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Offline metaldams

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Micro-Phonies (1945)
« on: December 19, 2014, 02:39:50 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/87
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037911/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1



          Since late 1939, with the exception of two shorts, all the Stooge shorts have been directed by either Jules White or Del Lord.  Del Lord has gone into a semi hiatus with shorts, going on to direct features and coming back for the occasional Columbia short before retiring in the early 50's.  We'll see him one more time in 1948.  Other than that one short, every short until 1952 will either be directed by Jules White or newcomer Edward Bernds.  I'm a big fan of Bernds and feel overall, his Shemp shorts were superior to those of Jules White.  He also made it a point to avoid the eye poke in his films, not wanting children to repeat it, so there's a trademark we'll see less of in the future.

          Even though this is the third Stooge short Bernds actually directed, it is the first to be released, as Bernds asked for MICRO-PHONIES to be his first impression upon the public as opposed to A BIRD IN THE HEAD and THE THREE TROUBLEDOERS.  As touched upon last week, we are now in the era where Curly is not physically well and it really effects his performance.  MICRO-PHONIES is the rare film of this era where Curly's performance is close to his old self, and the short itself is a true classic, so it's understandable why Bernds wanted its release rushed.

           Curly himself is wonderful, not really having to do too much running around and high pitched screaming, but instead gets to do pantomime in those wonderful lip synching bits.  His facial expressions are absolutely hilarious, especially when he hits those high notes and gets a little crossed eyed.  I also love it when Moe and Larry join in on the fun in "Sextette From Lucia."  Unbelievably funny stuff. Physical humor like that is hard to write about, it's just funny because it is, know what I'm saying?

          I also love Moe's "Gritto" radio announcement bit.  Again, some really funny looks on his face as he's delivering his monologue.  Moe is usually the grouchy hard ass, thank God, but occasionally he can do light hearted and be really funny, and this is a great example.

          Of course, the supporting cast is top notch in this one.  Christine McIntyre turns in one of her signature roles, showing off that wonderful singing voice of hers.  Such a pleasure watching her in anything she's in.  Then there's Symona Boniface, playing the perfect high society lady.  Look, we get to watch the two greatest Stooge ladies doing what they do best and a later Curly turning in a great performance.  The stars were aligned when this one was filmed.

          Oh yes, then there's Gino Corrado, turning in what is probably his most remembered performance as the high tempered musician who gets his violin smashed and fruit shot in his mouth.  This was obviously a talented man, who appeared in films such as CASABLANCA, CITIZEN KANE, INTOLERANCE, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, MARK OF ZORRO, and other all time classics, yet he's most remembered for MICRO-PHONIES. He did nothing of note in those classic films other than appear in them.  One great thing about Stooge shorts is that it sometimes gives the underdog a chance to shine, and this is the best example of all.

          One of the last great Curly shorts, and one I can't foresee getting too much criticism.

    10/10

    PS:  Check out the poster pictured above.  Who can spot the mistake?

    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #1 on: December 19, 2014, 03:43:15 PM »
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  • PS:  Check out the poster pictured above.  Who can spot the mistake?

    Written and Directed by Harry Edwards????

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 03:59:35 PM »
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  • Yeah, I spotted the "Harry Edwards" thing as well. As for "Phonies", yes I can totally understand why Edward Bernds wanted this one released ahead of the 2 duds, A Bird in the Head and Troubledoers.


    According to Bernds himself, this short was one of those rare occasions where Curly was his old self, or close to being the Curly of old. All three stooges perform well in this one and this is--without much argument--Christine McIntyre's all-time shining moment during the Curly era.

    There's not much to find fault with this one. I would say, so far the sick Curly era hasn't started off that bad--but things will take a definite turn next week.

    Overall, I rate it a 9 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 ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #3 on: December 19, 2014, 04:31:24 PM »
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  • Chi mi Frena in tal Momento...

    The song is so very rearranged and tightened up in this film. I only hear 3 distinct voices (appropriate for the Stooges) in a song composed for 6.

    Sad that we know what's coming. Had he not had the big stroke, how long d'you think he could've gone on? 5, maybe 10 years? Less? The act certainly was mellowing a bit to match his energy level. Even the theme song slowed and plodded just a bit closing out this era.

     
    A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?

    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #4 on: December 19, 2014, 04:46:35 PM »
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  • Amazing how great this episode is considering the poor performance from Curly in the previous episode. Curly's poor health shows, but he still carries through very well and gets the job done. This is a rather unique episode. It's one of the few episodes that relies on very little slapstick in order to humor the audience. I literally have shown to this episode to non-stooges fans and stooge haters and they enjoyed it very much.

    Curly does a great job mouthing McIntyre's opera voice. That singer with the broken glasses (I don't think his name was ever mentioned) is hilarious. I always enjoy the cherry throwing bit. And the best part is when the singer figures out the stooges' scheme and unplugs the phonograph. Hilarious! And a great ending too.

    One of my all-time favorites..... 10/10

    One thing I always puzzles me tho.... At the end when Mrs. Bixby says "as for these imposters..." and then turns around, the stooges are going "oh oh oh" in pain and come up from under the piano. Why are they in pain? Are people kicking them?? Looks to me like bad editing....

    Offline ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #5 on: December 19, 2014, 05:10:12 PM »
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  • the stooges are going "oh oh oh" in pain and come up from under the piano. Why are they in pain? Are people kicking them?? Looks to me like bad editing....

    Looks like someone gave them a royal shove, or a boot to the posterior!
    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: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #6 on: December 19, 2014, 05:17:32 PM »
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  • Yeah, I spotted the "Harry Edwards" thing as well. As for "Phonies", yes I can totally understand why Edward Bernds wanted this one released ahead of the 2 duds, A Bird in the Head and Troubledoers.


    According to Bernds himself, this short was one of those rare occasions where Curly was his old self, or close to being the Curly of old. All three stooges perform well in this one and this is--without much argument--Christine McIntyre's all-time shining moment during the Curly era.

    There's not much to find fault with this one. I would say, so far the sick Curly era hasn't started off that bad--but things will take a definite turn next week.

    Overall, I rate it a 9 out of 10...

    I know this is not the standard answer, but to me, flirtatious and fake damsel in distress Christine in a THREE PESTS IN A MESS is equally as great as she is here.  The former she is funny and sexy in that not the kind of girl you want to take home to Mom way, while here she is classy, glamorous, beautiful, and musically talented.  Both roles combined show her diversity.

    As for next week's short, should be a fun one to discuss.

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #7 on: December 19, 2014, 05:25:02 PM »
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  • The 2 Hearts scene from Pests in a Mess is a great one & now that I think about it, I believe it's Christine's only time during the Curly era where she was the "Villainess" so to speak. It seems like there's more devilish Christine during the Shemp era (that last mint was it)....


     :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 Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #8 on: December 19, 2014, 11:25:41 PM »
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  • Fred Kelsey is great in this group of shorts, too.  He goes from strength to strength:  from the detective in If a Body to the boss here to Smilin' Sam McGann he gets funnier and funnier.
         And speaking of Gino Corrado's versatility, check out the scene in Buster Keaton's Pest From The West where Gino morphs into Cy Schindell.  Now, THAT'S versatility.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #9 on: December 20, 2014, 07:49:47 AM »
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  •      And speaking of Gino Corrado's versatility, check out the scene in Buster Keaton's Pest From The West where Gino morphs into Cy Schindell.  Now, THAT'S versatility.

    Big Chief, I know the film, but I'm drawing a blank as to exactly what part you're talking about.  Gino is great in that short, by the way.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #10 on: December 20, 2014, 08:05:12 AM »
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  • ....oh yes, and correct to Larrys#1 and Shemp_Diesel concerning the Harry Edwards poster gaffe.  Unbelievable that got out there.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #11 on: December 20, 2014, 08:40:14 AM »
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  • Signor Spumoni (not the poster on this site but the one in the short) is one of my favorite Stooge heavies. He is a personification of the sin of wrath. He reacts to the intrusion of the Stooges with a loss of self-control that is immediate and complete. In an instant he bursts into flames of rage that burn through the rest of the short, though eventually he regains sufficient composure to resort to plotting rather than simply lashing out. How emotionally incontinent would a musician have to be to use his violin to bash someone over the head? But so consumed with anger is Signor Spumoni that he says to the victim (Moe), "You break-a my violin!"

          Oh yes, then there's Gino Corrado, turning in what is probably his most remembered performance as the high tempered musician who gets his violin smashed and fruit shot in his mouth.  This was obviously a talented man, who appeared in films such as CASABLANCA, CITIZEN KANE, INTOLERANCE, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, MARK OF ZORRO, and other all time classics, yet he's most remembered for MICRO-PHONIES. He did nothing of note in those classic films other than appear in them.  One great thing about Stooge shorts is that it sometimes gives the underdog a chance to shine, and this is the best example of all.

    Until I looked up the pertinent pages on this site, I thought the guy who played Spumoni was the same guy who had appeared as ze landlord in Wee, Wee Monsieur; but that, I discover, was Harry Semels—an entirely different portly, balding, irascible Stooge nemesis!

    Too bad that Moe didn't have one of those round-the-corner-flying pineapples at his disposal for dealing with this particular singing nuisance, such as he used against Signor Cantino in Pardon My Scotch ("What you try to make for me, a fruit salad?").

    Miss Van Doren must have made more than one disc of her recording of "Voices of Spring," because the record will reappear in the studio of Maestro Shemp in Brideless Groom—as will Christine McIntyre, in the guise of the dangerous "Miss Hopkins."  >:D

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #12 on: December 20, 2014, 09:00:02 AM »
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  • The sin of wrath....yes, I love it!  Not the sin, but the description.  Great character study, Hugo.  As far as emotionally discontent musicians, I've seen Ritchie Blackmore jam his guitar into the eye of a camera a cameraman was using to film the concert.  Then again, Blackmore's rich and has plenty of guitars for replacement.  Signor Spumoni I think only has one violin, and lacks instant access to an eye doctor, so let's assume he has no money.  If my glasses were destroyed, I'd be at an eye doctor, first thing.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #13 on: December 20, 2014, 10:06:21 AM »
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  • Gino is running and takes a fall, over a guitar I think, but there's a cut, quite a smooth one, and it's actually Cy who takes the fall.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #14 on: December 20, 2014, 10:21:46 AM »
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  • This short is actually quite pleasant and obviously written with a slower Curly in mind, which lends to its greatness.  This is definitely the best of the sick Curly's, and a 9/10 in my book.

    Symona Boniface and Christine McIntyre combine to lend their own talents to this classic, with Symona being the easily deceived victim of the Stooges.  Who would ever believe a woman would be so homely?

    Fred Kelsey excels at being the permanently ticked-off boss.  And Signor Spumoni is a holler and a hoot. 

    The plot is interesting in this short, and the Stooges get to play a somewhat smarter role than usual, and although the boys switch from trying to make a quick $500 to wanting to help Christine, their plan backfires.

    I myself use Gritto to wash the dishes, but I don't spelled Gritto, or any other word, sideways as "Ott-tir-guh-guh!"
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #15 on: December 20, 2014, 10:53:39 AM »
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  • May I jump in and, again without trying to be a know-it-all, point out to some of you who are way too young to know that the Gritto-spelled-sideways reference is a joke about an actual product from back then called Serutan, a laxative whose slogan was "Serutan spelled backward is Nature's".  It was still around and fairly heavily advertised even in the '60's, so if that was the era in which, like me, you first discovered the Stooges, the joke was obvious, though it's in the trashheap of history by now.

    Offline vomit

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #16 on: December 20, 2014, 12:48:05 PM »
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  • Moe's line: "Let's give him a salvo!" ALWAYS cracks me up.  This is a good 'un!
    Specto Caelum!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #17 on: December 20, 2014, 06:19:18 PM »
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  • Gino is running and takes a fall, over a guitar I think, but there's a cut, quite a smooth one, and it's actually Cy who takes the fall.

    Thanks for the tip, and let's be thankful for the wonders of the pause/break button.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #18 on: December 20, 2014, 06:21:22 PM »
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  • May I jump in and, again without trying to be a know-it-all, point out to some of you who are way too young to know that the Gritto-spelled-sideways reference is a joke about an actual product from back then called Serutan, a laxative who's slogan was "Serutan spelled backward is Nature's".  It was still around and fairly heavily advertised even in the '60's, so if that was the era in which, like me, you first discovered the Stooges, the joke was obvious, though it's in the trashheap of history by now.

    I actually did not know that, so thank you.  Knowing the reference or not, it's just funny the way Moe says it.  I have a feeling there's a lot of references in these films you and I will never know, they're just so of their time, but nice catch there.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #19 on: December 20, 2014, 11:16:48 PM »
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  • Moe's delivery is indeed funny as a lampoon of any smarmy radio announcer ( and if you listen to any old-time-radio announcers, you will hear how smarmy they were ) even if you don't get the 70-year old reference.  With your indulgence, since I am decades older than many of you ( with the exception of JazzBill, whom I believe I am close to in age, at least culturally ) I'll continue to point out some jokes and allusions which strike me as being impenetrable to anyone born after, say, 1970.  Please tell me to stop if I'm being a pain, because I don't want to come across as pedantic, but I think that some of the references, for example the Lifebuoy Soap BEEEEEeeeeOOOOooo, if you know the  original, are still funny.
        And, Metal, did you check out the Buster flick where Gino morphs into Cy? See if I'm awake.

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #20 on: December 21, 2014, 12:49:47 AM »
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  • A solid eight mainly because of the great character acting.  Not much else to say in my opinion. I did not think it was hilarious Or even funny but it was entertaining.
    Niagara Falls

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #21 on: December 21, 2014, 08:39:10 AM »
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  •     And, Metal, did you check out the Buster flick where Gino morphs into Cy? See if I'm awake.

          It's at 14:04 into the short, and you're correct, there's no doubt it's Cy!  Good eye.  Did you go out of your way to pause this and look or did you catch this watching the film.  Spotting doubles has never been my specialty.

          Also check out 14:50, that's Cy taking a dive in the water for Gino.  The jump before just before, thankfully, is really Buster.

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #22 on: December 21, 2014, 10:57:17 AM »
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  • This is probably a classical music lover's favorite short, with "Sextet from Lucia," "Voices of Spring," and "Vieni Sul Mar" (Come to the Sea).  Regardless of Curly's health, there are "a lot of many" funny moments in the show.  Fred Kelsey is at his aggravating best, Gino Corrado, a native Italian, with an Italian accent (what are the odds), getting the "wrath of grapes," etc.  And I never understood why the Stooges were yelling and running out from under the piano before being pelted with records (like actual records could be thrown like that).

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #23 on: December 22, 2014, 12:06:28 AM »
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  • Yes, Buster always did his own stunts even into extreme old age, I think his last stunt was in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to The Forum ( 1965, I think ),where he runs headlong into a tree limb. It's funny as a bastard, and I'm 99 per cent sure it's him, not a double.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Micro-Phonies (1945)
    « Reply #24 on: December 22, 2014, 12:34:01 AM »
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  • And I just checked it out again, it's at the very end of the bulkhead sequence that Gino morphs into Cy. Not only that, but the yell as he falls down the stairs is definitely Curly.  This is one versatile actor.