First half is fine. Second half is too rough on the senoritas. I detect stand-ins and dummies, and they're still too rough on the senoritas. Pounding, literally pounding, on Dorothy Appleby ain't too hilarious.
Yup. Much of this short is very funny stuff, but the "beauty" treatment administered to the four -Itas is repellent to me. Pies in the face are one thing, but assaults on women with brute force and chemical agents are quite another. The mud applied to the face of Rosita (Dorothy Appleby) would have suffocated her (I actually wonder how the actress herself endured it through the shot in which it is first applied, before she is replaced by a dummy), and I find nothing funny about how the Stooges hammer it off, or about Moe's shearing off her fingernails. The same goes for their removing the hair from the heads of three girls whose livelihood depends on their looking attractive. The moral ugliness of this abuse is aggravated by the fact that these three have very little control over the situation. Their employer has made the decision to get them turned into blondes and has entrusted them to the Stooges for that purpose. They speak English poorly or not at all, and have to do as they are told if they want to keep working. Ordinarily, the Stooges inflict violence and indignities on bullies, stuffed shirts, and buffoons, but these are just three helpless, unpretentious, and trusting young women. I usually skip to the next short on the disc once the mud pack business starts in this one, and watching the whole thing to the end on this occasion only confirmed me in that policy.
Setting aside all that ugliness, we have the fish-selling sequence, whose praises have been amply sung here, and two encounters with Mexican businessmen: the realtor in San Diego ("You geev me $300 and I geev you deh beezness!") and the dance hall proprietor in Cucaracha ("1410 South American way, no cover charge anytime"). Regarding the realtor: I was recently complaining about Lynton Brent's bad acting in a thread on another short, but in this case, the cheesiness of his performance seems to me to fit the character perfectly. Given the shadiness of his sales tactics, it could very well be that the character is supposed
to be an Anglo guy with his face painted brown, talking with a phony Mexican accent! The dance hall proprietor is one of my favorite bit characters. His combination of courtly smoothness with vulgar commercialism achieves its epitome when he answers the Stooges' "Glad to meet you!" with the self-assured but completely wrong response "Glad to meet me!" The Stooges cap this superbly when, after they have repeated his touting patter back to him, Moe tacks on to it, "Glad to meet me!" (I learn from this site
that, although the actor was named Bob O'Connor (born O'Conor), he was Mexican by birth.)