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Author Topic: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)  (Read 3185 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
« on: June 20, 2014, 10:35:52 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/61
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034563/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    You know, I guess this golden era I've been talking about these past few months, I'll make a decision and say it ends at this short.  So Metaldams sayeth the golden age is OILY TO BED, OILY TO RISE up to and including LOCO BOY MAKES GOOD.  So it shall be written, so it shall be done.  Of course there are good Curly shorts after this and plenty of classic Shemp shorts as well.

    So, what's wrong with CACTUS MAKES PERFECT?  I am coming to the conclusion that part of the joy of watching the Stooges is watching their insane characters act with relatively normal and/or unlikeable people.  Throw the boys at a high society party, with wives, trying to work a blue collar job, doing something normal people do, and the hilarity ensues.  Throw them in a world of unbelievable characters, and it plays overly ham fisted.

    CACTUS MAKES PERFECT is a good example of the latter.  Monty Collins, who also co wrote this thing, dresses in drag to play the mother, who in turn does a poor man's Curly impersonation.  They run into con man Eddie Laughton who is an exaggerated cliche in this short. The competitor prospectors are over the top, definitely not a better Vernon Dent role.  Everything about this short screams cartoon, there's very little humanity in it.

    On a strictly superficial level, the short can be worse because the boys have their usual energy, they're doing a steady stream of slapstick, and the cactus hugging a terrified Larry is a nice highlight.  OK, I like the shaving scene too.  The boys doing a normal task together and making a pleasantly comedic scene out of it.  I think it's great they must use the sink together, no taking turns one at a time in the bathroom like normal folk.

    There are much worse Stooge shorts that come later on, but compared to the shorts that preceded this, CACTUS MAKES PERFECT is a step down, I'm sorry to say.

    6/10
    « Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 09:41:50 PM by metaldams »

    Offline ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 11:17:23 PM »
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  • The bit with Curly and the crowbar? Definitive Stooges.
    Running from the homestead to the city via projection screen? A perfect and inexpensive transition for a Columbia short. Indicative of budget shortcuts to come, no doubt.

    If I want humanity I'll revisit the later Our Gang shorts from MGM, and get a nice nap in the process.
    Unless Alfalfa sings.

    Truthfully, I'd take cartoon-y Curly in the skunk-skin cap over comedy rooted in realism any day.
    A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 05:24:27 AM »
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  • This short may not be on my favorites list but I do like it a lot. I'm a big fan of Monte Collins over the top style of acting and thought he was funny as the boys mother.  The short had a couple new gags and the boys are in top form. I did think the scene with Curlys head stuck in the mine entrance was dragged out a little to long. But I still have to give it a 8 1/2.
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    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 06:06:11 AM »
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  • I've heard some describe this short as a "western." I've always found that to be a bit of an odd description--there's none of the usual trappings one usually associates with westerns; no cowboys, no girl named Nell, no saloons. So what qualifies this as a western?

    At any rate, I always felt this short was good, not great. I thought Monty Collins was a wonderfully bizarre mother, the shaving scene was good, as was a later scene with the stooges down in the mining shaft & Moe getting a bit of abuse dished out on him.  Btw, when Curly's head is stuck, at the very beginning of that scene, does it sound like Curly may have been grunting in his real voice? I always thought so.

    Overall, I rate this a 7 out of 10....


    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: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #4 on: June 21, 2014, 07:22:11 AM »
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  • The bit with Curly and the crowbar? Definitive Stooges.
    Running from the homestead to the city via projection screen? A perfect and inexpensive transition for a Columbia short. Indicative of budget shortcuts to come, no doubt.

    If I want humanity I'll revisit the later Our Gang shorts from MGM, and get a nice nap in the process.
    Unless Alfalfa sings.

    Truthfully, I'd take cartoon-y Curly in the skunk-skin cap over comedy rooted in realism any day.

    I'm not looking for 100 percent realism, if so, I would not be a Three Stooges or slapstick comedy fan.  My personal tastes lean in a direction where the cartoon like humor is surrounded by some realism and strikes a nice balance.  Too much cartoony like humor without a hint of realism is too over the top for my tastes while too much sap and humanity like in the MGM  Our Gangs you speak of can be boring, I agree.

    I think there's such a thing as balance, which the Stooges and all the great comedians usually seem to reach, but I think they failed to do so with CACTUS MAKES PERFECT.  Just my opinion which I know won't be shared by everybody else.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #5 on: June 21, 2014, 07:28:39 AM »
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  • Btw, when Curly's head is stuck, at the very beginning of that scene, does it sound like Curly may have been grunting in his real voice?

    I obviously didn't know Curly personally and never saw footage of the man in a serious interview, but I too have noticed the voice in the part you're talking about and notice it is deeper.  Probably is his real voice.

    There is another short, I want to say CRASH GOES THE HASH, where he speaks in a whisper that sounds more real in one part.

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #6 on: June 21, 2014, 09:58:49 AM »
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  • I have to digress and  try to take care of some housekeeping items. How do I link to  Three Stooges.net to/from this form?  It does not give me the ability to rate the episodes in Three Stooges.net. I also have trouble linking.

    I finally get there but there's got to be an easier way
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    Offline ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 11:01:46 AM »
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  • Btw, when Curly's head is stuck, at the very beginning of that scene, does it sound like Curly may have been grunting in his real voice? I always thought so.

    There seem to be a number of instances where Curly speaks without any affectation or falsetto. Beer and Pretzels, Nertsery Rhymes, Punch Drunks, and especially the ill-health Curly shorts like Monkey Businessmen ("We'll get some grease, spill it on the floor and slip by.")  to name a few, all feature what we can presume is his real voice.

    And then there's that bit in Matri-Phony that I always enjoyed, where Curly drops into that Edward G. Robinson thing: "Da back o' da drapes. Yeah. Yeahhh." For no reason at all he just lapses into that tough guy way of speaking! I guess that's something similar to a Shemp moment when he would start improvising at the end of a take?

    And about that head stuck in the mine shaft thing? We saw this same setup before in How High is Up? with the sweater, and we'll see similar occurrences later, like the phone booth bit in Brideless Groom but, for me, this is where it works best.
    A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #8 on: June 21, 2014, 11:12:22 AM »
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  • I have to digress and  try to take care of some housekeeping items. How do I link to  Three Stooges.net to/from this form?  It does not give me the ability to rate the episodes in Three Stooges.net. I also have trouble linking.

    I finally get there but there's got to be an easier way

    My understanding is the two sites are no longer linked together, and Rob has to keep it this way to keep the board going.  Sad but true.  Not sure if you can rate episodes at this point, I'd PM Dunrobin.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #9 on: June 21, 2014, 11:49:49 AM »
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  • Sorry.  Gotta disagree.  Every moment of this short is off-the-charts hilarious, from mom Monty at the first to getting blown through the wall at the last, with special highlights being the two Fun With Tools sections.  I laugh harder and more consistently at this one than any other.  It might be my very favorite.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #10 on: June 21, 2014, 12:59:25 PM »
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  • Yes, Metaldams, you have come over to the dark side.  If y'all remember, I said a week or two ago that LOCO BOY MAKES GOOD ended the golden era with this short.

    Fortunately, CACTUS MAKES PERFECT is the typical Stooge fun that dry rots young children's minds.  Unfortunately, it just sucks in the effects and plotline.  Monty Collins is a riot as the mother; I think because I think he was supposed to be doing a bad Curly impression.  The opening scenes in the bedroom are where most of the laughs are found.  Shaving each other's faces in the most painful manner was a Stooge classic, but the bed was better, watching the boys get flung from a yo-yo.  The letter scene was well-done, but unfortunately it gets lost in the hilarity around it.

    The cut to the city scene was typical Stooge-o-mania, but after that it goes straight to pot.  After that point all you want is the short to be over (except for Larry and the cactus).  Not only were the villains overplayed, but the ending just sucks through and through.  It just seems wrong for the good guys to be the ones to get blown up instead of the robbers, who most likely would have run off with the money had the short not ended.  Just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, much like the ending of HALFSHOT SHOOTERS. 
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #11 on: June 21, 2014, 05:45:41 PM »
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  • Yes, Metaldams, you have come over to the dark side.  If y'all remember, I said a week or two ago that LOCO BOY MAKES GOOD ended the golden era with this short.

    Fortunately, CACTUS MAKES PERFECT is the typical Stooge fun that dry rots young children's minds.  Unfortunately, it just sucks in the effects and plotline.  Monty Collins is a riot as the mother; I think because I think he was supposed to be doing a bad Curly impression.  The opening scenes in the bedroom are where most of the laughs are found.  Shaving each other's faces in the most painful manner was a Stooge classic, but the bed was better, watching the boys get flung from a yo-yo.  The letter scene was well-done, but unfortunately it gets lost in the hilarity around it.

    The cut to the city scene was typical Stooge-o-mania, but after that it goes straight to pot.  After that point all you want is the short to be over (except for Larry and the cactus).  Not only were the villains overplayed, but the ending just sucks through and through.  It just seems wrong for the good guys to be the ones to get blown up instead of the robbers, who most likely would have run off with the money had the short not ended.  Just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, much like the ending of HALFSHOT SHOOTERS.

    I am the Darth Vader to your Emperor.

    Nice to see a little controversy here, keeps things interesting, but I must be the only one who's not a fan of Monte Collins.  He's fine as Professor Bilbo because he plays it straight, but perhaps I just don't like seeing anyone ham it up next to Buster Keaton, which he does in some Columbia shorts.  Never cared for the Stooge mother bit either, but good for you guys who dig it.

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 06:10:32 PM »
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  • The short definitely drops off from the other recent shorts.  I agree it's a little cartoonish and a little silly.

    I do like the shaving scene.

    I would rate this a seven
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #13 on: June 25, 2014, 01:54:50 PM »
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  • Rather than thinking of it as Monte Collins doing a Curly impression, consider the idea that Curly may have inherited all these quirks from his mother, of all people.  That's how I've always looked at it, after all, Mom was there first.  It makes more sense that way, and it makes a lot more sense than Moe's later Curly impressions, which are awful.  Even when he's not doing Curly, Collins is great here.  " You gonna start that again?"  " You would take it! "  Curly got her grunts and squeals, Moe got her hair-trigger temper.  This is the stooges Mom.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #14 on: June 25, 2014, 08:49:00 PM »
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  • Rather than thinking of it as Monte Collins doing a Curly impression, consider the idea that Curly may have inherited all these quirks from his mother, of all people.  That's how I've always looked at it, after all, Mom was there first.  It makes more sense that way, and it makes a lot more sense than Moe's later Curly impressions, which are awful.  Even when he's not doing Curly, Collins is great here.  " You gonna start that again?"  " You would take it! "  Curly got her grunts and squeals, Moe got her hair-trigger temper.  This is the stooges Mom.

    Logically, I can't argue with a word you're saying.  Storyline wise it makes sense they would have a mom somewhat like Curly.  I just don't find much humor in the situation.  I would've found a straighter mother who looked at her three boys with a bit of disbelief or ignorance to be funnier.  It's my boneheaded theory The Three Stooges play better against normals rather than people who are like them.


    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #15 on: June 25, 2014, 09:07:41 PM »
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  • After the picture falls on her head, she has a moment of tenderness trying to imagine them as cute, then gets yanked back to reality hearing them snoring like hogs upstairs.  Mom's trying to be normal, but it just ain't gonna work.

    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #16 on: February 19, 2015, 03:29:52 PM »
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  • I may be in the minority, but I like this one. Monty Collins is hilarious here. I knew from day one of watching this short that the stooges' mother was played by a man. He plays the part so badly and that's what's funny about it. It's definitely done on purpose. There were many good scenes here.... the spinning bed, shaving scene, the cactus scene and the digging for gold scene.

    My only complaint was the ending. Didn't care for the stooges being blown up, but it's definitely better than HALF SHOT SHOOTERS where they die.

    9/10

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #17 on: January 29, 2018, 03:16:47 PM »
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  • I watched this short last night, my last opportunity for "Sunday Night with the Stooges" DVD viewing until February 18th.  The Flyers have their first-ever game in Vegas on the 11th, and there is some kind of football thing with the Eagles involved on the 4th.

    Anyway, while the ending was bad and the overall short was so-so, I saw something last night that I had never noticed before.  When Ma Stooge was spinning the bed around, in the far corner of the room there were a bunch of ties hanging, and above that, it looked like either a small TV or a microwave oven.  Maybe they should have had water come out of that, a la Niagara Falls in "A Plumbing We Will Go."

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #18 on: January 29, 2018, 07:00:31 PM »
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  • Lefty, I don't think TVs or microwaves were standard equipment in rural bedrooms in 1942.  I haven't any access to this flick at the moment, but I'll check it out as soon as I can.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #19 on: January 29, 2018, 07:39:50 PM »
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  • And Paul Pain, this is one of my favorite stooge attributes, that the best of them dry rot childrens' minds.  For sure this is one of them.  Maybe the best.  My mother LOATHED these guys. Luckily, I remember that my father, whom I have described elsewhere as a middling, occasional stooge fan, happened to catch this one with us kids one day and started laughing his ass off at the crowbar sequence.  Mom was conspicuous by her absence. And imagine my amusement when years ago I visited her in the assisted living and the big TV in the common room was running random vintage sitcoms and, imagine this, the occasional stooge short.  At age ninety, she reminded me in no uncertain terms that she still LOATHED those guys.  Thankfully, she had enough awareness and sense of humor at that point to realize that this was one battle that she had lost.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #20 on: January 31, 2018, 06:23:35 AM »
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  • And Paul Pain, this is one of my favorite stooge attributes, that the best of them dry rot childrens' minds.  For sure this is one of them.  Maybe the best.  My mother LOATHED these guys. Luckily, I remember that my father, whom I have described elsewhere as a middling, occasional stooge fan, happened to catch this one with us kids one day and started laughing his ass off at the crowbar sequence.  Mom was conspicuous by her absence. And imagine my amusement when years ago I visited her in the assisted living and the big TV in the common room was running random vintage sitcoms and, imagine this, the occasional stooge short.  At age ninety, she reminded me in no uncertain terms that she still LOATHED those guys.  Thankfully, she had enough awareness and sense of humor at that point to realize that this was one battle that she had lost.

    Your father and mother sound like my grandfather and grandmother!   [pie]
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    Offline Woe-ee-Woe-Woe80

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    Re: Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
    « Reply #21 on: February 04, 2018, 02:10:17 PM »
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  • My favorite short released in 1942, I've thought this short was hilarious from the beginning to the end, I loved the scene where Larry and Curly were constantly accidentally hitting Moe with the tools and the tool scene here was nearly as great as the classic tool scene in the 1937 short "Cash And Carry", I also loved Monte Collins as the Stooges' mother, I've thought he was hilarious in that role, one of my favorite Larry moments is when he's cutting the ends of the cactus stuck on Curly's bottom and Moe was telling Larry he's cutting the ends in them, Larry responds by saying they don't show, of course Moe gives Larry a slap in that scene! That's one of the rare times where I don't feel sorry for Larry getting smacked by Moe!

    I was initially disappointed by the ending scene where the Stooges get blown up but it's grown onto me, at least they didn't die from the blast

    I give this episode a 10/10.