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Author Topic: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)  (Read 2878 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
« on: November 04, 2016, 04:53:00 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/183
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051614/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1



    In film class, the above image is known as "mise en scene"

          Like a friend of mine would text me when I ask her if her day is well and it isn't, "Meh."  It's funny, overall the Besser era is not as bad as I remember.  There are a few good shorts, and I always had this impression of Besser being this whiny, clingy kind of guy.  He's not always like this, but he is most like this in HOOFS AND GOOFS and this week's short, FIFI BLOWS HER TOP.  Interestingly enough, back in the days when AMC aired only 130 shorts and six Bessers, those two were among the six, so my view was limited.  Here he basically cries about some girl he knew years ago, and I find it gets old after a while.

          A combination remake of LOVE AT FIRST BITE and Laurel and Hardy's UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE and BLOCK-HEADS, all three are far superior films.  The commonality of LOVE AT FIRST BITE is the boys all have solo scenes with girls they met in the service.  Ideal for penny pinching Columbia at this point, since with Moe and Larry, they could easily replay the scenes released in 1950.  LOVE AT FIRST BITE has some great slapstick and a literally explosive ending which I consider classic.  Here, whiny Joe takes a bonk, falls on the couch, Fifi caresses him, and Joe is happy she loves him.  I prefer my Stooge endings to have explosions and people being splashed by water than weak hits and happy love endings.  Lame.

          As for the girl in the trunk scene, done in the above mentioned Laurel and Hardy films, again, lame.  There's a hint of sexual tension, danger, and build up in the Laurel and Hardy version.  No doubt a pre code Thelma Todd acting all proper (Mr. Hah-day), yet wearing something nice and silky underneath contributes, as does Edgar Kennedy's jealous husband who likes to fool around act.  Wanda Dupree's Fifi is a high strung French caricature while Phil Van Zandt is more abusive than a comical cad like Edgar Kennedy.  Also, poor Larry, the lines he has to read to explain that they are taking about Fifi the dog versus wife are extremely unbelievable.  Were the writers even trying at this point?  Speaking of Phil Van Zandt, he of CITIZEN KANE and better past Stooge roles, this is his last appearance, sadly.  He'd kill himself almost exactly one year after this was filmed.

    3/10

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 09:21:22 PM »
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  • Sorry...I'm doing my best through this, but if this one isn't on YouTube or some equivalent, I'm not spending good money to buy Bessers.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #2 on: November 04, 2016, 09:33:41 PM »
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  • Sorry...I'm doing my best through this, but if this one isn't on YouTube or some equivalent, I'm not spending good money to buy Bessers.

    Couldn't find on YouTube.  You're not missing much.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 09:35:57 PM »
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  • Well....there's this version.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4svmO-fEa1A

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #4 on: November 05, 2016, 04:53:55 AM »
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  • Sorry...I'm doing my best through this, but if this one isn't on YouTube or some equivalent, I'm not spending good money to buy Bessers.

    There's one on veoh.com, if you really hate yourself that much!  I say don't bother... it's as bad as you recall.

    UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> FIFI BLOWS HER TOP

    The best Joe bit was Joe giving his smack to the MPs.  And as if Phil didn't hear Fifi yell when the trunk broke apart?  This is one of the worst plots in Stooge history, along with HOOFS, HORSIN, and EVEN AS IOU.  Notice a pattern with those?  Overall, the Stooges are trying too hard to act like the Stooges in a plot better suited to Laurel & Hardy or Charley Chase.  They at least did a fine job of splicing in the old scenes from LOVE AT FIRST BITE and making Joe's "France" scene with Fifi fit in with the other two.  Amazing how those guys (and gal) didn't age at all from a war over 10 years prior!

    I'm mad at this era now.  This short can... BURN IN HELLTM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1/10 [poke]
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #5 on: November 05, 2016, 07:15:32 AM »
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  • Watching this one I felt embarrassed for The Stooges.

    Christine McIntyre sure loves to show off those pipes. I'll bet she added that little vocal flourish without prompting.

    Phil Van Zandt adds some much needed energy to the proceedings. I like how he plays the gentlemen while matter-of-factly bashing his wife.

    You know a Stooges short blows when Joe's punches and "not so hard" spiel are the comedic highlights.

    1/10.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #6 on: November 05, 2016, 07:29:50 AM »
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  • #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #7 on: November 05, 2016, 09:17:40 AM »
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  • OK, others might disagree with my opinions on this one. Shoot, I might even disagree with my own opinions.
     
    This one's a little odd, first of all, in that it's not a direct remake of a specific earlier Stooges short, but it does use a fair amount of footage from one (the very different, and mostly superior, LOVE AT FIRST BITE). In my opinion the flashbacks from Larry and Moe are rather cute (especially Moe's, with Christine McIntyre and her character's bad English), and this short does a good job of giving them a new context that somewhat changes their meaning.
     
    Shemp's flashback in the original was rather brief and, in my opinion, wasn't as cute or memorable as the other two. Joe's new flashback here is hard to compare to it, though, because it serves a very different plot function. A few observations:
     
    (1) I find it interesting how Joe is given "hair" here to look younger. (In real life, of course, Joe Besser was already bald by the time when this is set!)
    (2) To me it seems wrong, and out of character, for Joe to check out the waitress while he waits for Fifi.
    (3) As we all know, the reused footage, with Shemp's legs, shows an outdoor cafe while the new footage shows an indoor one.
     
    Overall, the short doesn't really have much in the way of funny moments, and neither Moe nor Larry seems to be trying very hard. But I kind of like it anyway. It's certainly not a typical short from our stars of "Stage, Screen & Radar." The straightforward heartbrokenness of Joe's character here is an unusual emotion for the Stooges; I have trouble imagining it in the hands any of other Stooge. The situation with Fifi – a long lost love, now married to an unappreciative jerk – also seems very different from the usual role of women in Stooges shorts.
     
    Besides the flashback scenes, I note that a brief scene of Moe pulling gum from his face is also reused from BITE, and is very smoothly incorporated here.
     
    In this short Joe gets roughly as much abuse as Larry does. He even gets abuse from three different people. Larry bangs him in the head with the shaker, Moe bonks him on the head twice, and Fifi smacks him at the end. (He also gets gum on his face, gets pinched by Moe, and falls when trying to lean on Moe who has walked away.) And here we get introduced to a Joe catchphrase: "That's good for him!" (gets bonked) "That's bad for me!"
     
    Overall, a silly, contrived, sitcom-type plot, with a happy ending that's not overly out-of-the-blue. Not great, but I don't think it's all that bad either.
    "Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day." -- Samuel Goldwyn

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    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #8 on: November 05, 2016, 01:52:57 PM »
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  • Overall, the short doesn't really have much in the way of funny moments, and neither Moe nor Larry seems to be trying very hard. But I kind of like it anyway.


    I think I get where you're coming from. Even though I think Fifi Blows Her Top is drek, on some level I like it, otherwise I wouldn't sit through it.  Since I don't have any nostalgia for the movies, and I know that the content is bad, I have zero interest in watching them.

    And here we get introduced to a Joe catchphrase: "That's good for him!" (gets bonked) "That's bad for me!"
     

    That phrase is right in character for Joe. Who would have thought that the best player in a Besser short would be.......gulp........Besser!?

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #9 on: November 05, 2016, 01:56:07 PM »
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  • Thanks, Paul Pain.  There's sixteen minutes I won't get back.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #10 on: November 05, 2016, 05:22:00 PM »
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  • Gee, someone swinging a baseball bat in a room with Joe Besser in it and he doesn't get his head conked. Opportunity missed.

    In film class, the above image is known as "mise en scene"

    Ha ha.  ;D

    Offline JWF

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #11 on: November 06, 2016, 11:02:26 AM »
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  • Shemp's flashback in the original was rather brief and, in my opinion, wasn't as cute or memorable as the other two. Joe's new flashback here is hard to compare to it, though, because it serves a very different plot function. A few observations:
     



    I always chuckled at Shemp's scene in the original as he's hoisting a beer with his lady friend and she says something in French along the lines of "Have you been here a long time"?  And his response is "I don't know...a fly went in mine too (as he scoops it out with his hand), but drink up, kid".

    A classic Shemp ad-lib!

    Offline Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #12 on: November 08, 2016, 01:19:24 PM »
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  • I always chuckled at Shemp's scene in the original as he's hoisting a beer with his lady friend and she says something in French along the lines of "Have you been here a long time"?  And his response is "I don't know...a fly went in mine too (as he scoops it out with his hand), but drink up, kid".

    A classic Shemp ad-lib!
    I guess that scene is better if you know French...

    Actually, Shemp's flashback leaves me feeling like he and his "Fifi" aren't really hitting it off yet, and she might even still be annoyed with 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 Paul Pain

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #13 on: November 09, 2016, 07:52:40 PM »
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  • Thanks, Paul Pain.  There's sixteen minutes I won't get back.

    Told you so.  It appears evident in this short that Columbia thought they could make some more dough on these by making them more like a contemporary TV show
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #14 on: November 10, 2016, 08:58:17 AM »
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  • That occurred to me as well.

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #15 on: November 14, 2016, 05:10:34 PM »
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  • It's amazing how opinions seem to go all over the map for our "beloved" Joe Besser.  :P

    I've always rather liked this one as far as Moe, Larry and Joe go. Nothing that even compares with a good Shemp or Curly, but still, one of the better ones for a time period when Moe, Larry, Jules White and everyone else involved were waiting for that final curtain to drop on their short film careers.

    6 out of 10 pokes...
    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 Kopfy2013

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #16 on: November 14, 2016, 11:42:31 PM »
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  • Fifi looks good in pajamas....

    A better Besser short...stock footage helps... not the best though. I give it a 4
    Niagara Falls

    Offline Curly Van Dyke

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #17 on: November 20, 2016, 02:25:21 PM »
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  • One of the Very Worst Stooge shorts. Wanda Dupre gets my vote as worst Stooge actress
    and Phil VanZandt is pretty bad in this.
    The flashback scenes are okay,but otherwise this gets a Golden Turkey Award.
    "Oh,my Darling Fifi" !!!!!!!

    Offline Woe-ee-Woe-Woe80

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #18 on: December 14, 2017, 01:54:51 AM »
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  • I don't find this episode to be as horrible as some people make it out to be but it's definitely not one of the best Stooge shorts featuring Joe Besser, I could've done without the rehashed flashback scenes but once Phillip Van Zant's character arrives the short starts to get better, I absolutely laughed my a-- off when Fifi tries throwing a bowling ball at Phillip Van Zant's character but Moe ends up getting attacked with the bowling ball, I also love the scenes where Moe shoves a hot iron on Larry's butt, the scene where both Moe & Larry were arguing with their noses touching each other and Moe bopping Joe when he tries to give everything away.

    I give this short a 5/10 because of the strong second half.

    Offline Tony Bensley

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    Re: Fifi Blows Her Top (1958)
    « Reply #19 on: February 08, 2018, 08:08:58 PM »
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  • FIFI BLOWS HER TOP was basically middle of the road for me.  Below are what I consider some of its pluses and minuses:

    Pluses -
    - Using the stock footage as 'flashbacks' meant no awkward editing or continuity issues.  The old scenes from LOVE AT FIRST BITE (1950), especially with Moe and Christine McIntyre, were also fun to revisit!
    - The Girl hiding in a trunk bit, though less effectively done than in Laurel & Hardy's UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE (1929) and BLOCK-HEADS (1938), was still fun for me to watch.  I also enjoyed the part when the boys discover that Fifi isn't safely concealed in the trunk when her jealous husband returns to their apartment.

    Minuses -
    - The supporting cast isn't all that hot. 
    - For obvious reasons, Joe and Fifi don't look any younger in Joe Besser's 'flashback' scene.  His toupee wasn't great, but didn't look notably bad to my eyes, either.

    "Fifi" gets 5 out of 10 blows.  >:D

    CHEERS!  [3stooges]