Saturday, September 14, 2013
Next Stooge: Jents in a Gam
Somehow I think they should call this one "Jane Austen's Gents in a Jam." Or maybe Edith Wharton. It seems to smack of a haute couture literary reference, at least in terms of the whole inheritance angle. That's right, the Stooges find themselves on the verge of Shemp's inheritance, as with Curly's inheritance before that. Only this time, someone else will beat the government to the lion's share of it. See if you can guess who! It all starts innocently enough with Shemp and Larry asleep. That's gratitude for ya. Apparently the motivation of having a job isn't enough for some people. Moe talked the landlady into trading their labor for back rent as a stopgap measure. When they f... screw that up, it's out for good. At least, until Shemp's Uncle Goopy... I mean, Uncle Finnius... Phineas... is about to pay him a visit.
Somehow the filmmakers knew that this wasn't enough of a story. How about throwing an insanely jealous husband into the mix? Yeah, that oughta do the trick! He's played by Mickey Simpson, best known for such films as Giant and Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. Spoiler alert: I don't think Mickey plays the gorilla. It all starts with the borrowing of that proverbial cup of sugar. I wonder if anyone rolled their eyes in the audience over that one. I guess it took a while for disgust of clichés to spread as widely as it has today.
Uncle Phineas, played by Emil Sitka, the Fourth Stooge, gets the worst of it. At one point, he gets too scared to even open the door, which is the right reaction. He's able to make it out into the hall, but things go from bad to worse from there as he has to brave the proverbial Running of the Stooges. Pamplona's closer than we thought, as it turns out! In the big finale, Phineas gets trampled much like the guy at the end of the opening credits of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World... dayamn! YouTube really does have everything now! The wife of the jealous husband gives Phineas one last kick as the rest have run by... at least, that's what the sound effects suggest.
As for the Stooges and their group dynamics, well, Larry seems to be a little sore over his treatment in Corny Casanovas. I don't remember him having such a problem with Moe's leadership before, and verbally expressing it as such! If only I took better notes...
Anyway, so is it a classic? The bigwigs at Columbia must've thought so! We watched this one a lot back in the dark ages of VCR tapes. They only put out what they felt were the best ones. I'll say three and a half.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan