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Author Topic: The Yoke's On Me (1944)  (Read 4832 times)

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Offline metaldams

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The Yoke's On Me (1944)
« on: October 24, 2014, 10:40:04 AM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/79
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037474/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1



    Oh goodie, we get to discuss a controversial one.  If you click on the threestooges.net link above, there's a nice little write up that describes the controversy, and it's required reading.  Basically, those Japanese guys in this short are not Japanese soldiers, they are American citizens sent, through force, to a "relocation center" because they are Japanese and might be spies.  Funny how German and Italian Americans, to my knowledge anyway, thankfully did not have to go through the same indignity.  My great grandmother was living in America at the time and born in Italy, how did they know she might be in Mussolini's ear?  Of course she wasn't, but they could have used the same excuse on her to bring her into a relocation center.  I try my best to keep politics out of these weekly discussions, but in this short, it's completely unavoidable.  Governments use war as an excuse to rob citizens of freedom, and what we see in this short, if you know history and can read between the lines, serves as a valuable example. 

    I came in with the attitude I was totally going to rip this to shreds, and while the ending portion is unforgivable, the relocation center theme does not really play out until the end.  This would actually be a halfway decent short if those Japanese guys, were say, plain old thieves who were not forced away from their homes.  Curly's little fan dance with the ostrich feathers is a fun little moment missing from the shorts these past few weeks where I'm kind of blasé on.  The whole Mama Ganda/Papa Ganda bit is one of the better bad pun Stooge bits, they milk it very well instead of making it a quick one liner.  I also love the shot of the boys getting tomatoes in the face after singing, and the farm setting is a refreshing change of pace. 

    Still, whatever good that's in this short is harmed by the end.  The shot of the Japanese men after the explosion is the most disturbing of all 190 shorts.  It would be one thing if there were bird noises and stars floating over their heads like a cartoon, but instead, they are clearly dead.

    For the record, when it comes to the censorship of this film, I believe local TV stations have a right to decide what to air or not to air on their own stations, and I'm glad this is on DVD so we can make our own decisions.

    Next week: Less controversy, the introduction of a good friend to Stoogedom, and I get to review a short with a Wolf Man on Halloween!  I swear I didn't plan it that way, just an amazing coincidence.

    4/10

    « Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 10:22:34 PM by metaldams »

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #1 on: October 24, 2014, 11:21:30 AM »
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  • By the way, take a look at the poster above.  It appears there's a girl showing off her leg to the boys.  That's fine and dandy, except it has nothing to do with the film!

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #2 on: October 24, 2014, 12:17:53 PM »
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  • Yes, a difficult short to rate because of the content. I know it's not the same thing, but the only other controversial moment I can think of in a future stooge short is Moe, Larry and Curly doing blackface--whether or not anyone takes issue with that, we shall see.

    Getting back to Yoke, I think there are some funny bits--Metal, you mentioned most, if not all of them. Also, I think this short stands out for me because I think this is the first short where I can notice a definite change in Curly. What contributes to that change--age perhaps--is the question.

    Actually, it can't be a question of health, because Curly seems pretty damn spry doing the fandance. At any rate, it's something that's always stuck out to me.

    In any event, once the japanese... I'm not sure what to call them--refugees perhaps. Once the Japanese citizens enter the picture, things completely nosedive--and if you're a student of American history, then I'm sure I don't need to explain why.

    Another issue that comes up is the censorship of this short. Part of me can understand why some stations would choose not to air this short & another part of me says we should be able to view the stooges in all their films, regardless of content.

    Overall, I rate it a somewhat generous 5 out of 10 pokes...
    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: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 09:39:20 PM »
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  • Another issue that comes up is the censorship of this short. Part of me can understand why some stations would choose not to air this short & another part of me says we should be able to view the stooges in all their films, regardless of content.



    We should be able to view what we want.  A station should also be able to air what they want.  I'd go as far as to say Sony has the right not to release this short if they want.  You and I would then have the right not to buy volume four if this short of were left off.  Enough of us don't buy, Sony caves in.  Thankfully though, they did include it.

    See an example of Tom and Jerry volume 2.  Two shorts left off, enough people complain, the release gets held back.  The beauty of the free market.

    Offline PresidentWardRobey

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #4 on: October 24, 2014, 09:42:49 PM »
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  • When I watched this as a kid, it never dawned on me to question what a relocation center was.  It may have been mentioned in school, but I honestly don't remember it.  I just naturally assumed the following: police blockade + Japanese escapees + checking all cars = they were looking for prisoners.  And in my mind, that was backed up later by seeing them in jumpsuits.  It also never occurred to me that they died at the end -- (1) in other shorts they depicted the dead as going to or already in heaven/hell or as a ghost and (2) the bit with pulling away a prop from a person and said person still standing until being hit with the prop or blowing on them so they fall over.  Now that I'm older (and hopefully a little less naïve), I'm watching this from a different perspective.

    To tie in with a censorship theory I brought up in I Can Hardly Wait, I found this on Wikipedia while reading more about the historical aspect of this short:
    The OWI Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP) was established in collaboration with Hollywood to produce films that advanced American war aims. According to Elmer Davis, “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized”.  Successful films depicted the Allied armed forces as valiant “Freedom fighters,” and advocated for civilian participation, such as conserving fuel or donating food to troops.

    By July 1942, OWI administrators realized that the best way to reach American audiences was to present war films in conjunction with feature films. OWI’s presence in Hollywood deepened throughout the war, and by 1943, every studio, except for Paramount, allowed OWI to examine all movie scripts.  OWI evaluated whether each film would promote the honor of the Allies’ mission.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #5 on: October 24, 2014, 09:59:51 PM »
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  • When I watched this as a kid, it never dawned on me to question what a relocation center was.  It may have been mentioned in school, but I honestly don't remember it.  I just naturally assumed the following: police blockade + Japanese escapees + checking all cars = they were looking for prisoners.  And in my mind, that was backed up later by seeing them in jumpsuits.  It also never occurred to me that they died at the end -- (1) in other shorts they depicted the dead as going to or already in heaven/hell or as a ghost and (2) the bit with pulling away a prop from a person and said person still standing until being hit with the prop or blowing on them so they fall over.  Now that I'm older (and hopefully a little less naïve), I'm watching this from a different perspective.

    To tie in with a censorship theory I brought up in I Can Hardly Wait, I found this on Wikipedia while reading more about the historical aspect of this short:
    The OWI Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP) was established in collaboration with Hollywood to produce films that advanced American war aims. According to Elmer Davis, “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized”.  Successful films depicted the Allied armed forces as valiant “Freedom fighters,” and advocated for civilian participation, such as conserving fuel or donating food to troops.

    By July 1942, OWI administrators realized that the best way to reach American audiences was to present war films in conjunction with feature films. OWI’s presence in Hollywood deepened throughout the war, and by 1943, every studio, except for Paramount, allowed OWI to examine all movie scripts.  OWI evaluated whether each film would promote the honor of the Allies’ mission.

    That's some great info, thank you!  I definitely know what I'll be Googling this weekend.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #6 on: October 25, 2014, 04:21:15 AM »
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  • I honestly do not know what to say about this one... So many things about this short are good, but at the same time it's clearly racist, but I must ask one question for the person who mentioned that there were no funny sounds when the Japanese escapees get blown to smithereens...

    Didn't we we just have THEY STOOGE TO CONGA where there are no funny sounds, yet their opponents are dead?

    And don't forget the foul mouthed farmer the Stooges bought from: "B@stard!"
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #7 on: October 25, 2014, 10:03:55 AM »
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  • I honestly do not know what to say about this one... So many things about this short are good, but at the same time it's clearly racist, but I must ask one question for the person who mentioned that there were no funny sounds when the Japanese escapees get blown to smithereens...

    Didn't we we just have THEY STOOGE TO CONGA where there are no funny sounds, yet their opponents are dead?

    And don't forget the foul mouthed farmer the Stooges bought from: "B@stard!"

    The difference with THEY STOOGE TO CONGA is context.  Gestapo members being blown up versus people being driven from their homes is a big difference in sympathy.

    As for the bastard thing, I've never been completely sold that's what he says, but you're definitely not the only person to think that.


    Offline Lefty

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #8 on: October 25, 2014, 10:57:38 AM »
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  • Before the DVD came out, the last time I had seen this short was in the early 1970s, because the TV stations were too PC/afraid too show it.  I'm not even sure it was complete and uncut when it was on TV -- not from the "Japanese" individuals missing, but the "Poppa Gander" part.  Regardless of whether the Nips were from relocation centers or soldiers who swam across the Pacific, the short was still loaded with laughs.

    I am still not sure if Emmett Lynn yelled out the English version of Phillies' pitcher #59 Antonio's last name, or whether Curly said "Pussy" or "Horsie" in the barn.

    And as far as censoring things go, that all came crashing down on a Roller Games episode in the 1971-72 season when John "Gooch" Gautieri said to Judy Arnold in a halftime interview segment, "You f***in' broad."  The replay the following weekend did bleep it out.  Too bad I didn't have my tape recorder handy for the first showing.   >:D

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #9 on: October 26, 2014, 01:33:31 PM »
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  • Sepaerating the content and discussing the body of work:

    This is an OK short, just OK.  I like the water on the knee,  "not a single cow"-"not even a married one" ... and my favorite - 'our life is in danger and you're riddling me'

    Overall they have had many, many better and only a few worse - to this point... that could change.

    I will give this short a 7.
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    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #10 on: October 26, 2014, 02:01:34 PM »
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  • The difference with THEY STOOGE TO CONGA is context.  Gestapo members being blown up versus people being driven from their homes is a big difference in sympathy.

    Valid point indeed.  I think the use of Japanese escapees from a concentration camp was in poor taste because if this plot was approached with the Japanese escapees being replaced with prison escapees, it would be much better, especially since the Japanese in this short attack the Stooges unprovoked (which is just plain Poppa Gander), whereas as escaped criminals would likely attack the Stooges.

    As for the bastard thing, I've never been completely sold that's what he says, but you're definitely not the only person to think that.

    I have listened and, more importantly, read the guy's lips.  He drops the bomb there.
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #11 on: October 27, 2014, 11:08:28 AM »
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  • It has never occurred to me that the Asians are dead, and my guess is that they were not meant to be.  People faint, pass out, get K O'ed, blown through brick walls, etc, etc, ad infinitum in these shorts, and with the exception of angel shots, I don't think it is meant for us to assume they're dead.  Any of them.  That would violate every rule of slapstick comedy, indeed Rule Number One of almost all comedies from Homer on, which is, in short, everybody survives. ( And, let's face it, even with wings on, they're still the same old stooges, still alive. )  This is new territory for me, having never before today having even considered the possibility, but if the stooges had killed all of the Axis Powers as shown in all those episodes, rather than just knocked them out, their kill ratio would be higher than Audie Murphy's, which I absolutely don't think was the intention in any of these wartime films. Humiliation, yes, death, no.  I think it's important to remember that even the Asian-Americans appearing here were actors in a slapstick movie, and knew what they were doing, which was earning a paycheck by acting silly in a movie.  The same as every other actor in this short.  The alternative is way way too dark, like watching a Punch-and-Judy show and thinking " look at those two poor legless malformed dwarves beating the Hell out of each other for pennies."
         Metaldams, when you said you didn't like Monte Collins as Ma Stooge in Cactus Makes Perfect, you described as your preferred mother someone more like this edition, someone more human and cuddly.  Well, O K, but in this one, to get some comedic tension here, their Father has to be P O'ed.  He's good, too, he gets angrier and angrier all through the scene, and apparently keeps a basket of tomatoes stashed behind the couch for ammo, so quickly do they appear.  That's my favorite gag in the whole short.  Quite a tumor on Pa's face, too...do you think Scarlett Johannsen would get any decent parts with a whopper like that?

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #12 on: October 27, 2014, 10:58:58 PM »
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  •      Metaldams, when you said you didn't like Monte Collins as Ma Stooge in Cactus Makes Perfect, you described as your preferred mother someone more like this edition, someone more human and cuddly.  Well, O K, but in this one, to get some comedic tension here, their Father has to be P O'ed.  He's good, too, he gets angrier and angrier all through the scene, and apparently keeps a basket of tomatoes stashed behind the couch for ammo, so quickly do they appear.  That's my favorite gag in the whole short.  Quite a tumor on Pa's face, too...do you think Scarlett Johannsen would get any decent parts with a whopper like that?

    Looking back, I think part of my diatribe is really because I've never been a big Monte Collins fan!

    But yeah, in general I agree.  There are exceptions, like Bud Jamison's Pierre in WHOOPS, I'M AN INDIAN; but overall, I prefer the boys playing off straighter characters.  The mother in this short is a better example than Monte Collins, even though she gets a little ham fisted with her disturbing army fantasies, but that's OK.  A quirk is OK, but being crazy the entire time against the boys usually doesn't work unless the if the actor can really carry it.  It's hard to do, but not impossible.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #13 on: October 28, 2014, 04:05:55 AM »
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  • The beginning of the short starts out fine, but when it gets to the Japanese relocation part I cringe. I consider that era a black eye in the history of America. (Like everyone else here.) This is the short where I think something isn't right with Curly. Whether it's age or health issues I'm not sure but there is definitely something different about him. I think Emmett Lynn does mumble the word bastard and it slipped past the censors.
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    Offline vomit

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #14 on: October 29, 2014, 01:14:34 PM »
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  • I honestly do not know what to say about this one... So many things about this short are good, but at the same time it's clearly racist, but I must ask one question for the person who mentioned that there were no funny sounds when the Japanese escapees get blown to smithereens...

    Didn't we we just have THEY STOOGE TO CONGA where there are no funny sounds, yet their opponents are dead?

    And don't forget the foul mouthed farmer the Stooges bought from: "B@stard!"

    I just watched it, and it certainly sounded like he cursed.....
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    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #15 on: February 24, 2015, 01:32:03 PM »
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  • I'm not too crazy about this one. There are a few moments of laughter, especially the opening scene with the stooges and their parents. But other than that, this is not a particularly good episode. The stooges work on a farm and get invaded by some japs who escape from a relocation center. I guess during the WW2 days, this might have peaked a lot of people's interest, but unfortunately, it does nothing for me.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why this particular episode causes more controversy than some of the other WW2 episodes. YOU NAZTY SPY and I'll NEVER HEIL AGAIN poke fun at Hitler and in NO DOUGH BOYS, we have the stooges poking fun at Japanese by pretending to act and talk like them. So, why aren't those three episodes blacklisted?? Why only this one?

    Anywho.... not a terrible short, but not all that great either.

    7/10

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #16 on: February 24, 2015, 01:44:08 PM »
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  • For the life of me, I can't figure out why this particular episode causes more controversy than some of the other WW2 episodes. YOU NAZTY SPY and I'll NEVER HEIL AGAIN poke fun at Hitler and in NO DOUGH BOYS, we have the stooges poking fun at Japanese by pretending to act and talk like them. So, why aren't those three episodes blacklisted?? Why only this one?


    If you're aware of American history & what many Japanese-American citizens went through with the relocation camps during World War 2, then the blacklisting of this short should be self-explanatory....


    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: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 02:33:42 PM »
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  • I'm not too crazy about this one. There are a few moments of laughter, especially the opening scene with the stooges and their parents. But other than that, this is not a particularly good episode. The stooges work on a farm and get invaded by some japs who escape from a relocation center. I guess during the WW2 days, this might have peaked a lot of people's interest, but unfortunately, it does nothing for me.  For the life of me, I can't figure out why this particular episode causes more controversy than some of the other WW2 episodes. YOU NAZTY SPY and I'll NEVER HEIL AGAIN poke fun at Hitler and in NO DOUGH BOYS, we have the stooges poking fun at Japanese by pretending to act and talk like them. So, why aren't those three episodes blacklisted?? Why only this one?

    Anywho.... not a terrible short, but not all that great either.

    7/10

    What Shemp_Diesel said.  I'll just add if the words "relocation center" don't send a chill down your spine, you view the world differently than I do.  To me, that is way more offensive than slanty eye jokes.

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #18 on: October 03, 2015, 10:57:37 AM »
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  • I watched this episode again this week, and last time I said that I wasn't sure if Curly said "Pussy" or "Horsie."  This time it sounded like he said "Bossy" twice, but the closed-captioning text did show "Pussy" twice.  The writer(s) should have just included cats, horses, and cows to solve the problem.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #19 on: October 05, 2015, 12:40:53 PM »
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  • I'm pretty sure he's saying " hossy ".

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #20 on: October 14, 2015, 06:57:52 PM »
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  • I watched this episode again this week, and last time I said that I wasn't sure if Curly said "Pussy" or "Horsie."  This time it sounded like he said "Bossy" twice, but the closed-captioning text did show "Pussy" twice.  The writer(s) should have just included cats, horses, and cows to solve the problem.

    I am fairly certain that wouldn't have flown, assuming that term had that has a definition back then...
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    Offline shemps#1

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #21 on: February 16, 2016, 11:45:28 PM »
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  • I'm watching volume 4 of the Collection, and I tried really hard to like this one or seperate the good from the bad but it's impossible. This short shines a spotlight on an American atrocity which makes it clear that people from the era knew what was happening. My least favorite Curly short that slugs it out with Half-Wits Holiday and the horse shorts for hardest to watch. It's just like a German comedy team making a film about concentration camp Jews escaping and being dealt some slapstick hilarity. Boo and hiss. 0/10

    As an aside I think volume 4 as a whole takes a noticeable dip in quality from the previous volumes.
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    Offline Woe-ee-Woe-Woe80

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #22 on: December 14, 2017, 07:29:01 PM »
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  • I've thought this was a really good Stooge film, I did enjoy the outside scenery of the boys trying to enter their barn and them being in the back of the barn, I also thought Robert & Eva McKenzie gave good performances as the stooges' parents, my favorite scenes in this short is Moe's "5 delicious flavors" line, the ostrich eating the gunpowder, the stooges arriving at their battered farm, Curly accidentally hitting Moe with a handboard and then a loose board and the Japs putting the pumpkins on their heads.

    While Curly wasn't exactly ill but this is one of the early shorts where he appears to be losing a little bit of energy.

    I give this short a 8/10

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #23 on: December 14, 2017, 08:25:16 PM »
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  • It's his voice, I think.  In this one and Idiot's Deluxe, his voice starts to change, incrementally and not uncomfortably, as later, and only if you're listening for it.  I still wonder whether the voice change at this stage had anything to do with illness, or whether it was just that after maintaining his comedy voice all these years he found that due to its high pitch it was getting harder to sustain.  Obviously, when he got sicker, he had real trouble sustaining the original Curly voice.  He seems spry enough physically, I don't notice any diminution of physicality here.

    Offline Tony Bensley

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    Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
    « Reply #24 on: December 15, 2017, 01:08:02 AM »
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  • I'm watching volume 4 of the Collection, and I tried really hard to like this one or seperate the good from the bad but it's impossible. This short shines a spotlight on an American atrocity which makes it clear that people from the era knew what was happening. My least favorite Curly short that slugs it out with Half-Wits Holiday and the horse shorts for hardest to watch. It's just like a German comedy team making a film about concentration camp Jews escaping and being dealt some slapstick hilarity. Boo and hiss. 0/10

    As an aside I think volume 4 as a whole takes a noticeable dip in quality from the previous volumes.
    Not only did people from that era know about the Japanese internments, the U.S. War Department produced films at the time that justified their existence, a number of which are currently viewable on YouTube.  One of these, JAPANESE RELOCATION (Narrated by Milton Eisenhower, Dwight's younger brother!) ends to the effect that the exceptional treatment of the Japanese prisoners should set an example for the German camps housing Jews, and hopefully, influence the German treatment of whatever Americans become prisoners in their camps!  In short, it is extremely cringe worthy stuff that nevertheless explains how wartime viewers could conceivably laugh unabashedly at the goings off of THE YOKE'S ON ME without batting an eye!

    Also, as an answer to metaladams regarding Italians and Germans, some of them did face internment as well, if they were deemed as undesirables or too unpatriotic.  Being non conversant in English and speaking positively of Hitler and/or Mussolini were definitely considered major red flags within these ethnic groups.  Family stories have also been passed down to me about how the German side of our ancestry wasn't broadcast during the Second World War, as Canada also had internment camps that were set up in the name of National Security.