Tuesday, August 19, 2014

And Last, And Possibly Least

That's right, folks!  It's the last Stooge film I ever have to do again... of course, there's all those Joe DeRita feature length numbers.  So much more suffering yet to come.  In the meantime, we've got our last Joe Besser short, and it's called Sappy Bullfighters.  Boy!  A lot of these Besser shorts have the word "sappy" in the title.  Sure, I don't know how many standard deviations above the mean there are, but still.  Three about spaceships, several with... okay, here we go.  There's one with Curly called Three Sappy People (1/97 = 1.03%), the Shemp classic Income Tax Sappy (1/77 = 1.3%), and TWO Besser Sappy shorts (2/16 = 12.5%).
Now, because this is a remake, normally I'd do my usual percentage calculations.  But these aren't normal circumstances.  And besides, I've noticed that the vast majority of my old hyperlinks pointing to Stooge shorts on the YouTubes don't work anymore!  I apologize, as I feel this just might indirectly be my fault...  Hey!  Maybe I should do a bunch of links to these Joe Besser shorts, and the authorities will take those down as well!  My bit for the common good.  Why, you'd have to be a sadist to pay the $1.99 fee to watch the Joe Besser shorts.  So that's one argument against.  The other is that there's a lot of stock footage of stadiums full of adoring fans and of bulls.  But mostly because I don't have my formerly free YouTube version of What's the Matador? to compare and contrast with, I really can't do the subject justice.  But it does look like they use an actual clip of way way younger Moe and Larry from Matador in our current feature, some seventeen odd years later.  My!  How time flies.
Now... if you'd rather skip Sappy Bull Fighters altogether, you can just go ahead and re-read my review of What's the Matador?  I just did, and man!  Did they stay true to the original script.  Like Curly, Joe says "I knew you'd change your mind!"  Sisyphus never had it so tough... I never thought I'd say or think this, but Curly's got way more sex appeal than Joe.  Joe's philosophy of comedy, and indeed of life, is to play a Stooge as a six year old child.  A six year old child who maybe has only seen the word "libido" in a book, and doesn't quite understand what it entails, so to speak.  Kinda like when Bart found out about what sex actually is... from Homer, no less... and as it spread all over Springfield, you could hear "EWWWWW!!!!!!" every couple seconds.  Still, Joe thinks he's Clark Gable in his prime, and hits on the pretty wife of a very jealous husband.  I dunno... that Greta Thyssen just doesn't do it for me, for some reason.  Then again, Christina McIntyre's kinda like a big sister to me as well.  And of course they do the "THREE MEN!" bit once again.  They didn't do this often enough.  They did it here in Don't Throw That Knife.  Hard to pass up a good setup like that, even if it means life or death.
So that's the first half of the picture.  The second half involves the "really big show" where the Stooges do their bullfighting skit.  The jealous husband recognizes them, and bribes some stadium employees to let a real bull out on the field.  Again, no post-production expense was spared, but someone did leave a little snippet of Curly's voice in the audio mix.  The contrast between the wide-angle shot of a dummy strapped to the bull's back, and the close-up of Joe just barely going up and down is quite stark indeed.
Well, I will hand it to Joe, as he didn't seem like too much of a psycho this time as he, like Curly before him, takes on the bull with just his bald head to protect him.  Joe's head is apparently made of similar stuff. (shyeah, right... movie magic, folks.  Movie magic.)  And so, Joe's carried off into the proverbial cliché that is the sunset, or at least as much as the last shot of the movie will allow... there's a big wall in the way.  He just barely gets the last joke right when he hits his head on a low hanging bar made of foam.
I understand that Larry once said that the Stooges only had a home at Columbia because of studio chief Harry Cohn, whose name appeared in a couple of their credit sequences.  He died sometime after the making of this short, and... yup!  Out they went.  Well, shorts in the theaters were on their way out anyway because of television.  I suppose even the best of great comedy teams ends with a fizzle, but that it has to be this weak just rubs that much more salt into the gaping wound.

p.s. ...wait a minute!  This was taped off of Spike TV?  I thought they had a strict "No Besser" policy!  Basterds.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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