Soitenly
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)  (Read 2562 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline metaldams

  • Global Moderator
  • Egghead
  • ******
  • Posts: 6,121
  • Gender: Male
  • Sugar Daddy in waiting
    • View Profile
Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
« on: September 08, 2016, 06:37:48 PM »
  • Publish
  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/175
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050735/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ixRn_ZC8gdk

    Watch MUSCLE UP A LITTLE CLOSER in the link above

           This is a Joe Besser short, and I like it.  Perhaps a statement that will spark some controversy.  Now, is MUSCLE UP A LITTLE CLOSER a classic?  No.  However, it makes for pretty good entertainment.

          I'll mention the fact Moe and Larry, for the first time ever, have their street haircuts, per the suggestion of Joe Besser himself.  I'm not offended by this.  While I am a fan of the gag cuts, they never defined Moe and Larry's characters themselves.  As for Moe and Larry, the interaction where Moe tells Larry to hold the tool to his nose as he goes away always gets a huge laugh out of me.  The look on Larry's face is priceless.

          Now let's get to Joe, the bad and the good.  The bad is he's a bit whiny when looking for Tiny's ring at the beginning, but my biggest complaint is the bubble gum scene with Moe.  Moe pops the bubble and even attempts to pry the gum out of Joe's mouth.  Good so far.  However, after Besser bites Moe's fingers out of his mouth, all Moe could do is helplessly yell at Besser in a hissy fit and walk away.  I really wanted to see some wit and slapstick combo Moe would have done with Curly or Shemp in that situation.  Why Besser wouldn't do this, who knows?  All it does is weaken Moe.

          What's crazy about this is Besser does slapstick, just doesn't interact with Moe in the traditional way.  Besser has a box stapled to his stomach, and I always enjoyed the, "It's following me" line.  Hell, Besser even takes a flamethrower in the ass!  The guy does slapstick, all the more disappointing the lack of good interplay with Moe.  I've also always liked the gag where he takes the oil, burns the egg shells, and cleans it up by sweeping it.  A very clever gag by the writers, the best in a long time.

          The story is paced well, the ending, unlike some other Stooge films, has its charms, and overall, I find this to be an enjoyable short.  Besser is a good comedian at times, just never a great Stooge.  When the script is decent, so are the shorts, when it comes to Besser.  The difference is with Curly and Shemp, decent scripts were not just decent shorts, at times they were elevated.

    7/10





    Offline Shemp_Diesel

    • Bunionhead
    • ******
    • Posts: 2,244
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #1 on: September 08, 2016, 07:56:23 PM »
  • Publish
  • I don't know--the further we dip into the Besser era, the lower the roller coaster goes; at least for me. The thing about Muscle is that--as far as story goes--the material does appear to be decent enough. I always thought the Felix Adler Bessers were generally better than Jack White. And I imagine if Curly or Shemp were 3rd stooge here, this may have been a hit.

    But--unfortunately--we don't have a Howard, we have Joe. There are some decent moments here--and, as usual--most of those moments come when Moe & Larry are by themselves working the old magic. Once again, Joe's aversion to getting hit by Moe weakens what could have been some decent situations, like Metal already mentioned, the scene with the gum--although I did get a good laugh at Moe yelling in his face & barking at him.

    Another thing--the Moe & Larry hairstyles. I remember the ancient times when the Family Channel had the stooges & this was the first one I saw with Moe and Larry looking "normal." To say I was shocked would have been an understatement. Of course, having seen & read many books and movies about the boys later, I know that's how Moe & Larry carried themselves in real life, but--as far as the stooge world goes--Moe & Larry without their "gag haircuts" just doesn't feel right to me.

    As if I needed more reasons to dislike Joe as a stooge...  :D

    2 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 Percy Pomeroy

    • Beetlebrain
    • **
    • Posts: 77
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #2 on: September 09, 2016, 08:07:17 AM »
  • Publish
  • The funniest part is when Elmo puts Joe in a headlock and tells him that wrestling is the way to build muscles. "I like to put on pressure to stretch my muscles", Elmo says. Clearly there are better ways to build and stretch muscles.

    Joe got a laugh from me after berates himself with a whiny "not so loud" after he screams when they discover that the ring is missing.

    Was that a Jimmy Durante reference that Larry makes when the bed spring is dangling from his nose? "I'm mortified."

    I remember the dumbells rolling off the locker gag from Grips, Grunts and Groans. Poor Bustoff, he tried to befriend the Stooges without realizing how dangerous that is. At least no bystander was harmed in this short.

    Cooking the eggs with a blow torch is ridiculous, but it make sense in theory because trying to clean up raw eggs would be a gooey mess. Never though this through before.

    Tiny calls Joe fat!?

    Seabiscuit Food Corp. was a very progressive company. Having an employee gym in 1957 had to be a rare thing.

    As the Besser shorts go, I don't think it gets any better than this. I'll be generous: 7/10.


    Offline Paul Pain

    • Moronika's resident meteorologist
    • Moderator
    • Knothead
    • ******
    • Posts: 1,191
    • Gender: Male
    • The heartthrob of millions!
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #3 on: September 09, 2016, 08:07:23 PM »
  • Publish
  • This is middle of the road.  It's, like metaldams sad, a good short that just doesn't fit the mantra of The Three Stooges.  It gets better and it gets worse.  I'm going to let loose later on other shorts.  This would have made a better Besser-Hawthorne short, really.

    The costars drag this down for me.  I feel bad for Maxine Gates.  She was a talented actress who always seemed victimized by unnecessary fat jokes.  Harriette, as always, sucks.  Ruth is just there.  And Matt Murphy is the most wooden actor we have seen since the idiots in BABYSITTER JITTERS.

    The plot makes no sense to me.  Why would a guy like that just steal a ring?  It's inconsistent with his character.  Many good gags, particularly the surgery routine and the light bulb stuff with it.  The eggs are a good bit too.  This short is confused.

    5/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline metaldams

    • Global Moderator
    • Egghead
    • ******
    • Posts: 6,121
    • Gender: Male
    • Sugar Daddy in waiting
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #4 on: September 09, 2016, 09:21:28 PM »
  • Publish


  • Tiny calls Joe fat!?



    LOL, yeah, I thought that too!  Welcome aboard, feel free to comment on earlier threads too, you have good commentary.

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

    • Beetlebrain
    • **
    • Posts: 77
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 07:13:08 AM »
  • Publish
  • Thanks Metaldams.

    I've enjoyed the earlier threads and look forward to continuing the discussions.

    Offline BeatleShemp

    • Bonehead
    • **
    • Posts: 116
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 09:23:56 AM »
  • Publish
  • This short is definitely an improvement over the previous Besser outing.  There is some great interplay between Moe and Larry, which is always nice. Joe on his own is humorous in his own way, but I think the interplay between him and Moe is too forced. I feel Joe goes to over the top at times and it's annoying. And Moe not being able to retaliate on Joe is just sad, although I enjoyed it when he took the blow torch to Joe's butt.  I like when Moe dries his hands off on that dirty towel and yells at Larry "Don't touch me I'm sterile!!!" That cracks me up every time. Also when Moe tells makes the remark that this was a man's job and Larry quickly asks "Where will we find one?" Classic. I'd give this a 7 out of 10.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

    • Birdbrain
    • ****
    • Posts: 525
    • Gender: Male
    • "Pleese! You zit!"
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #7 on: September 11, 2016, 09:19:09 AM »
  • Publish
  • Well, I can't say  there's nothing good in this one. There are two good bits, both with just Moe and Larry:

    (1) "What's in those crates from Japan?" --"Matzos." --"Oh, just in time for Thanksgiving!"

    (2) "Here, hold this!" (with crowbar on Larry's nose).

    And then there's Joe Besser and a lot of other garbage.

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

    • Puddinhead
    • ***
    • Posts: 309
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 08:20:43 AM »
  • Publish
  • In my opinion, Joe's Stooge role in this one represents a pretty big leap forward from HOOFS. Neither the short as a whole nor Joe's performance may qualify as great, but I think it's a good example of why I would consider Joe to be the most underrated Stooge.

    I don't understand at all what was the point of Moe and Larry having their "gentleman" hairstyles. Maybe their characters were supposed to be a little less "stupid" and "strange" by this time? At any rate, Moe's looks better than Larry's.

    As with HOOFS, there is still a sense of separation between Joe and the others. There is also Joe's much-commented on failure to get hit by Moe. (Moe's angrier-than-usual yelling here seems to be an attempt to cover this up, or perhaps make up for it.)

    Nonetheless, Joe does take some abuse here, and each case seems harsher than the one before. Moe knocks on his head, Moe pushes him by the back of his head ("Go on!"), Moe kicks him in the behind ("Quit stalling!"), Moe torches him in the behind (and leg), and he gets hit in the head with a barbell. (I find the last one really surprising in what is only his 2nd Stooge short.) Additionally, he trips and gets egg on his face, and Elmo gets in him a headlock.

    While Joe still doesn't quite fit in, and not everything he does works, he has quite a number of moments that I find amusing and effective.
    "It keeps FOLLOWING me!"
    "I'm so...!" (throws shirt at Moe)
    Finds a whole egg among the broken ones and casually breaks it as well.
    "It's a frauuuuuu--D."
    "Yeah, well, I'll be seein' ya..."
    "Let go of me! Let go of me! ... Ooh, she let go!"

    Miscellaneous comments:
    - Joe's singing to himself (doo-doo-doo) is a long way from Curly's la-dee-das. It's just as well that he didn't do likewise in later shorts.
    - "You're all sprung!" is one of those things that seems funny but I don't know why.
    "Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

    Many would rather believe a lie because truth demands a response.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

    • Numbskull
    • ****
    • Posts: 780
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 03:36:15 PM »
  • Publish
  • As far as I'm concerned, Moe should have been prohibited contractually from ever, ever appearing without his bangs, on screen or off, in public or even in private.  His appearance with his hair combed back is, in the exact right word that someone else used above, shocking.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

    • Birdbrain
    • ****
    • Posts: 525
    • Gender: Male
    • "Pleese! You zit!"
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 06:19:48 PM »
  • Publish
  • As far as I'm concerned, Moe should have been prohibited contractually from ever, ever appearing without his bangs, on screen or off, in public or even in private.  His appearance with his hair combed back is, in the exact right word that someone else used above, shocking.

    Even when he appeared as Dr. Hugo Gansamacher?

    Offline metaldams

    • Global Moderator
    • Egghead
    • ******
    • Posts: 6,121
    • Gender: Male
    • Sugar Daddy in waiting
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 07:57:21 PM »
  • Publish
  • Even when he appeared as Dr. Hugo Gansamacher?

    Can't wait to review that short.   ;D

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

    • Numbskull
    • ****
    • Posts: 780
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 07:58:20 PM »
  • Publish
  • He should never have appeared as Dr Hugo Gansamacher.  He was awful.  Only the real Dr Hugo Gansamacher should have appeared as Dr Hugo Gansamacher.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

    • Numbskull
    • ****
    • Posts: 780
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 10:36:19 PM »
  • Publish
  • There's a saying in publishing circles, I am told, concerning an author whose first book was a smash, and everything after that was garbage, that maybe he had only one book in him.  This may be true of Moe: maybe he had only that one shtick in him.  Certainly he was not the standout with Healy, and every time he tried to stretch in later years, like doing the oyster stew routine, or playing the father in Self Made Maids, or Dr. Gansamacher, he was terrible.  I should probably save this observation for Sweet And Hot, but since it came up now,here it is.

    Offline Kopfy2013

    • Puddinhead
    • ***
    • Posts: 308
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #14 on: September 20, 2016, 11:57:59 PM »
  • Publish
  •  I give this a five.  I don't know if it's because it's fresh material or not. I got so tired of the remakes.

     This is a man's job. Where will we find one?

     Pick it up I can't even bend

    Niagara Falls

    Offline Paul Pain

    • Moronika's resident meteorologist
    • Moderator
    • Knothead
    • ******
    • Posts: 1,191
    • Gender: Male
    • The heartthrob of millions!
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #15 on: September 21, 2016, 08:14:38 AM »
  • Publish
  • As far as I'm concerned, Moe should have been prohibited contractually from ever, ever appearing without his bangs, on screen or off, in public or even in private.  His appearance with his hair combed back is, in the exact right word that someone else used above, shocking.

    I thought he was pretty darned handsome.
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Woe-ee-Woe-Woe80

    • Bonehead
    • **
    • Posts: 123
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #16 on: November 26, 2017, 11:49:07 PM »
  • Publish
  • A fairly good Stooge short and a major step up from the mediocre "Hoofs And Goofs", I do wish they would've chosen another actor to play Elmo instead of Matt Murphy, I've thought Matt Murphy's performance as Elmo was mediocre and wooden, my favorite moments is the scenes where we get to see Moe & Larry together (they always do a great job when they're together) and the scene when Moe tortures Besser in the bottom with a flamethrower, this short feels more like a sitcom instead of a traditional stooge short which I take as a good thing.

    Overall I give this short a 7/10, this shows Columbia can produce a good short when they've wanted to.

    Offline Tony Bensley

    • Puddinhead
    • ***
    • Posts: 315
      • View Profile
    Re: Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957)
    « Reply #17 on: February 05, 2018, 09:02:08 PM »
  • Publish
  • MUSCLE UP A LITTLE CLOSER was indeed, a huge step up from HOOFS AND GOOFS.  I also liked Joe's interaction with Maxine in this short.

    That said, the cheapness of the sets is also rather apparent by this stage.  Nevertheless, I give this short 7/10.

    CHEERS!  [3stooges]