Well, holy shittake mushrooms, this is a Joe Derita solo short and it is actually.....good. Very good, as a matter of fact. No jealous husbands, no dumb situations that could easily be explained, no mindless boudoir chases, what we have here is an actual character driven story with good slapstick thrown in. What a concept. I really hope you guys get to see this one, as it's not online.
This is a remake of Andy Clyde's KNEE ACTION from 1937, which I've never seen. I'm going to guess there is some stock footage in this one, as James C. Morton gets hit with an object through a window in this 1947 short. He passed away in 1942.
Joe Derita is a lonely guy who finds an advertisement for a wife....written on an egg. He contacts the girl, played by Dorothy Granger and then marries her. After the marriage, he finds out she has this very bratty son, and he basically gets away with anything. No matter what this brat kid does, be it a slingshot on his step dad's butt, name calling, or destroying Derita's dish and clothes washing machine before demonstrating them to potential buyers, his mother lets him get away with it all. I cannot stress enough how annoying this kid is to Derita. Actually, the kid's annoying actions and attitude go a long way in establishing empathy and siding with Derita.
The slapstick is great. There is this one brilliant shot of a hole being blasted through a wall. The camera stays on the hole in the wall, and we see a felled Derita through the wall. The washing machine bit where soapy wet clothes fall splat on everyone's face is great too. If I have one complaint, the it's a few unbelievable reactions, definitely a fault of some Jules White films. Emil Sitka laughs at Derita spilling egg on his shoe for no reason at all. Dorothy Granger even laughs as Joe's washing machine doesn't work and people are getting splattered by clothes. Never mind she's losing money as a wife with Joe's sabotaged invention, there's people getting hit with stuff, time to laugh. Yeah, again, these unbelievable reactions do sometimes show up in Jules White films, but they're minor here.
As for Derita, he's got some life in him in this short. He acts well, he gets temperamental at times and excited at others, showing much needed personality. One thing I always say about Derita is the man can take a fall, better than any other Stooge, actually. Check out the fall he takes while singing, "We're in the money." His feet end up waist high before he falls on his side, physically very hard to do. Also a delight seeing Derita and Vernon Dent act drunk at the end of this one.
A surprisingly very good short, and easily the best of the four Derita solos. I'll tip my cap to the future Curly Joe for this one, and for Columbia to have the decency to give him a good script. Too bad Shemp got so few of those.