Friday, February 07, 2014

Shemp'n Can Wait (8 films remain)

Our next Stooge short is a remake of Heavenly Daze, according to Wikipedia.  I wonder if the Stooges ever took footage from two of their shorts and combined them into a new, third short.  Guess not; it just seems like it somehow.  But they always manage to include some fresh footage, and Bedlam in Paradise is no different.  They include a truly horrible gag where Shemp ends up chewing and swallowing a whole wall thermometer.  Sure, it didn't really happen, and sure, a person of Shemp's age or any age probably couldn't swallow a wall thermometer that quickly, but that's the magic of movies.  Moe instructs Larry to rub Shemp's stomach.  "Maybe he'll regurgitate the broken glass!" Moe helpfully offers.  It doesn't help.  Soon enough, Shemp officially kicks the bucket, and the other two remaining Stooges helpfully get the bed a little closer to Earth by breaking it with their combined weights.  Shemp rises to Heaven, and we join Heavenly Daze already in progress.
While Shemp waits for the heavenly wheels of bureaucracy to turn, Shemp spies a beautiful blonde angel and gets what can politely be described as a wing-boner... why, I did that previously with my review of Heavenly Daze!  My own great mind thinks alike!  He's apparently a blood and not a meat.
Anyway, I'll hand it to the Stooges.  They always tried to make an effort in these remakes.  Take, for example, the theological implications of the scene with Shemp and "Uncle Mortimer" in heaven.  Unlike in Heavenly Daze, they've got more time to kill in heaven.  A devil (Philip van Zandt) and his very attractive assistant show up to lure Shemp to Hell.  Shemp apparently won't need his own asbestos suit!  Oh, 1955 Sylvia Lewis... will you marry me?
And so, with a rather lot of coaxing from Uncle Mortimer, Shemp makes his train back to Earth to reform Moe and Larry so Shemp can get into heaven.  The actual reforming, however, seems to consist of Shemp just getting to act like Moe, and slapping the two of them around a lot.  But Moe and Larry catch on rather quick that Shemp is "haunting" them from beyond the grave!  But these proceedings needs a third act, and Moe and Larry attempt to engage in white collar crime.  I like to think there's punishment for that in heavenly courts, as our earthly ones seem to look the other way, to say the least.  With the addition of Philip van Zandt as the devil, Bedlam in Paradise makes a little more sense than Heavenly Daze.  Except for the ending.  Was the thermometer-swallowing part of the dream?  Does Moe and Larry cut Shemp no slack for that when Shemp awakens from his dream?  He had internal hemorrhaging, for Christ's sake!  No, they have to hit him in the face with a pie, and force him to write a letter under whipped cream... you'll have to see the film to understand why.


-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

1 comment:

Dan Daniels said...

"I wonder if the Stooges ever took footage from two of their shorts and combined them into a new, third short."

Yah guy, just wait till ya get to Hot Ice!