Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"Fifi" Blows

That framing was probably Besser's idea.  Anyway, it's time for our next Stooge short, Fifi Blows her Top.  It uses footage from Love at First Bite, but the story has been altered rather drastically.  In fact, the second half of the story has been cribbed from a Laurel and Hardy short... but these connections are rather hard to make using the internet, so I'm forced to drag out the 10-disc DVD collection of Laurel and Hardy that I have access to.... never mind.  Boy, did I get that wrong!  Apparently it's from one of their first, called Unaccustomed As We Are.  Which of course is a variation on The Front Page... this could go on for years!
Anyway, the plot.  Moe and Larry are doing all the work, while Joe's sulking about Fifi, his lost love.  The First Act is the repeat of Love at First Bite, with film clips from it spliced in.  Larry's section is clipped with rare incidental music added (as any Stooge fan will tell you, the only incidental music that should be in a Stooge film are the various sound effects, like head bonks, damn it!), and it has to be frozen to avoid the cross-fade on the Stooges with Shemp.  Moe, not so much.
As usual, Joe has to illustrate his inherent smugness when he tells his Fifi story by saying "You guys were having fun, but with me it was serious!"  Yes, Joe, we know... you're not just a Stooge, and so very much more.  However, the waitress has a little truth-telling fun with Joe in his be-haired flashback.  She was Moe's Sunev girl in the previous Outer Space Jitters.  They keep the dog angle from Shemp's story, but with one problem... Joe's eating inside the Café La Mer Essen, while Shemp and his babe were outside!!!!!  Oh well, this is a remake.  Buyer beware.  See, if they were really good, they would make the husband the MP that manhandles Besser.
Okay, Second Act.  They kept the chewing gum wrinkle, but only so they could reuse footage of Moe struggling with said bubble gum.  Larry takes over for Shemp as the Chewing Gum Chewer in Chief.  And then, the conflict.  Fifi is now living in America, and next door to the Stooges in the same apartment complex, right across the hall.  She gets locked out, and has to go to the Stooges for help.  They manage to soak her with a shaker full of coctail mix, and they burn her dress when they attempt to iron it.  Ironic maybe?  Always count on the Stooges to put out a fire with a bucket of gasoline.
Wikipedia informs us that potential long-time collaborator and future Jerry Stiller-lookalike Philip van Zandt killed himself shortly after this film was finished.  I think I can appreciate his frame of mind.  Anything to get out of working with Besser again.  I'm kinda glad they didn't make him the MP that roughs up Besser during his flashback sequence.

Full length: 16 m 32 s
Old footage removed: 13 m 27 s
Percentage of new footage: 81.3 %

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

1 comment:

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