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Author Topic: Uncivil War Birds (1946)  (Read 5425 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Uncivil War Birds (1946)
« on: January 09, 2015, 09:36:42 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/90
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039062/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VJdcHcUGoyE

    View complete short in the link above



          Ah, nothing like talking about a short with a couple of 800 lb. gorillas in the room.  Let's get the basics out of the way first.  Yes, this is a later Curly short, but I think Curly is better here than he is in any other later Jules White directed short.  His performance, while of course not prime Curly, is more than passable and he even shows some good physicality in his fake death scene. 

           The short itself is good but not great. I feel the same way about the Buster Keaton Columbia short, MOOCHING THROUGH GEORGIA (1940), which had the same Clyde Bruckman Civil War based story as this one.  Reading the link above from the threestooges.net page on this short, there's mention of an Abbott and Costello show episode using this same story as well.  Makes perfect sense since Clyde Bruckman worked on that series and I vaguely remember seeing that episode.  It's been years, I'll have to pull out my copy and give it another look and see how it compares to the Stooge and Keaton version.  Either way, the reason why I can't call this short or the Keaton version a classic is because the script has some heartbreak in it that doesn't quite work in a comedy.  Pathos and comedy do go together when done right, but brothers having to prevent themselves from killing each other in a war?  Very heartbreaking, as brothers really did have to kill each other.  Look, the 800 lb. Gorillas will be mentioned soon, but I want to point out brother killing brother destroys the gorillas on the offense o meter.
       
          Still, there are a few funny parts.  Cy Schindell's delivery and reaction when he wants the corpse of Curly to speak to him is well done.  I always wish Cy was given bigger roles, he is always funny with what is given.  Curly's previously mentioned fake death scene is great and Moe poking Curly in the eye when he realizes there's no glass in the window is hysterical.  It's like he decides to poke Curly in the eye simply because he can, as if it's just a normal part of their relationship.  In a Stooge world, that's a funny thing. 

          OK, now to the juicy stuff.  If I don't mention it, someone else will, so I may as well play the bad guy.  If you don't like R rated stuff, don't read this paragraph.  Can anybody tell me a more bizarre image in Stooge history than Moe Howard, sporting a blackface appearance and speaking in a southern accent, saying the line, "Y'all just ejaculated a mouthful?"  I have no clue how 1946 audiences took that line, and frankly I don't care.  My depraved generation X mind states Moe just said something nasty, and there's no way I am going to be convinced otherwise.  Yes, I know the line can be interpreted as "said a lot," but seriously, who uses that terminology to make such a point?  What Moe said means one thing and one thing only to me.  They had to be laughing or guffawing in between takes.

           Now for the blackface stuff.  Look, I've seen way more old movies than 99.9% of people my age and have seen my share of blackface, so perhaps I'm desensitized to it more than most people my age.  Plot wise, it makes sense.  The Stooges were trying not to look like soldiers and trying to disguise themselves.  They're in the old South, slavery exists, so they dress up as slaves since it's believable slaves would be in the area.  There was also a minstrel tradition the country was used to that for better or worse, was considered mainstream entertainment at the time.  The main point is, I don't think The Three Stooges were racists, I don't think they meant any harm, and I just view this as a sign of a bygone era.  Gorillas discussed, come whatever may.

    7/10

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 09:49:59 PM »
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  • I used to have a real low opinion of this short--but watching it again recently, I would say it's passable at best. Not anything that comes close to being on Disorder in the Court level funny--but for this time period, pretty decent. Certainly, we've seen worse from the stooges in the last few weeks.

    As for some of the other things people will touch on--the blackface routine... hmmm, I'm not sure what to say about it. I know the discussion has come up in the past about the portrayal of African Americans in stooge films and how offensive it may or may not be. Personally, I'm not bothered in the slightest by Dudley Dickerson or a Sam McDaniel and how they acted in their roles--I know of people who are, but I've always said that I've seen worse--the guy who plays Goobie in The Mummy's Curse is the first thing that always pops into my head.

    As for the blackface itself, I just wish the stooges would have steered clear of it. To me it takes them down a path I would rather not see them go & I don't know if I should draw parallels between the two--but for me it harkens back to the Japanese citizens from The Yokes On Me. Maybe it's not a fair comparison, but it's the only one I can think of at the moment.

    Another drawback of this short for me was the idea of the stooges constantly running from either army. After awhile, the idea just got old for me & I was really wanting to see the boys move on & do something else.

    Some highpoints--as Metal mentioned, Moe's "no glass" then poking Curly in the eyes. And "What an army!"

    Overall, I think I would give this one a 6 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 Paul Pain

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 05:18:30 AM »
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  • This is actually not that bad of a short.  The supporting cast does a fantastic job, as do the Stooges in a short that somewhat hides Curly's illness.

    However, a few points lost for the whole Moe/Larry vs. Curly.  While it created for some funny moments, it just is kind of creepy.

    As for the use of coarse language, I shan't complain because as a 21-year old college student, I am exposed to much worse daily, although I would never say, "Ejaculated a mouthful," because of what that insinuates...

    The blackface?  Not offensive.  It's an escape mechanism, and they weren't insulting black people in the least.  People hate on GONE WITH THE WIND because it accurately portrays black people too.  Here, the Stooges simply try to act like the house servants to get by unnoticed.
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 07:15:25 AM »
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  • This is actually not that bad of a short.  The supporting cast does a fantastic job, as do the Stooges in a short that somewhat hides Curly's illness.

    However, a few points lost for the whole Moe/Larry vs. Curly.  While it created for some funny moments, it just is kind of creepy.

    As for the use of coarse language, I shan't complain because as a 21-year old college student, I am exposed to much worse daily, although I would never say, "Ejaculated a mouthful," because of what that insinuates...

    The blackface?  Not offensive.  It's an escape mechanism, and they weren't insulting black people in the least.  People hate on GONE WITH THE WIND because it accurately portrays black people too.  Here, the Stooges simply try to act like the house servants to get by unnoticed.

          First off, thank you, because I really need to see GONE WITH THE WIND again.  Secondly, though it's been a while, if memory serves correct, there was an intelligent, strong black character (I want to say Hattie McDaniel) and a weak willed, over emotional black character (Butterfly McQueen), so it's not like all black people were portrayed the same in that movie.  Therein lies the accuracy, as not all black people are the same, as it is for any other race.  We are individuals.  PS: If I get the actors wrong linked to the parts, forgive me, I said it's been a while, but my main point stays the same.

          I just don't take the blackface as that offensive in UNCIVIL WAR BIRDS when taking in the time and context of the film.  If done today, there would have to be a very good reason, but back then, I really take the times into consideration.  I have a feeling here most people will be sympathetic to that idea, but Paul, you're in college.  I almost guarantee if you show this in one of your film classes, the P.C. police would be out in full force.

          I also agree Moe/Larry vs. Curly relationship, while maybe creepy isn't the word I would use, is very sad, and I still maintain is the most disturbing aspect of this short.  The idea of brothers having to protect themselves from killing each other in a war is beyond awful.

          Oh, and Paul, I'm 36, and I too hear worse than the word "ejaculation" on a daily basis. My brother and I come with a warning when friends introduce us to girls, even though I'm trying to tone it down in my relatively older age.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 08:11:53 AM »
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  •       First off, thank you, because I really need to see GONE WITH THE WIND again.  Secondly, though it's been a while, if memory serves correct, there was an intelligent, strong black character (I want to say Hattie McDaniel) and a weak willed, over emotional black character (Butterfly McQueen), so it's not like all black people were portrayed the same in that movie.  Therein lies the accuracy, as not all black people are the same, as it is for any other race.  We are individuals.  PS: If I get the actors wrong linked to the parts, forgive me, I said it's been a while, but my main point stays the same.

          I just don't take the blackface as that offensive in UNCIVIL WAR BIRDS when taking in the time and context of the film.  If done today, there would have to be a very good reason, but back then, I really take the times into consideration.  I have a feeling here most people will be sympathetic to that idea, but Paul, you're in college.  I almost guarantee if you show this in one of your film classes, the P.C. police would be out in full force.

          I also agree Moe/Larry vs. Curly relationship, while maybe creepy isn't the word I would use, is very sad, and I still maintain is the most disturbing aspect of this short.  The idea of brothers having to protect themselves from killing each other in a war is beyond awful.

          Oh, and Paul, I'm 36, and I too hear worse than the word "ejaculation" on a daily basis. My brother and I come with a warning when friends introduce us to girls, even though I'm trying to tone it down in my relatively older age.

    Even if the short was made nowadays, I think the same would apply, although the P.C. police would still have a field day because we are speaking of an escape mechanism.  People accept the James Bond films no problem, and the racial, ethnic, and gender portrayals pretty much conclude that all non-whites are inferior, all none English/Aussie/American people are inferior, and all women are sex toys.  Hence why the push to get the next 007 to be black, to shed that image.

    I have never taken a film class... ever... I'm studying meteorology  [pie]  For a 36 year old, you're as analytical as a 90-year old great-grandfather (you know, the type that sits in front of the general store telling stories with a memory sharp as ever), but you have the fun personality of a person my age.

    The struggle in this short, unfortunately, was real.  And the Union and Confederate camps were as ruthless and quick to kill as seen in this short.  It is definitely a more accurate portrayal of 1860s America than UNCIVIL WARRIORS.  Of course we still have dumbcruds in Washington overtaxing the middle and lower classes even 155 years later!
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #5 on: January 10, 2015, 09:22:45 AM »
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  • Even if the short was made nowadays, I think the same would apply, although the P.C. police would still have a field day because we are speaking of an escape mechanism.  People accept the James Bond films no problem, and the racial, ethnic, and gender portrayals pretty much conclude that all non-whites are inferior, all none English/Aussie/American people are inferior, and all women are sex toys.  Hence why the push to get the next 007 to be black, to shed that image.

    I have never taken a film class... ever... I'm studying meteorology  [pie]  For a 36 year old, you're as analytical as a 90-year old great-grandfather (you know, the type that sits in front of the general store telling stories with a memory sharp as ever), but you have the fun personality of a person my age.

    The struggle in this short, unfortunately, was real.  And the Union and Confederate camps were as ruthless and quick to kill as seen in this short.  It is definitely a more accurate portrayal of 1860s America than UNCIVIL WARRIORS.  Of course we still have dumbcruds in Washington overtaxing the middle and lower classes even 155 years later!

    The analytical ability of a 90 year old and the personality of a college student, I can live by that.  I am the type who can think of something brilliant and punctuate it with a fart joke.  [pie]

    Yeah, but you're right about this being more realistic than UNCIVIL WARRIORS as far as its portrayal of the Civil War.  Of course there's way too much slapstick to be 100% realistic, but the brother vs. brother thing is there, and also another point is the Stooges hear there's a war, sign up without much thought, to the point where they even leave their pretty fiances aside, and don't even consider what side to join.  The idea of fighting a war out of mindless duty as opposed to actually fighting for something seems prevalent here. 

    Oh, and speaking of the girls in this short, two of the three (Larry and Curly's), didn't even make it to 40.  Again, so sad that so many of these co-stars die so young.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #6 on: January 10, 2015, 09:46:23 AM »
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  • And Moe seriously could have gotten away with sporting sideburns like that in reality.

    Well my humor is unlimited.  I offend all people, and will make jokes about ethnicity, gender, and even cancer if something funny comes to my mind.  And I feel qualified to do so having been taunted by classmates for my ethnicity (Italian ancestry, bub!) and having cancer (yes, I got taunted for cancer, but that's neither here nor there).  I am more politically incorrect than even Carlin.
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    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #7 on: January 10, 2015, 10:27:36 AM »
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  • I was never bothered by the "Minstrel look" the Stooges used as disguises, and the "ejaculated a mouthful" line had little meaning to me as a young'un, although later I could understand why some bodies would be upset by that.  (They ain't gettin' none.)  The short is pretty good, and the other soldiers are very funny.  Fortunately the Union Army was not like that in the real Civil War.

    "How long you think it'll take you to win?"  "Oh, about a week, Ah reckon.  It takes time to win a war!"  If only that were true in real life.

    "Of course we still have dumbcruds in Washington overtaxing the middle and lower classes even 155 years later!"  Dumb cruds?  No.  Traitors?  Oh, hell, yeah!

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #8 on: January 10, 2015, 10:57:08 AM »
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  • And Moe seriously could have gotten away with sporting sideburns like that in reality.

    Well my humor is unlimited.  I offend all people, and will make jokes about ethnicity, gender, and even cancer if something funny comes to my mind.  And I feel qualified to do so having been taunted by classmates for my ethnicity (Italian ancestry, bub!) and having cancer (yes, I got taunted for cancer, but that's neither here nor there).  I am more politically incorrect than even Carlin.

    Oh believe me, I'm the same way.  That's kind of what I was hinting at when I was saying my brother and I need a warning label.  There is no ethnicity, gender, age group, sexuality, religion, whatever, be it my own or somebody else's, that is safe from my wrath of jokes, yet in reality I don't hate anybody, and neither does my brother.  It's just our perverse way of dealing with this at times very screwed up world.  The TV show South Park has this attitude, which is why I enjoy it.

    Offline QuinceHead

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #9 on: January 11, 2015, 09:51:09 AM »
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  • I still want to know how that "Y'all done ejaculated a mouthful!" line made it past the censors...

     :o

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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #10 on: January 11, 2015, 11:37:59 AM »
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  • I still want to know how that "Y'all done ejaculated a mouthful!" line made it past the censors...

     :o

    For duty and humanity,
    JohnH aka QuinceHead

    Either the line had different meaning back then (to play Devil's advocate, the context Moe used it in basically states someone said a lot and is nothing sexual), but perhaps the censors were asleep.  One of life's mysteries we'll probably never know the answer to, but it is fun to talk about, and bizarre to watch.

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #11 on: January 11, 2015, 11:54:05 AM »
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  • Yeah, I guess it will go down as one of the unknowns--much like how the little boy in Three Loan Wolves slapping the stooges got cut before the film was released. Who knows why that decision was made, but I think that particular short is still a few weeks away...


    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 Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #12 on: January 11, 2015, 12:05:35 PM »
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  •  Uncivil War Birds is a good movie! It's one of the best late Curly shorts, by far!
     The opening scene is very great, and filled with slapstick. Yeah, there's a little thing I noticed about the slapstick in this: At some parts the slapstick is very heavy, while at some parts there's hardly any slapstick at all! People were probably concerned about Curly's health, except I thought nobody knew that Curly's health was failing until Half-Wits Holiday...
     " You fools!"
     Curly: I'm not a fool!
     " You idiots!"
     Curly: Now, that's something different!

     The part where Curly over-dramatically " dies" is hilarious!! He probably had a line right there, because Moe said when Curly forgot a line he would do something similar to exactly what he did in this part!
     I also like the ending gag where the Boys and their girls get married, and Moe says, " A toast!" and they spill it down their wives' backs, only to have the Wives do it in return to them, then start strangling the Stooges!
     This movie is interesting, as it's about the Civil War and I am a huge Abe ( or as he liked to be called) Abraham Lincoln buff. If only someone portrayed Lincoln in this movie...
     Overall, this movie is a very great one and I would probably rate it 9.5 pokes out of 10. Not the best Curly short, but it may come pretty close.
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    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #13 on: January 11, 2015, 12:12:35 PM »
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  • Uncivil War Birds is a good movie! It's one of the best late Curly shorts, by far!
     The opening scene is very great, and filled with slapstick. Yeah, there's a little thing I noticed about the slapstick in this: At some parts the slapstick is very heavy, while at some parts there's hardly any slapstick at all! People were probably concerned about Curly's health, except I thought nobody knew that Curly's health was failing until Half-Wits Holiday...

    I don't know if you've ever seen The Three Stooges Story DVD, but certainly, the cast and crew making these shorts knew that something was off with Curly. Ed Bernds himself on the Stooges story recounts the ordeals he had in making some of these pictures and how at other times, Curly would revive and be something close to his old self....

    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: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #14 on: January 11, 2015, 12:28:40 PM »
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  • I don't know if you've ever seen The Three Stooges Story DVD, but certainly, the cast and crew making these shorts knew that something was off with Curly. Ed Bernds himself on the Stooges story recounts the ordeals he had in making some of these pictures and how at other times, Curly would revive and be something close to his old self....

    Exactly, they definitely knew Curly was in ill health.  Like stated in the IF A BODY MEETS A BODY thread, Moe insisted Curly get rest and medical health at least as early as January 1945. 

    Offline Shemp_is_Awesome78

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 06:32:21 PM »
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  • I don't know if you've ever seen The Three Stooges Story DVD, but certainly, the cast and crew making these shorts knew that something was off with Curly. Ed Bernds himself on the Stooges story recounts the ordeals he had in making some of these pictures and how at other times, Curly would revive and be something close to his old self....
    Yeah, I have that movie on DVD, its just i haven't seen it in at least a year.
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    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 06:53:03 PM »
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  • I think metaldams has confused gorillas with elephants. The animal "in the room" that is so large and conspicuous that one cannot credibly feign not to notice it is an elephant. A 400-pound gorilla—now apparently having doubled its weight through verbal inflation or obesity—is the animal that figures in the joke, "Where does a ______ sit? Anywhere it wants to!"

    I don't see much reason for objection to the blackface stuff. It seems to me in any case much less offensive than the stereotype of the cowardly Negro that is used in other shorts (with Dudley Dickerson). If there's anything in this short that might put me off, it's the use of the American Civil War as a setting for Stooge comedy. But, since I'm willing to let the same premise pass for the sake of laughs in Uncivil Warriors—as I think any Stooge fan should—I cannot count it as an objection to this short, however fewer laughs it is good for.

    I can't say that it is good for many. It's not a bad short: it doesn't do anything tedious or stupid or painful to watch. It makes the best of the weak hand that was dealt to the Stooge crew by Curly's declining health. Curly even manages one of his lying-down circular runs (after he is "shot" by the captain of the firing squad), which was very sporting of the poor guy, given his condition. But there's not a lot of funny material. Meh!

    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #17 on: January 12, 2015, 03:04:26 PM »
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  • The 400-pound gorilla, on a diet:




    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #18 on: January 14, 2015, 12:32:41 PM »
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  • I don't see much reason for objection to the blackface stuff. It seems to me in any case much less offensive than the stereotype of the cowardly Negro that is used in other shorts (with Dudley Dickerson).

    I have never been offended by Dudley Dickerson/Willie Best type portrayals in and of themselves.  I view it that those men were portraying comic characters the same way The Three Stooges were and choose to remember them that way.  What is offensive is that, for the most part, those were the only kind of roles black actors and actresses played during that era, (or if they do play straight roles, it's films with all black casts).  If there were mainstream black actors and actresses playing Cary Grant and Bette Davis roles, I would like to think more people would find Dudley Dickerson types less offensive.  To me, again, it's all about context.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #19 on: January 14, 2015, 02:04:05 PM »
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  • I can't think of any black actor before Sidney Poitier who had any "mainstream" roles and that was far in the future.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #20 on: January 14, 2015, 04:49:23 PM »
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  • I can't think of any black actor before Sidney Poitier who had any "mainstream" roles and that was far in the future.

    Exactly the point, unfortunately.

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #21 on: January 26, 2015, 01:15:18 AM »
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  • I like this short. I really do. It is not hilarious. However it's a good story keeps me captivated. I thought the bit players did very well. I have no problem with the blackface.

    As was brought out above two of the three Belles died  before 40. One was married to Forest Tucker of F-Troop.

    This was John Tyrell's last Stooge short. Within four years he was dead.

    I give ye-all an 8 I reckon.
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    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: Uncivil War Birds (1946)
    « Reply #22 on: August 04, 2015, 01:13:16 PM »
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  • Here's the original: Buster Keaton's MOOCHING THROUGH GEORGIA (1939).

    "With oranges, it's much harder..."

    Offline BeAStooge

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    Re: Maury Dexter, Uncivil War Birds (1946) Costar
    « Reply #23 on: June 02, 2017, 08:44:24 AM »
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  • R.I.P. Maury Dexter, who appeared in UNCIVIL WAR BIRDS (1946) with Moe, Larry & Curly.  Maury died on May 28, two weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

    Turning to a career behind the camera, Maury was friends with Michael Landon and became Asst. Director and Director for the TV shows LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN.

    An interview with Maury appeared in The Three Stooges Journal # 136 (Winter 2010).

    Obituary -  Ventura County Star