Watch GENTS IN A JAM in the link above
This week, we discuss the last short the McCollum/Bernds unit would ever make with The Three Stooges. I always liked the fact that once things got settled, there were two production units working on shorts, it always lent different feels, whether the director was Charley Chase, Del Lord, or Ed Bernds. After this, it's 100% Jules White. We say the stock footage was because of budgetary limitations, and I'm sure that's true, but the idea of Jules White now needing to carry twice the workload I'm sure must have played some part as well. As far as Edward Bernds, he had a pretty nice career after this. I can't recommend enough you Stooge fans check out The Bowery Boys films he did after this, some which use Stooge routines. I maintain those one hour b features are what the Stooges should have moved onto after this, not stock footage Hell. Ed Bernds will enter the discussion again, but that's not until we get to the Detita features about a year from now.
As far as GENTS IN A JAM, there is absolutely nothing, zero, zippo, to criticize on this one. OK, as a silent comedy nerd, I'm saddened to see Snub Pollard, once Harold Lloyd's sidekick and a guy who made some funny Hal Roach silents on his own, now being reduced to being knocked out as a telegram boy and nothing else. Anything for a paycheck. There's my incredibly minor nitpick, something I'm sure most of you could care less about.
Tons of slapstick in this one! Some of those paintbrush shots Moe gives Larry at the beginning are quite funny, Larry covered in white paint, grimacing, hair all sloppy. He's sorry for what he's done, but Moe must give out paintbrush comeuppance anyway, because Moe's a freak like that! Word. Shemp's salty back talk to the sink faucet is quite funny, and the radio gag has always been a favorite of mine! Love the energy the short has when the music plays, and the poor radio meeting its watery, asphyxiated demise is something I always remember about this short. Also want to know how to tame a woman? Just listen to Moe, pure ladies man, in another classic scene.
Really, minus my silent comedy dork heart yearning for more Snub Pollard, the entire cast in this one is used brilliantly. The Rocky Duggan character who tears telephone books in half is great. Notice the shot where he and all Three Stooges are all together. They do a low camera angle, like CITIZEN KANE, to accent the much taller appearance of Duggan compared to the boys. Kitty McHugh is wonderful here and Emil Sitka takes one hell of a beating!
An excellent short overall, and a nice swan song for Hugh McCollum. From this point forward, the shorts are all Jules. The classics going forward, if I can count them on two hands, and that's a maybe, there won't be many fingers on the second hand. This week, though, a gem.