Read Emil Sitka's diary entry on HOLD THAT LION! in the link abovehttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6PRk2PZO9Oc
Watch HOLD THAT LION! in the link above
Episode number 100 and we're still going strong! Thanks again to all you lamebrains reading and commenting on these reviews, it's much appreciated.
First off, this is truly the last appearance of Curly Howard and the last time we'll discuss him as far as the shorts go. The shot of all four main Stooges together ranks as my favorite shot in film history. Curly, he of full head of hair, gets a nice, if small bit barking like a dog while sleeping. Emil Sitka mentions he heard Curly was incapable of reading lines, but even sick, Curly could still snore and bark like only Curly can. Funnily enough, going on the set, Sitka also mentions he had no idea that Curly wouldn't be there as the third Stooge. Perhaps a sign it wasn't common knowledge right away.
As for the film itself it is again not the best written film, but the performers and individual scenes do more than enough to carry it. When I say not the best written film, it's one of the many Stooge shorts where the resolution is not the greatest. After spending all this time chasing Slipp, they finally run into him, have an all too brief chase scene, and they finally knock the guy out with one blow....by accident. Then for filler they throw in the egg gag to end things. Next week is the first Shemp short with a fully satisfactory script.
Good plotting or not, the main reason I watch The Three Stooges is for the performers and the comedy, and there's more than enough of that to keep me entertained. I want to touch upon the slapstick exchange in the office that starts with Larry asking about an itchy right hand. It comes out of absolutely nowhere in the professional setting of an attorney's office. That is to me what makes it so funny, the complete inappropriateness of the situation! Could you imagine being at your office job or whatever and a random slapstick exchange just breaks out like that? The older I get, the more I realize the context of the slapstick is just as funny as the physical act itself.
HOLD THAT LION! also graces us with our first shadow boxing routine from Shemp. A very funny bit, Shemp's agility and comic timing really shine here, and it's rightfully considered a signature bit of his. Dudley Dickerson also gets one of his classic scare bits, speaking of signatures, when he confronts the lion. I can have the sound of that lion roaring with Dudley screaming, "Help, help, I'm losing my mind" on a 24 hour auto loop in my iPad and still never tire of it. Speaking of being scared, please do read the Emil Sitka entry above, some very interesting bits about Shemp working with the lion and some special accommodations needed.
We also get the first filing cabinet bit, which seems to appear a lot in Shemp shorts. It's one of those gags that no matter how many times I see it, it's always a welcome sight. It's a comfort food gag, like an eye poke or a pie in the face.
A very funny short overall, but slightly imperfect. A slightly imperfect Stooge film is better than 90% of other things out there, hence the 9 rating, but next week, the streak of 10-less Shemp shorts might be in jeopardy. Until then, we discuss HOLD THAT LION!