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Author Topic: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)  (Read 4788 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
« on: December 20, 2013, 07:44:08 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/31
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030139/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    Eh, this Charley Chase thing, it's so hit or miss with me so far, no room for in the middle, and this one's sadly a miss.  Love the guy as a comic, and he had his moments as a Stooge director for sure, but not here.  The problem with this one is the plot.  We have an old school fire marshall who thinks the beauty of horses is more important than engines quickly getting to the scene of a fire and saving lives.  We have a crooked salesman who will destroy property for a sale and is not above assaulting women.  This is a friggin Three Stooges short, give me the kisser of a baroness meeting a custard pie or something, or if you're going to have a plot, have the decency to incorporate good Stooge comedy in it, like in CASH AND CARRY (I return to thee again). Oh, and the whole dumb comics going in the wrong direction of the scene of the fire is not funny because there's people in real danger.  I believe Charlie Chaplin tried something similar in THE FIREMAN, it wasn't funny there either.  If you're going to steal from Chaplin, don't pick his worst Mutual short, God knows there's plenty good stuff of his.

    Maybe I over analyze this stuff, and I'll admit there are some amusing bits of the boys bonking each other around a few minutes in, but this one is a weak one for me.  I'm sure some of you guys like this, and good for you, this is just not Metaldams approved.  But hey, 1939 is coming, and for the next few years, all the shorts are better than this one.  Much better.  The golden age is approaching.  I can't wait.

    4/10
    « Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 10:01:54 PM by metaldams »

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 08:51:44 AM »
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  • You know, I've knocked Mr. Chase pretty good on these discussions & maybe I'm screwy, but to me this is one of his better ones. I know it's not a popular opinion & I'm not saying the short is great, but compared to Mutts, Flat Foot Stooges is a big step up.

    I liked the whole beginning with the stooges getting up & dressed, the whole business with Larry sliding down the firepole & getting a punch intended for Curly & then Moe winds up his fist & sends him flying back up the pole with an uppercut.

    The ending of the short with the stooges running all over town trying to find the fire does meander a bit and the ending is one of those that leaves you with that "there could have been more" feeling. I guess Charley was in a hurry to wrap this baby up.

    In any event, I rate Flat a solid 7 & would probably say it's my favorite by him.
    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 10:34:00 AM »
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  • While it may have been the first short to use the long-time NHL referee theme, "Three Blind Mice" (now 4), "Flat Foot Stooges" just has never been a favorite of mine. 

    The best line is, "What do you expect a fire mouse...uh...I mean, a fire house mouse to smell like, a petunia?"   Was that in the script, or did Moe fumble his lines?

    And of course, the ending was terrible.  Maybe had Curly not said, "Look, he's coming back," it might have made more sense.  It's like Charley Chase said, "Aaaaah, that's enough of this.  I gotta go have a drink."

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 04:58:51 PM »
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  • I like this. Not great but good. It tells a story. Chase seems to be a story teller first, then slapstick. Of course parts of the story are ridiculous. Taking the horses to Turkish bath. The dog cleaner contraption in Mutts.

    The chasing after the fire scene does meander and the ending is a little dumb. I go back-and-forth if it should be a seven or an eight.
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 05:10:47 PM »
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  • I like this for a few reasons, the main one being that it strikes me as being an all-out tribute to the Keystone Kops.  There's lots of undercranked, fast-motion action and chases, men interacting with machines in ways that weren't meant to happen, pretty girls in grave danger whose rescue depends on idiots, explosions, fires, and Chester Conklin, an original Kop, to boot.  This was not an accidental casting.  Watch Chester: even in the shots that aren't sped up,  he moves like what he is, a Sennett comic, all wild gestures and pointless stops and starts.  He's the guiding light in this one, and he's still got it.
         The slow point for me in this is the horse massage.  Really not sure why it's even there.  However, shortly after that we're treated to the sight of Chester Conklin interacting with Heinie Conklin, the senile cop.  Yes, I know they're not related, but it's still pretty cool.

    Offline ManiacMan

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #5 on: December 22, 2013, 03:00:34 PM »
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  • I like this one. It's a rare Stooge short that emphasizes story over slapstick. The plot is ridiculous but we're talking about The Three Stooges. That's what made them great in the first places. I think overall this short is quite good. The scene with The Stooges recruiting all the men to help them to get to the fire is hilarious. Also the Stooges look awesome in those cool Firemen uniforms. Ever since I saw first saw this short about five years ago I've been wanting them. Is this one better than False Alarms, the other Firemen short? Yes, definitely. 8/10.

    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 08:13:06 AM »
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  • Has some funny parts here and there, but this is not their best episode. The storyline wasn't so great. I did like the beginning where the stooges get caught in each others' suspenders and the "pull the string" gag was funny too. But the whole ending scene where the stooges are running and looking for the fire was a bit too long and not all the funny.

    7/10

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 08:52:01 AM »
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  • One of my least favorite Curly Stooges shorts. The story is poor; so many mistakes are left in. It's just dull and uninspired. First of all, I don't like my Stooges even moderately successful. And the mistakes....."The horses fall on the harness....I mean, the harness falls on the horses"....."What's his name. What is his name??" But even retakes to get rid of the errors couldn't breathe life into this. The scene pulling the carriage seems to go on forever. The girl's screams get on my nerves. The only bit of gold is the duck pooping a hand-grenade egg. The moral of the story is that if you want to see your Stooges as firemen, watch False Alarms!

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 10:23:05 AM »
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  • There's been a debate on this for a long time, I'm one who does not think those are fluffed lines.  They all seem of a type, not exactly malaprops but certainly tongue-twisters, and they're all delivered with, let's say, professional aplomb: no body language or sudden losses of energy would indicate fluffs.  The tricky one, to me, is Fire-house Mouse: if that is a fluff by Moe, he gets out of it very quick and rescues it with the big old spat-out Petunia.  And the joke is still the same as the others: he trips over a tongue-twister.  The tricky part is Curly's reply:  "its...you know..."  THAT sounds like an ad lib.  It's certainly not a joke.  He may have blown that line because he's standing there covered in spit, but the take was deemed O K because Petunia was pretty good.  I don't think Go Get What's-His-Name is a fluff...Larry's picking up his cues too easily.
         Given Charley Chase's penchant for little experiments in his shorts ( that doesn't sound right, does it? ) my guess is that these are tiny little jokes, not exactly in-jokes, but certainly tiny jokes, that are there on purpose.  Whether they are successful or not is a matter of opinion.

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #9 on: December 23, 2013, 11:59:25 AM »
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  • I'm higher than most on this one. I just think it's a fun short with some good sequences, like when they're chasing the fire towards the end. That stretch includes a then-current reference to "Wrong Way" Corrigan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Corrigan).

    The short is also notable for being Dick Curtis' Stooge debut.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #10 on: December 23, 2013, 03:45:08 PM »
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  • By the way, I find the effects of Moe pulling Larry up the pole by the hair and Moe uppercutting Larry back up the pole to be seamlessly done, and two of a group of eye-popping effects that are coming up soon in subsequent episodes.  I mean, in the first instance, obviously someone has to be boosting Larry up from below, only because any other way is against the laws of physics, but the uppercut is just magic, unless someone has the digitally-remastered version ( I don't ) and can see the strings.  In any case, Larry's howl of outrage as Moe hauls him up by the backhairs is priceless.  Has anyone gathered that, despite majority opinion, I like this one?

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #11 on: December 23, 2013, 07:42:29 PM »
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  • I'm not doing this to be arrogant, but just to note how divided opinion is on this short: go ahead and read them for yourself:
         Those who think plot dominates slapstick: three
         Those who think slapstick dominates plot: three
         Figure that out.  Some, like me, do not notice an imbalance, but for those who mention it, it's a tie.  At this point, I can only say that yes, opinion is divided, I have no intelligent opinion otherwise.  What can I tell you, IMHO, I like it.   More input is welcome, obviously, though this one seems to be forever debatable.

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #12 on: December 23, 2013, 07:54:38 PM »
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  • Just wanted to add that I like the flubbed lines, intentional or not, especially Moe's firemouse gaffe. And the bulldog who gets his ass kicked by the mouse is a nice scene as well (it's murder, it's murder)...


     :D
    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #13 on: December 23, 2013, 09:03:02 PM »
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  • The opinions on this short are definitely interesting, no doubt.  To elaborate a bit more on the good stuff, which I didn't do in my original review, the first few minutes of the boys doing slapstick around the fire pole and getting dressed is great stuff, the saving grace of the short, as far as I'm concerned.  Moe pulling Larry up by the hair from a fire pole is always great, and I love watching the boys getting stuck in the same pair of trousers and trying to maneuver their way out of it.  The horse stuff is too cutesy for my tastes, and I never found the bulldog thing funny, though.

    It's just the story sucks because all the characters involved are so unlikeable (and Big Chief, I thought Chester Conklin was wasted in this one, he was used much better a year earlier in MODERN TIMES).  Plus, another problem is The Three Stooges simply play comic relief the same way Abbott and Costello were wasted in some of their features that involved too much romantic subplot.  In a 15 minute short, you have to find a way to make the comics a more integral part of the plot, at least that's what I prefer.

    Glad some of you guys enjoy this one, though, it makes for some good discussion.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #14 on: December 23, 2013, 11:45:59 PM »
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  • Well, Metaldams, I'm timid about mixing it up with a Global Moderator AND Spongehead, but I might say that rather than being wasted here compared to Modern Times, Chester had a damn good part in this one and a GREAT one in Modern Times, this one being, as far as anyone at the time was concerned, just a two-reel programmer, and the other being Chaplin's Newest Release.  In any case, Chester had a hell of a year going here, and God bless him, considering his gradual fade out of the business, to the extent of eventually becoming a department store Santa Claus.  I like the way the old pro grabs the bull by the horns here.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #15 on: December 25, 2013, 09:20:50 AM »
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  • I always liked this short. As mentioned, it's the first short with Dick Curtis. (One of my favorite Stooge bad guys)  Plenty of site gags in this one. The dog getting thrown out of the cabinet by the mouse is my favorite. I didn't get the bit when Larry goes up to turn the alarm off and after coming back down, the alarm goes off again.  There's no explanation of what he did up there. I wonder if there was scene cut out? The scene near the end with the men running with the pole holding the carriage up was pretty good. It had a silent movie look to it.  All in all it's a pretty good short and I rate it a 8.
    "When in Chicago call Stockyards 1234, Ask for Ruby".

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #16 on: December 25, 2013, 07:04:14 PM »
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  • If we want to talk about wasted, in Dutiful But Dumb he's the guy who gives Curly the oyster stew.  That's all he does.  Now, THAT'S wasted.  Well, he also reacts to the gunfire, but that could have been done by anybody.  That's just a paycheck.  Now, as they say, there's no small parts, just small actors:  I've brought this up before, but being a professional musician, I'll posit that Chester's line in ( I think ) Micro-phonies, drunk as a fart, " know it?  I WROTE it !" is to this day absolutely the best reading of a joke that is one of the hoariest of musicians' cliche jokes, and trust me, musicians have a ton of hoary cliche jokes.  That was an old joke THEN.  Chester's making Chicken Cordon Bleu out of chicken shit.  He's got a good part as the lion-killer in Three Little Twirps, but his parts in the Stooge shorts are usually miniscule, I'm guessing because of a too-close resemblance to Andy Clyde, whose career was pretty healthy with Columbia.

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #17 on: December 26, 2013, 03:02:39 PM »
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  • ... he plays an old fart who is beyond reason and stuck in nostalgia.  You can't reason with the guy ...

    Chester Conklin starring as Philadelphia Flyers' owner Ed Snider.  #FlyersCulture

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #18 on: December 26, 2013, 04:26:08 PM »
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  • Guitar and banjo.

    Awesome.  I'm an amateur bassist of 21 years.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #19 on: December 26, 2013, 04:48:25 PM »
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  • Amateur is the right way to go.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #20 on: August 24, 2014, 04:22:21 AM »
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  • Yeah, Chester Conklin plays an old fart mired in senility in this one.  The highlight for me is when Dick Curtis jumps out of the window, leaving a giant hole in the ground where he landed.  The duck that laid the golden hand grenade?
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Tony Bensley

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #21 on: September 23, 2015, 08:21:31 PM »
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  • Yeah, Chester Conklin plays an old fart mired in senility in this one.  The highlight for me is when Dick Curtis jumps out of the window, leaving a giant hole in the ground where he landed.  The duck that laid the golden hand grenade?
    For me, FLAT FOOT STOOGES works best when viewed as a sort of Mack Sennett tribute.  In my opinion, both unrelated Conklins are fine in their respective roles, and the Fire Rescue scene has shades of the reinserted Prison Fire Rescue scene from Laurel & Hardy's debut starring feature, PARDON US, in which the protagonist (Played by perennial tough guy, Walter Long!) does indeed, end up in a big hole!

    I'll have to recheck for the tell tale wire when Moe socks Larry up the fire-pole!  Love that gag!  Poor Larry Fine sure took a lot of hard slaps on his left cheek from Moe Howard over the years, though!

    8/10 for me.

    CHEERS! :)

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #22 on: March 29, 2016, 09:09:02 AM »
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  • Watched this one again this morning... still doesn't do it for me.  This short almost foreshadows the kind of stupidity we see in modern sitcoms, but the acting is much better here.  Charley is a good way to Chase off a potential Stoogephile.
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #23 on: January 04, 2017, 09:07:44 PM »
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  • I thought that this could only happen in a Stooge short:

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/01/04/concord-fire-station-fire-chief-mark-cotreau/

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)
    « Reply #24 on: January 05, 2017, 09:08:19 PM »
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  • I thought that this could only happen in a Stooge short:

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/01/04/concord-fire-station-fire-chief-mark-cotreau/

    Breaking news: according to an unnamed source, the fire started when a duck, that had eaten gunpowder, laid an egg that rolled off a window sill.