Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shemping Shempers

Almost there, folks!  The Shemp Era's only got one more film after this, so it may be a happy occasion for those of you who don't care for Shemp... or a sad occasion, knowing what's to come after.  We'll get to that soon enough.
And so we get the rather generically titled Scheming Schemers.  It's a remake of Vagabond Loafers, which is itself a remake of the classic A Plumbing We Will Go.  So we got a remake of a remake, which also has pie fight footage from Half Wits Holiday... at least, I think the footage from Half Wits Holiday is all original footage.  It didn't seem familiar in the grand scheme of things when I saw it in the context of my little venture here.  The point being, it takes a village... I mean, a good Stooge remake can be made from more than just one Stooge film.  And I hate to say it, but probably the funniest line in Scheming Schemers is from the earlier film, where Shemp slides down the fireman / plumber pole, just missing the Jeep as it drives off.  Shemp says "We gotta get a longer Jeep!"
Now, according to Wikipedia, the last three Fake Shemp Stooge shorts were done a month apart.  Then again, most of the Real Shemp shorts were done in a month.  Looking at the data we're given a little more closely, 1954 and 1955 had Stooge shorts also completed in September, October and November.  The boys were working harder than they should have, that's for sure!  Don't most guys get to actually enjoy their retirement?  But there is one new sign here that production was rushed: instead of filming new footage to incorporate the ring subplot, Moe just dubbed new lines over old footage!!!  Then Lawrence does it!  The ultimate cinematic crime!  And yet, bad English dubbing in Chinese kung fu chopsockie movies gets all the attention from stand-up comedians.  That's the real crime, right folks?
Anyway, they've got all the new hallmarks of a Fake Shemp short.  A Stooge asking "Hey, where's Shemp?"  Check.  Fake Shemp covering his face?  Check.  Moe acting like Curly?  Check.  Oh, I can't take it, I tells ya.  Moe seems especially wigged out in this new footage.  Maybe he had a little too much to drink that day or something.  And sure, I could do like The Onion and wonder aloud why someone would call a plumber to retrieve a ring that fell into a sink, especially a Stooge plumber but... well, that just misses the point, doesn't it?  I mean, why does the sun shine?  Why does the flower bloom?  Why must the Stooges bring chaos to order?
What else?  Oh, Larry continues his tradition of referring to himself as an idiot.  Always good to try new things.  It must get old having others refer to you as an idiot.  Why not eliminate the middleman?
And, of course, the same old tired footage of Dudley Dickerson from A Plumbing We Will Go.  He probably didn't get residuals for it, alas.  Might've helped cover the medical bills he surely incurred for falling on his ass so much.  And I didn't particularly care for the way the picture ended with the slow fade on recycled footage of Shemp, but I guess it's appropriate in a way, seeing as how he was dead at the time.  Emil Sitka and Kenneth MacDonald seem to have some fun with their roles, so I won't go too far below three stars for this one.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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