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Author Topic: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)  (Read 3272 times)

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Offline metaldams

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A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
« on: September 15, 2016, 07:14:08 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/176
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050702/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Sh6iOjc_9Yo

    Watch A MERRY MIX-UP in the link above



          Anybody notice something strange about the poster above?

          I think I may be mellowing towards the Besser era as I get older.  Sure, it's not as good as the Curly or original Shemp era, and yes, the worst of the Besser era are among the worst shorts the Stooges ever did.  That said, the better, and even average Besser shorts, are now watchable for me.  I don't know if it's the relief of not having to watch Shemp recycles anymore or the fact I've seen the Curly and Shemps so much that the Besser era has a tinge of freshness.  Whatever it is, I now accept the Besser era for what it is, fun time wasters that are of interest to this Stooge fan, just not classics.

          That out of the way, A MERRY MIX-UP is one of the better Besser shorts.  Unlike HOOFS AND GOOFS, Joe is part of the team.  He will never get an all-time classic exchange with Moe like Curly and Shemp did, sadly, but he does take a head bonk.  He also works well in the early money borrowing scene with Moe and Larry and later on does a dance with them.  Joe is good here, as are Moe and Larry.  All three have strong comic characters and are good when given the opportunity to shine as individuals.

          The problem with A MERRY MIX-UP is personal comic touches aside, this is a very plot driven short, too much plot for a two reeler.  A remake of the Laurel and Hardy feature OUR RELATIONS, which I'm overdue another viewing of, the resolution is lame.  All three sets of triplets and all the women just happen to go into the same room within minutes and resolve everything.  Think of all the comic possibilities you can have with that confusion.  So many, you can't do it justice in a two reeler, which is why the resolution feels rushed.  That is the Achilles heel of A MERRY MIX-UP.

          Not a bad short at all, but one flaw prevents this from getting a higher rating.  I should add, great triple slap in this one!

    7/10

    « Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 10:43:47 AM by metaldams »

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 09:43:43 PM »
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  • Already on the poster we have a clue as to how much everybody cared by this time, the stooges being listed as Shemp, Larry, Joe.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 09:47:24 PM »
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  • Clever?  Maybe.  Well photographed?  Not bad.  Well executed?  Fair.  Funny?  Not in the least.

    Offline QuinceHead

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 10:01:37 PM »
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  • At least Larry cared enough to stand up to Jules White during the closing matte shot, when White was convinced that Larry was standing in the wrong spot compared to the previous two setups.  Larry stood his ground, and was proved correct, thereby saving Columbia from having to reshoot thousands of dollars' worth of exposures...

    For duty and humanity,
    JohnH aka QuinceHead

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 07:55:38 AM »
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  • Can this be considered the best Stooges short with Joe? Maybe. Can it be considered Joe's best performance with the Stooges? Possibly. But to me this short stands out as being the one where Joe most seems like he's part of the team. For the first time there is not a clear division between Joe and the others. Uncoincidentally, the "trio" nature of the Stooges is emphasized here (actually, a trio of trios). On the evidence of this short alone, I would never have guessed that Besser was widely considered a misfit, second-rate third Stooge. If anyone in charge had really cared, subsequent Besser shorts would have been more like this one, and less like... well, less like the way they actually were.

    In this short the Stooges are too busy getting abused by the ladies to spend much time hitting each other. Nonetheless, Joe takes his share of abuse: a bonk on the head (his only punishment from Moe), champagne in the face, five slaps in the face (including getting triple-slapped with the others), multiple whacks with a purse, and a plate broken on his head. (He also gets pinched by Moe, gets dough in the face, and gets bumped/knocked [along with Moe] during the "happy dance" in a way I can't quite determine -- elbowed by Larry, maybe?) In this short, Joe doesn't seem at all to be the "sheltered Stooge" he's so frequently criticized for being (though, oddly, he'd still seem that way at times in later shorts).

    I can honestly say that a number of my favorite moments in the short are Joe moments:
    "Oo! Ow!..." ("What's the matter?") "Nuth-in'! Nice piece of acting, though, isn't it?"
    Moves wallet from shirt pocket, in case that's what the lady's really after.
    "I like to watch women fight over me!" (Runs hands through nonexistent hair.)
    After "Copy!," Joe turns to look at Larry, and both of them jump as if startled.

    That last one is a nice throwaway gag (I never even noticed it until someone else pointed it out), and highlights something I picked up on before this but didn't really think about: since Larry was clearly more accepting of Joe off-camera than Moe was, it only makes sense that Larry would interact better with Joe on-camera.

    This short has what is clearly Frank Sully's best performance with the Stooges. In fact, it took me a while to realize he even had other Stooge roles. In the last act of the short the focus is more on him than the Stooges, but it works well.
    "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 BeatleShemp

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 11:31:24 AM »
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  • This is definitely probably my favorite of the Besser shorts.  The story is very well executed, very clever. There's some good Stooge interplay here, though of course it's mainly limited to Moe and Larry. That $20 routine is probably one of my favorite bits in the Stooges shorts, I am surprised it wasn't done earlier.  I always enjoy it when Moe gouges a stranger in the eyes and he does it here. Joe declaring he loved watching women fight over him was pretty funny too. It gets a 10 out of 10.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 08:28:24 PM »
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  • I feel like people dismiss everything about Besser shorts just because he's a third Stooge whoss name isn't Howard.

    This short is a damned good effort, the best since BLUNDER BOYS.  It's not the best by any means; it's not the best Besser either.  But here we see a short written to cater to the talents of every person involved, even the ladies and Frank Sully.  Someone clearly stole from Buster Keaton's book here!

    Yeah, Moe doesn't beat on Joe, but it isn't really necessary in all the wackiness as we have Stooge restaurant manners and a Stooge-style chase in this one.

    7/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #7 on: September 17, 2016, 08:04:02 AM »
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  • I agree that this is the least bad of the Besser shorts. I think it is because the setup involves so much collective Stooge action--the three tangling as a team with various other hostile parties--that there isn't much occasion for individual focus, and consequently less chance for Joe to stink things up.

    I feel like people dismiss everything about Besser shorts just because he's a third Stooge whoss name isn't Howard.

    Absolutely not. It's because he reeks.

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #8 on: September 17, 2016, 08:48:35 AM »
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  • I feel like people dismiss everything about Besser shorts just because he's a third Stooge whose name isn't Howard.
    Absolutely not. It's because he reeks.
    Joe Besser is certainly the Stooge that divides people's opinions the most. Most fans either seem to accept him, and even defend him, or outright hate and reject him, but few seem to be neutral towards him.
    "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 Lefty

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #9 on: September 17, 2016, 11:07:40 AM »
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  • This probably is my favorite short among the Joe ones.  The $20 "payoff," the confusion among the women, and of course, narrator/waiter Frank Sully seeing all three sets of triplets at the end and conking himself with the cleaver.  Of course, none of the women or Sully noticed that the triplet sets were not quite identical, due to their ties (or lack of).   ::)

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 02:32:47 PM »
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  • Good to see Moe and Larry back to their trademark haircuts.

    Not since Brideless Groom has there been so much female on female mayhem.

    Loved the timing when Larry gets a twofer of a bat to the head and then slammed into a wall. Larry's expression is great too.

    Moe's mocking of Joe's "not so hard" shtick is another good moment.

    The scene with the Stooge's doubles standing in for the triplets was interesting if only to see how they tried to conceal their faces from the camera. The fully exposed Joe double didn't resemble Joe very much.

    The waiter nails the physical comedy. The last two minutes, when he chases the boys, are by far the best part of A Merry Mix-Up

    So a few good nuggets. I agree with Desmond that Joe feels much more like part of the team than in the previous shorts. I didn't think that the mistaken identity plot was particularly clever or funny. The women didn't add anything.  I rate this 4 out of 10.

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #11 on: September 18, 2016, 07:38:52 PM »
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  • Well, for years I've wondered if the term overrated could apply to a Besser short--and this seems to be the one. I've never been too impressed with this one--not a total shitfest like the past two weeks, but still nothing that rates with even an average Curly or Shemp.

    I believe meh would be my best word to describe this short...

    4 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 metaldams

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 07:53:27 PM »
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  • It's been years since I've seen this, or any Besser, but my memory is this one of the better ones.  Curious as to how my viewing next week will go.  Wanna mention Nanette Bordeaux is very close to death when this was filmed, probably no more than a couple of months.  Interesting seeing a variety of opinions.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 09:52:15 PM »
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  • Again I might point out the blandness and perfunctory quality of the situations, and compare them to contemporaneous TV sitcoms.  Granted, seventeen minutes is no time to develop anything deep, but think about Who Done It, where Shemp and Christine took only one minute to nail an all-time classic scene among all the run-around action.  Even  ( he said, lowering the bar ) Goof on the Roof had the one boffo fall through the ceiling, something memorable, anyway.  This one sets up three sets of triplets ( defying, incidentally, all probabilities in that each triplet bonds with two non-zygotic brothers )  and no development ensues, no virtuosic or even cleverly conceived scene ensues ( i.e. maybe two Moes and a Joe, or Larry with Moe's wife, or the waiter and three Joes, or invent-your-own ).  The last half, except for the waiter's chase ( I'll agree he's pretty good ), is just the various triads saying "no, that wasn't them that was us !"  There's no "uh-oh, watch this" moment, it's just figured out with no surprises, in a bland, feel-good way, like the '50's TV sitcoms were.  And when the big finish goes to the supporting actor playing a waiter, your script has gone off the track about ten pages earlier. Compare all this mishagass with a simple scene like Besser and Costello sitting on the stoop trading cards.  One's funny, one's not.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 10:51:42 PM »
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  • Not to run on, but I must admit I'm finding the Bessers , or at least this Besser, more tolerable than I did when I was a kid, and I freely admit that until these past few weeks I haven't seen one in fifty years, you whippersnappers.  I'm honest enough to admit that, though they all repulsed me in my elementary school years, each and every one of them worse than the other, I opine now that whatever misfired in Merry Mix-up, and a lot must have, since it is dull and obvious as mud, was no fault of Joe Besser.  He was actually pretty good in it.

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #15 on: September 19, 2016, 07:43:17 AM »
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  • This one sets up three sets of triplets ( defying, incidentally, all probabilities in that each triplet bonds with two non-zygotic brothers )
    Not that plausibility is a big factor in Stooge shorts, but I have to say this aspect of MERRY struck me as well.

    whatever misfired in Merry Mix-up... was no fault of Joe Besser.  He was actually pretty good in it.
    It's good to hear you say that. Surely even those who don't care for Besser should see that he was far from being the only thing wrong with the "Besser era."
    "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 Paul Pain

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #16 on: September 21, 2016, 08:01:55 AM »
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  • Nice to see a divisive short!
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    Offline QuinceHead

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #17 on: September 22, 2016, 09:18:39 PM »
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  • It's good to hear you say that. Surely even those who don't care for Besser should see that he was far from being the only thing wrong with the "Besser era."

    Just the most visible / easiest target...

    For duty and humanity,
    JohnH aka QuinceHead

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 04:52:31 PM »
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  • A slighty revised opinion--to be honest, when I did my inital review for this one, I was going off memories I had from watching some of these Bessers years ago. I had made up my mind years ago that some of these stinkers--like the infamous Horsing Around--I would never watch again.

    But looking at Merry again, I think I can see why this one is regarded as one of the better ones--if not the best with Moe, Larry, and that "Besser" fellow...

    The story flows nicely, there is some good stooging & for once, Joe is not totally removed from said "Stooging" and the guy I usually find to be worthless--Mr. Frank Sully--was actually pretty decent in his role. So--all that being said--I find this to be a rather decent short. And let's be honest--during the Besser era--decent is actually good...


    new rating: 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 Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #19 on: September 29, 2016, 06:31:45 AM »
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  • when I did my inital review for this one, I was going off memories I had from watching some of these Bessers years ago...
    As we go through the Besser shorts, I suspect we will continue to see a running theme: Some fans remembered them as stinkers from long-ago viewings, but upon revisiting them found they were somewhat better than they thought.
    "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 Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #20 on: September 29, 2016, 09:45:03 AM »
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  • As we go through the Besser shorts, I suspect we will continue to see a running theme: Some fans remembered them as stinkers from long-ago viewings, but upon revisiting them found they were somewhat better than they thought.

    Well, that definitely won't be the case for the next Besser that's due up in the weekly discussions. Man, do I have a tirade waiting for that one....   >:(


     ;)
    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 Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #21 on: September 29, 2016, 12:52:32 PM »
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  • Well, that definitely won't be the case for the next Besser that's due up in the weekly discussions. Man, do I have a tirade waiting for that one....
    It's not time for SWEET AND HOT already, is it?  :) :o :P
    "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 Kopfy2013

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #22 on: November 08, 2016, 11:05:18 PM »
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  •  I like the short.   It was very entertaining to me. I give it a six
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    Offline Curly Van Dyke

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #23 on: November 21, 2016, 02:22:05 PM »
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  • I'm Neutral on Joe because sometimes he was okay,but mostly terrible.

    Offline Tony Bensley

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    Re: A Merry Mix-Up (1957)
    « Reply #24 on: February 05, 2018, 10:41:04 PM »
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  • An interesting, and in my opinion, decent reworking of OUR RELATIONS (1936), with the added three sets of triplets twist.  I do agree that a reel and a half was too short for A MERRY MIX-UP to realize its full potential, but at least, it doesn't wear out its welcome either, and at this stage, that is indeed, a very good thing!

    Here's a fun fact regarding a MERRY MIX-UP and its OUR RELATIONS ancestor:

    Betty Healy, who was married to Ted Healy, played Stan Laurel's wife in the latter feature.  Of course, Moe Howard and Larry Fine did a bit of work with Mr. Healy!  ;)

    Insofar as Larry and Joe's characters interacting with each other on all three exposures, no doubt that was done in order to simplify what must have been a rather challenging shoot, not to mention what is now commonly referred to as post processing!

    In the non composited shots, "Fake Larry" rather stood out in my eyes, though "Fake Moe" also caught my eye.

    This short gets 8/10 from me.

    CHEERS!  [3stooges]