Friday, June 06, 2014

Have Plot, Will Travel

Our next Stooge short leaves the awesome world of sci-fi behind, and goes back to a more earthbound plot with Guns a Poppin.  Gee, is it a Western?, actually!  It's a remake of that pre-stroke Curly classic Idiots Deluxe.  Lol.  See, this is where Joe pays off for the Stooges!  The ability to remake Curly shorts!
As it turns out, the plot is overhauled quite a bit here from the original Idiots Deluxe.  For economics fans in the audience, Moe's nervous breakdown is brought about due to economic stress: creditors closed up Moe's business (probably due to wanton destruction by the Stooges) and Moe has to pay $10,000 to... somebody.  And so, much like the Milton Berle character in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the pressures of the business world get to Moe.  Also, there's apparently a gunfight between the Stooges and a couple of cowboys.  That would explain the new title!  But don't worry, fans of Idiots Deluxe.  The two-man quartet is back in full form!  In a delightful twist, Larry plays the Curly part of trombone and bass drum, with a drumstick attached to his ass.  Apparently, even that was too much for that innocent babe in the woods who stumbled upon the evil Stooges' cabin in the woods, Joseph Besser.
What I'm trying to figure out here... at the last minute, of course... is if Wikipedia's claim is true, that Guns a Poppin' uses a "surprisingly minimal amount of stock footage from the original."  Viewers with a trained eye will spot the little differences.  For example, when Moe ties the trombone slide around the combined necks of Larry and Joe, some of Curly's struggle noises can be heard from Idiots Deluxe.  Also, the "Fine for hunting" joke is driven into the ground here, rather than the confident aside that it was in Idiots.  To be fair, there's an interesting commentary here that speaks to our crumbling health care system... I mean, soon to be rebuilt by the Democrats.  I guess, because I've seen it first, I prefer Moe eagerly engulfing his meds in Idiots as opposed to the proverbial stuffed goose he is here, here in Poppin.  He gets a funnel in his mouth, and Larry pours in a bunch of pills, then a bottle of liquid, then he shakes Moe's head around.  Joe says "That oughta cure him!"  Larry adds, "Or kill him!"  Dr. Fine, Bill Frist wants to hire you!
Anyway, on to the cabin.  Joe's certainly got the right hat for the occasion: the ol' Daniel Boone coonskin cap with dangling tail, right?  As usual, for now the boys make do with one slice of bread, drowned in about twenty different condiments.  Lol.  Ah, showbiz.  If only the Stooges had a cooking show like Miklos Molnar.  1945 Moe orders his eggs sunny side down here.  Boy, the more things change...
And once again, the bear is eventually discovered, and Joe and Larry venture out into the world to get it.  No bear trap this time.  I'm assumpting that they're not using a live bear in this one, just stock footage from Deluxe.  You gotta hand it to Curly; at least he did a few scenes with the actual bear!  I know, I know, be kind to Joe.  But as I've learned lately in my own job search, all life is precious until it starts looking for a job.  At that point, all bets are off.  Joe took the job, so SCREW HIM!!!!!!
Anyway, back to the plot.  This time, the bear takes the Stooges' car right out of their driveway, as opposed to taking over driving in mid-drive in Idiots.  From there, Moe gets put to sleep by Larry, and then... cue the new subplot!  A local sheriff is trying to bring a criminal to justice.  Shots ring out one after another.  In other words... guns start a poppin!  Moe awakens, and gets jittery anew.  "My nerves!  My nerves!!!" he cries.
Say, kids!  Do you like the gag where a guy gets crushed by his front door?  And someone ends up standing on said door with a guy under it?  Well, you're going to love Guns a Poppin to death because the gag happens to Moe not once, not twice... but three times a gag!  Maybe even a fourth if the writers are good.
No, just three it will be, apparently.  Now, if you're like me, and trying to build a case against, Joe, here's a good scene here that will do it: the bad guy stands behind Joe and fires his gun at the sheriff, holding the gun through Joe's arms.  Such uselessness.  Moe gives a shout out to his people, saying "I got this gun for my bar mitzvah!"  Boy, those were the days.  I tell you darling, this bad guy's studied the Stooge playbook.  Incidentally, the bad guy is long-time Stooge regular and even the fake Shemp, Joe Palma.
It's too wonderful.  To make a long story short, there was a $10,000 reward for the bad guy.  God bless the criminals and the wonderful bounties upon their heads, as I so often say.  However, the Stooges lose it in a unique way: they over-congratulate the sheriff, and the bad guy sneaks out the window.  Did Larry David write that?  Anyway, things turn to crap for the Stooges, and we end up back in the 1945 courtroom, where Moe is found not guilty, and he even gets his axe back.  I do like the ending of this one, however: after ruining his axe on Larry's head, Moe walks toward the camera like a drugged-up breakdown zombie.  "My nerves!  My nerves!" he cries, approaching the audience, as we fade to black.


Okay, on to the science.  According to my less-than-rigorous calculations, when the Stooges typically remake a film, it seems like they use about 20% of the footage from the original.  How does Guns a Poppin add up?  24.6%!  I therefore have grounds to find the claim of "surprisingly minimal footage" to be dubious at best, and criminally negligent at worst.  Mwahahahahahahahahaha!

Original length: 16:39.04 (including beginning credits and end title card)
Old footage removed: 12:32.28

good triple bill with: Saps at Sea and Idiots Deluxe

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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