larry gets to work trying to bite his way through the brazil nut to the sweet, nuggy interior. Shemp tries it this way as well, but clearly he doesn't have the same showmanship about it as Lawrence does.
The struggle between Stooge and brazil nut continues. There's a slight frame blow-up at about 3:54 to signal a change in strategy. Shemp finds a piece of pipe to hit the brazil nut. When the hammering starts, we go back from the slight frame blow-up to the full picture at about 3:59. This is so everyone can get a chance to re-read the crate. Remember: the crate's full of highly unstable, powerful explosives. There will be a quiz later. No sooner does Shemp start hammering away, when Lawrence tries to intervene. Apparently, he's got a better idea. He certainly thinks he does, anyhow. "I'll show you how to do it!" he tells Shemp. Larry takes the pipe from Shemp, and Shemp sets up the brazil nut... he's not going to... oh, so predictable. Larry smashes the crap out of Shemp's hand instead. Time to kill some time, apparently. Shemp hits Larry over the head to spread the wealth of pain around. Not content with the way the karma has been re-balanced by Shemp, Larry goes for a shot to Shemp's head and throws the pipe at Shemp's head! This can only escalate so much until one of these two ends up dead. Larry misses and beans Moe instead, who's just finishing up mopping up all the egg off his face and jacket. Moe looks like he's going to pass out, then he smiles, then he shakes his head, looks at the pipe, and begins his (latest) search for vengeance. Concerned, Larry and Shemp run over to Moe, and apologize like hell. "It was an accident!" they each say in turn... I think. It's early mumblecore, folks. Moe's not having any of it, and he hurls the pipe himself for a change, but hits the box of dynamite caps instead. The force of Moe throwing the pipe ignites the crate, and there's a gigantic explosion. Fade to white.
This is probably a good place for an act break, but I'm going to continue until the 5:20 mark this time. Anyway, next scene: we fade from white amidst the rumbling sound of a large explosion, and we look upon the wreckage that Pier 7, Berth C has now become. Every crate has been destroyed. The Stooges are on the ground in a heap. Shemp is lying flat on his stomach, Larry's on his back, and Moe's pants-covered ass is pointing skyward. There's a fresh hail of debris, mostly fractured pieces of crate, and a couple chickens fall from a great height, hopefully not much higher than the top of the camera's view, for their sake. This scene is so grisly, that the action quickly fades to Secret Agent Borscht, hard at work with his next bit of deviltry. Okay, NOW it feels like time for an act break!
We see Borscht opening the door to the ship. The Stooges, holding the watermelons, see him, and are so overjoyed that they start yelling about it. Borscht hushes them and waves them into the ship. "C'mon!" orders Larry. No time to slap him for now, there's walking to be done! The Stooges enter the "ship" and start dusting the white powder off themselves. Meanwhile, Borscht closes the hull doors of the ship, and locks them with lock and chain... wait a second! Why's he doing that? Close-up of Borscht so you can focus in on what he's doing more clearly. The Stooges aren't paying attention, of course, as they're still caught up in dusting each other off. That is, until things start getting ugly... the mood, I mean. "Wait a minute! WAIT A MINUTE!" yells Moe. We don't see what happened to piss off Moe, but do we really need to? Moe raises his watermelon high above his head as he prepares to smite Shemp with it. Borscht intervenes at the last minute. "I'll take the melons, boys," says Borscht. I think we've found the new Moe! This Borscht guy's got charisma, no question about it. One Stooge film down, seven more to go.
Borscht scoops up all three of the watermelons and carries them off stage. Now, you might be asking yourself, but Movie Hooligan! If he's strong enough to carry three watermelons by himself, then what... Of course, I'd have to stop you right there. First of all, shame on you for not being a more regular reader of this blog. Why, you probably spend all day on the likes of Upworthy and Mashable and BuzzFeed! Too busy playing bridge with the ladies or the gents to take an interest in higher culture! Pish posh and tish tosh to you... what was I saying? Oh, right. As David Mamet might simplify it, if the Stooges don't carry the melons onto the ship, there's no movie! Besides, Borscht had other luggage to carry, and he probably had someone else do that for him too! This Borscht is an Eastern bloc alpha male, don't kid yourself, and even though he may believe in Communism and the people and worker's rights, he still would rather be the boss. As for the Stooges, they're lost in the usual fog of the moment. Shemp takes a big sniff of the "briny deep" in the comfort of the Columbia back lot, and talks about it. Larry's caught up in the mood himself, and feels a song coming on, God bless him. He says "Hey! Number 4 in the blue book!" And the two beta Stooges start singing "We're off to see the sea!" Just like in... let me check Yahoo... like in Back from the Front, and alas, it's not the only reference to that previous short with Curly. Now, you know me. I'm always looking for America's Next Old Pun. Fortunately, the Stooges never let me down. Moe breaks up the others' fun as usual. Larry tells him "Why, we're known as the Fishmarket Duet!" "The Fishmarket Duet?" Moe asks. Shemp delivers the punchline. Nyaah, nyaah!
Back to Borscht, who's neatly arranged his watermelons in an open crate, and stares daggers at those inscrutable Stooges. The ship's whistle blows, much like it does in Back from the Front, only a little bit quieter. Eerie! I gotta get outta here... okay, I'm back. Now, time for a little old-fashioned movie magic. The camera shakes, and the Stooges move around as though the "ship" is moving. Borscht is a little more steadfast than that. Shemp tries to leave but discovers that the door's been locked and chained shut. Cut to stock footage of a giant ship leaving a dock. Back to the Stooges. Ah, the magic of editing. And this was in the old pre-Avid days! Film cement and razor blades! Editors getting dizzy from glue fumes. Not everything on digital and actually edited in Korea by 8-year olds like today. To calm the Stooges' frayed nerves, Borscht tells them: "I got a secret for you... I am a stowaway, and you are stowaways!" Borscht starts laughing, and the Stooges start laughing, only a little bit later... see how I did that? Moe, the quickest-witted Stooge, eventually stops laughing and says "Hey! What're we laughing for?"
You know, for four stowaways, they're living pretty well, I must say! Much like Henry Hill in prison in GoodFellas. Next scene: our ship in fog. That's the establishing shot. And then, we go back to the Stooges, waiting like hyenas while Borscht the Lion starts his lunch... sorry, just watched Life of Pi. Guess it did something to me! Borscht's cutting slices off of a giant sausage... easy! Moe says "Oh, boy! Now we really get to eat." Borscht puts out that fire right away, saying "Sorry, boys, but I only have enough for me." Borscht sets the sausage down, and Larry makes a grab for it. Borscht raps his machete onto the cutting board. Larry takes it upon himself to do the dirty work this time, saying to Borscht "Aw c'mon. Have a heart and give us a piece!" What happens next, I'm a bit torn about. See, there's three slices of sausage on the cutting board in front of Borscht. Angered by Larry's insolence, he starts hitting the cutting board, and the pieces fly up into the Stooges' mouths with each smiting. Now, on the one hand, this extended sequence is a bit too cute, and it's a blatant attempt to stretch out this bitch to 16 minutes. On the other hand, Borscht delivers a rant that's worthy of Moe when he seems to be grasping for words in one of his rants at Larry or Curly. "Now, SHUT UP and I MEAN shut up!!!" Borscht says at one point. "Don't you understand Engels? I told you I don't have enough!" Tis a shame that he and the Stooges will end up being enemies. This guy's got something, that quality where you just can't stop paying attention to him... but in a good way. Rare for Stooge supporting players.
As Borscht continues his rant, Shemp gets alarmed by what he's saying. What if Borscht looks down and sees that three of his summer sausage slices are missing? Shemp looks down and sees an open crate full of, of all things, old faucets with circular valve handles. Shemp springs into action and untwists three of the handles from their perches... hmm! Interesting sound effect. I think I just heard that in the last one, Vagabond Loafers... that was the last one, wasn't it? I believe it was the fixture and the clock. Anyway, Shemp puts the three metal handles into place, and tells Borscht "Now, don't get excited." Borscht grabs one of the handles and starts chewing away, unfazed. Well, maybe a little fazed, especially after he rubs his stomach. Well, you can't get good metal in Mother Russia... I mean, non-specific Eastern European Communist country where Borscht is from.
Time for another tactic. Moe grabs the pepper when Borscht isn't looking. Borscht is wondering what became of the garlic. I LOVE THIS GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I mention that already? Anyway, Moe fills his palm with pepper and blows it into Borch's face... dude! How rude is that? That's like the time Homer unscrewed the sugar and Moe dumped the whole thing into his coffee... that was after Lenny or Carl set his tie on fire, and after he got bitten by that cobra. Homer's prank was last, and felt to be the unkindest cut of all by the rest. Similar vibe. Borscht starts sneezing away, even though it sounds like.... oh, never mind. I'm going to skip that one. They use that same sneeze sound effect all the time. And so, the Stooges pilfer Borscht's summer sausage. The WHOLE THING. Apparently this is payback for the Stooges getting shanghai'd and not properly taken care of. But the way I see it, Borscht is providing them with a fresh plot... a semi-fresh plot, so it's the Stooges who should be showing Borscht some f... some gratitude.
Next scene: a re-enactment of the same seasickness scene from Back to the Front. Shame on me; I'm trying to rush through this, aren't I? Oh! But before that, we get stock footage of a model ship in a bathtub. Okay, a really big bathtub where you can't see the edges of it. I wonder if the Stooges actually used stock footage of a model ship or if they had a slight budget that week to shoot a little footage of their own for a change? Anyway, as with Curly, the sickness hits Shemp last. Shemp stands up against the wall, and soon he has white makeup on his face to signify sea sickness. Shemp looks at the food in his hand and groans loudly. Classic moment. The highlight of the film so far, at least until the espionage kicks in. Shemp drops the food into a bucket of water, and some of the water spills on Moe's head... Now, let me ask you this. Is there anything better than implied vomit? ...damn, they don't have Screwball Squirrel. There's implied vomit in that! Moe feels the water on his head and he looks up. He sees Shemp with his hand over his mouth. Oh, this is a four-star one, I can tell already. But I'm not even half-way there yet, so I gotta keep going. Moe stews about this for as long as he can, stretching out time a little bit, but he springs into action. Moe stands up and says to Shemp, "What's the idea?" He slaps Shemp and says "Spilling water on me!" Believe me, Moe's had his share of people vomiting on him, mostly from the Vaudeville days, and he knows the difference. Also, the word vomit was one of those words back then that the Hays Code absolutely forbade. Implying it, and dancing around it, of course, perfectly okay. Moe banishes Shemp from his spot next to Moe, and Shemp wanders over to one of the ship's windows to re-enact the "Wotta day!" gag from... sorry, Back from the Front. Wonder if I gave that one four stars? Anyway, Shemp opens the window, takes a deep breath, and gets splashed in the neck by a lapping wave. See, they're trying not to hit him in the face, on account of the white makeup. Shemp tries to fool the water with his hand, but the water's not buying it. Thinking the coast is clear, Shemp goes in for a second breath of air, and gets splashed harder, this time in the face. Shemp gives up and moves away from the window. Wotta day!
Cross-fade to next scene: sleep. Boy, but I could probably use a little myself. Let me just do a little bit more of this and I'll be off. Anyway, we see Moe and Larry sound asleep. They've got blankets and everything! Cut to Shemp who's trying to blaze his own trail. He's found himself a hammock of his own. He calls his two friends suckers and prepares to go to sleep in comfort like a king, or like one of the Masters of the Universe or something. However, getting into said hammock will prove difficult for this 54-year old man. Bear in mind: a 54-year old man back then in Shemp's condition would be more like an 80 or a 90 year old man. First attempt: Shemp's stunt double hits the floor. It kind of looks like the guy lands on his back, but he seems to land on his side. A little less hard on the spine. Hammock: 1, Shemp: 0. And on top of that, Shemp grunts about a second and a half after the sound effect! Unsettling. It has to be about .25 seconds or nothing. Go hard or go home, I chant mindlessly. Shemp goes in for a second attempt, but his stunt double... I hope it's his stunt double... the stunt double falls out of the hammock much faster this time! He's learning in the wrong direction. Hammock: 2, Shemp: 0. Cut to Moe and Larry, snoring away.
Shemp starts to use a bit of brain at this point... sort of. He wheels a barrel over to the hammock. More importantly, the barrel's on a wooden platform. Using that, Shemp carefully gets into the hammock and settles down for a good night's sleep. Better late than never, I always say. A celebratory Shemp lights up a cigarette to relax. This is one of the filthiest Stooge films I've ever seen! Shemp, acting all cool 'n stuff, throws his match away nonchalantly. You'll never guess what happens, not in a million years... that's right, the barrel catches on fire. But, Movie Hooligan, you say. It's only next to Shemp! Not only is Shemp prepared to get a good night's sleep, but he'll be toasty warm, too! Is this the end of the Stooges as we know it? Have they given up on making us laugh forever and ever? Can Smokey the Bear go suck it? I say, easy, easy, there, dear reader. This is not Fox News, after all. We don't have to jump all over everything all the time here!... at least, not as vigorously. Back to footage of the model ship in choppy waters. A giant wave hits and the ship starts bobbing up and down more than usual. The barrel moves away from its position, singing the ropes at Shemp's feet, and starts moving around. Ah. The Stooges stay true to their philosophical core. The barrel moves slightly away from the ropes, there's an edit, and the barrel instantly moves right under the ropes. Bad direction, boys, bad direction. You should've worked that extra couple hours to get the barrel to move right under the ropes. Anyway, the ropes at Shemp's feet catch on fire for real this time. Phooey. I was hoping the barrel would move under Shemp's ass... dream coming true! The filmmakers did spring for the fire bank held right in front of the camera, at the very least, as we get a shot of Shemp swinging in his hammock, with flames seeming to rise directly under him. Same technique used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but they probably don't have that on YouTube, nor should I look for it, and that's out of respect. The moment of truth arrives, and Shemp's awake, screaming his burning ass off. There's a cruel lesson here. Maybe it's that hammocks hate Shemp so much, they're willing to get themselves burned so they don't have to carry him. Or that they're willing to let Shemp get a little bit of sleep, so that he ends up sitting in a burning barrel, screaming in pain as though the very pitchfork of the Devil were stabbing him in his old, wizened posterior. Or maybe it's that you shouldn't smoke around a barrel full of the makings for a quick fire. Especially if that barrel's attached to a wooden frame. With wheels. ON A SHIP. IN THE OCEAN. In any event, I've made my call, and the final score is: Hammock, 2.5, Shemp: 0. But at least Shemp got a little bit of sleep. Fade to black.
Scene: Moe and Larry are still snoring away. Where's Shemp, though? Oh, this is going to be good. Moe and Larry soon wake up, though. Screenwriters take note: always start your scene when there's a change coming in a few seconds. For example, you could start Act Three with five minutes of Moe and Larry snoring, then have them wake up... but you'd lose the audience! American audiences, anyway. Sure, maybe they'd dig that sort of thing in Europe, but this is America, and no other country in the world can produce something as uniquely American as the Stooges... I stand corrected. Anyway, Moe and Larry wake up, stretch, and of course punch each other in the cheek. They can hear Shemp snoring, but where the hell is he?... I dare not spoil it. Needles to say, Moe wakes Shemp up with a punch to his stomach. Jesus! Shemp wakes up and says "Oh, why'd'ja wake me up for? Why didn't you let me sleep, so I wouldn't know how hungry I am?" Moe can't argue with that logic. Larry, greedy bastard that he's turned out to be in this one, says "Hey! Why don't we eat the watermelons?" (Screenwriters take note: GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Moe grabs Shemp by the hair and the ungrateful trio are off to steal more of Borscht's stuff. He gives them a free ocean voyage, and what thanks does he get? Sheesh!!!!!!
Next scene: we see Borscht asleep, clutching a watermelon in each arm. The one in his left arm looks like a giant walnut or something. Where's the third? There's the third! Borscht is using it as a pillow. Just like Chuck Norris would. The Stooges, greedy bastards that they are, take all of Borscht's melons. But how to get the third, pillow melon? Larry nudges it out from under Borscht's head using his head. Screenwriters take note: tacky as hell. This kind of stuff will get you thrown off the lot of whatever studio you're at. Do not write your script like this. And so, Moe and Shemp run off to eat their respective watermelons, while Larry ends up with his head stuck under Borscht's large, sleeping head. Screenwriters take note: tacky. Tacky as hell.
Next scene: Moe and Shemp make their way over to a re-dressed Pier 7, Berth C set... I mean, to an open space inside the ship, away from Borscht and Larry, to have some damn watermelon for breakfast. Moe looks around for something to cut his watermelon open. Finding nothing, he looks at Shemp. Moe laughs at Shemp, points to the ground, and says "Look!" He's not... he is. The plaster of Paris watermelon splits perfectly into two. Moe reaches inside one of the melon halves and says "Ooh! Big seeds!" He takes out a chunk of melon, looks at it and says "Oh, a prize!" Moe spends some time taking the roll of fillum out of its container, puts two and two together, then says "Get the other melon." Moe is now in all business mode. Moe and Shemp get the other melons, and go right for the notches that Borscht made in them to look for more fillum. Damn, they're good.
Back to Larry, head still stuck in a tight spot. Could always be worse. Back to Moe and Shemp, who've already found the second and third fillums. "No wonder Borscht acted so mysteriously!" intuits Moe. Shemp's still trying to put two and two together. Back to Larry, still stuck. Borscht wakes up, and discovers that the melons that were in his arms are gone. Wait for it... yup, Borscht feels Larry's forehead and says... wait for it... "That melon's here!" Borscht continues probing Larry's face with his hand. That's the long shot. They then switch to a close-up shot. As Borscht continues to explore, he slowly comes to the realization that he no longer has a watermelon for a pillow. He narrows his eyes at 3:54, and turns to look at Larry. Larry says "Hi." What a goof.
Now it's Borscht's turn for all-business. He easily subdues Larry by holding him by the throat, and he reaches for a machete while Moe tells Shemp that they're going to turn Borscht over to the authorities. If Borscht really is a stowaway on the ship, then the crew might be sympathetic to the Stooges' plight. Hard to say. They're probably not budgeted for that, though. Next scene: back to Moe and Shemp, where Moe tells Shemp that they're going to do away with "that spy." "That's what you think!" says Borscht. I'm telling you! These guys could be friends! Borscht is born for this kind of work with the Stooges. Alas, they're on opposite sides of the plot, so fight they must. Also alas, there's no time for a more complete rendition of the same old, moldy "What're you ___ing at?" gag. Moe just does a quick "That's what I said," turns and says "Hello" to Borscht, and the chase is on.
And so, it's time to play "GIVE ME THAT FILLUM!" I think you're supposed to do a shot of vodka for each time that phrase is uttered or something. I'll try to give as complete an account as possible for your benefit, but you'll have to adjust if you're watching this on DVD, of course. Shouldn't be too hard. 4:14, 4:19, 5:33, 5:34, 5:55 ("You gimme that fillum!"), ... drat. I thought there was more than that. And so, back to the action. Borscht has Shemp cornered on one side of the "ship," while Moe and Larry are safe on the other side. Or so they think, until Moe hurls a hook attached to a rope at Borscht. The hook beans Borscht on the back of the head. Victory! But then, the hook swings back towards Moe and Larry. Moe and Larry are shaking hands. The hook hits Moe in the head, and Moe's head hits Larry's head. Defeat. And there's no chance for the water bucket to wake up Moe, as it is empty. Only Shemp remains conscious at this point. Since Shemp is no match for Borscht physically, Shemp must defeat Borscht mentally... no easy feat.
Now, I know what you're probably thinking, and even I have to put some fresh masking tape on my glasses for this one. In order for a hook to hit both Borscht and Moe, why, it'd have to be hanging from a pulley about 50 to 80 feet in the air! That's 100 to 160 feet of rope! Well, it is a big ship, with very few crew and not that much cargo... still, point taken. But we don't watch Stooge films for plot subtleties like that, now, do we? Absolutely not. So let's dive right back into it. Borscht regains consciousness before Moe and Larry do. He's one tough bastard, I tells ya. Seeing that Shemp's gone, Borscht looks around. Shemp's not playing full-on hide and seek, though. He taunts Borscht by saying "Nyaah nyaah!" Shemp has either huffed a whole lot of helium, or they're running both film and sound at about 12 to 16 fps. If it were 12, he might be a whole octave higher in voice, which is too much.
And as you can see, in the absence of a comedy hallway, the cargo is arranged as though it were. And the chase is on! Sorry, that's the wrong link. And so is this. Hmm! Split that one in two! Here's another good part from Loose Loot. Oh, I just can't wait for that one! Anyway, back to Shemp. At about 4:45, you can barely tell there's an edit! Maybe there isn't one, who knows? There must have been one; how could Shemp get over to the opposite side so quickly? Shemp disappears at the far right corner of the cargo hallway, then reappears in the near left one, says "Nyaah nyaah!" and disappears again. Borscht moves to where Shemp was. Check out the edit at about 4:51! Heh heh. Shemp reappears at the far end of the hallway and says "Nyaah nyaah!" Monotonous, isn't it? Monotonous, but effective. At 4:58, there's a bad lighting error, if you look at the middle of the floor. Shemp magically appears in front of one of the crucial lights in the scene, emerges into the hall and says... wait for it... that's right, it's "Nyaah nyaah!" again. This is turning into Chinese nyaah-nyaah torture! But at least the pitch is a little different each time.
But even Shemp's getting tired of this strategy. He does a pass-fake, then starts doing a figure eight motion through the cargo hallway. Borscht follows him faithfully, perhaps a little too faithfully. They forgot to film it at 8 fps at this point. Lol. Borscht is trying to catch up to Shemp, and sticking to the figure eight path so steadfastly, that Shemp is able to sit back and enjoy his handiwork... sorry, here's the right link... sorry, here's the right link. Borscht wears himself out from running and stops to take a breather. That's when Shemp strikes, and gives him a good boot right in the ol' ягодицы. Am I right, or am I right, Babelfish? God bless the web. Borscht turns around and Shemp pokes him in the eyes. Dayamn! That's the ol' Stooge Fu at work right there! Shemp gives one last "Nyaah nyaah!" at regular speed, 24 fps, and runs away anew. As any patriotic American would.
Next scene: this may have inspired the makers of Gymkata in a way, if only subliminally, as Shemp approaches his proverbial town square with a pommel horse in the center of it. For the sake of the audience, Shemp steps over the cluster of crates in the middle of the ship and steps down. We hear crunching sounds. Shemp looks down and finds that he now has two watermelons for shoes. Wotta fate. Fortunately, he's still spry enough to outrun Borscht, a much younger, stronger, more nimble man brandishing a giant knife. The older I get, the more this kind of thing gives me hope. Shemp waddles off Stage Left, and we return to Moe and Larry, slowly regaining consciousness. They shake their heads to wake up, as they often do, then they look at each other. Something just doesn't feel right. It should be more like this... am I right or am I right?
Back to Shemp, cornered by Borscht. Casting about in a moment of stress, Shemp hits upon a notion of genius. "KEEP AWAY FROM ME!" he yells at Borscht, in a rare moment of acting. He kicks his right foot, and the watermelon goes flying. Unfortunately, the watermelon hits upon Larry's head. Larry passes out anew, and Moe has to slap him about the face. Kinduva shame, as I've never seen Larry so happy. Back to Shemp, who's planning on aiming tried and true this time. "I'll brain ya!" he exclaims, and up flies the second melon... oh, that ain't going anywhere... I stand corrected! Borscht takes a direct hit to the head, and the "watermelon" breaks into several large pieces. Alas, this only makes the virile and swarthy Borscht madder. Back to Moe, who's giving the hook and rope a second chance. Oh, it's almost as sad a finale as the one in Cops and Robbersons... almost. Moe hurls the hook.. or, pulley, rather. Concurrently, Shemp takes a pathetic swing at Borscht. Borscht quickly ducks and... yup. Shemp gets beaned by the pulley. Borscht looks at Shemp, then over at the pulley swinging back. Back to Moe and Larry. Moe sees the pulley coming and ducks. Larry saw Shemp get hit by the pulley, and is wincing with embarrassment. LOL. Then he winces with pain as he gets hit by the pulley. Larry doesn't look so happy as he passes out for the third time. Moe grabs the pulley, calls it a backbiter, then decides to manually use it on Borscht, saying "I'll take you in myself!" Moe goes in for the kill, or massive concussion. No killing, this is a classy Stooge short! No one should die in a Stooge short.
Borscht is rifling through Shemp's pockets for the fillum, and Moe sneaks up on him. "MR. BORSCHT!" says Moe. "YES?" says Borscht. WHAM!!! DOWN GOES BORSCHT! Moe gets a rope and starts binding Borscht's feet together. Shemp comes to; Larry might be dead.
So how to end this epic tale of Cold War-type espionage? Well, there are only about thirty seconds left, so there might not be time nor budget for the Stooges to appear at City Hall and hit someone with the key to the city. So it'll just have to be a simple affair. Half-dazed, Shemp goes over to Moe and shakes his head. He sees that Moe has vanquished the bad guy, and says "You got 'em! Nice work, Moe!" God bless the bad guys and the comraderie they create among the good guys. I mean, you don't usually see one Stooge complement another like this. Except at the end, of course. Moe says "We'll turn this bird over to the authorities at the first port. See if we're near land!" The callback. It all comes full circle... did I expend enough words on this one?
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan