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Author Topic: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser  (Read 474 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
« on: November 16, 2016, 02:33:55 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/325
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0132610/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1



          An absolute shame this one's not viewable on line, as this is way better than any Stooge short Besser appeared in.  I am really becoming convinced Joe Besser was a good comedian who joined The Three Stooges at their lowest point budget and writing wise and didn't have much chemistry with Moe and Larry.  Joe is a ball of energy in this one, and he is given a good script with a great supporting cast playing interesting and funny characters.  No Greta Thyssen, no Milton Frome, no Muriel Landers, no Harriet Tarler, no Gene "one hit wonder" Roth, no talking horses, but instead, memorable supporting actors with good roles.  Makes a world of a difference.  Would Joe have found chemistry with Moe and Larry in better times?  Who knows, but he was a fine comedian in his own right.

          The basic story is Joe is supposed to marry Christine McIntyre, who is as beautiful and full of life as ever, yet he can't make his own wedding because of some habit he can't kick.  What habit, you ask?  Drink?  Drugs?  Gambling?  Women?  No to all of the above.  The answer is chasing fires.  He's obsessed with being at the scene of fires, and his apartment is filled with fireman paraphernalia (complete with pole to glide downstairs), and had an entertaining butler who enables Joe's habit.  The other guy who wants to marry Christine is a funny Grady Sutton like wimp, the psychiatrist who tries to cure Joe is over the top with a cowboy obsession, and Vernon Dent is great as Christine's father.

          The budget looks decent for this one compared to a Besser era Stooge short, as there's loads of scenery changes, and even the chase at the wedding at the end is entertaining.  It really is amazing what good actors, interesting characters, and a creative script can accomplish.  My favorite bit would be at the beginning when a crazed Joe is holding Christine while he's wearing a fireman's hat, water dripping from the hat onto poor Christine.  Great reactions.  It can't be stressed enough, Christine is wonderful here, confused about her lovers, and really funny and charming at the end, which I won't give away.

          If you get a chance to see this one, please do.  A travesty Shemp solo never got an original script this good, Shemp would've also been great in Joe's role. 

    10/10
    "Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job." - George Carlin

    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 05:30:19 PM »
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  • Agreed. This is a good one. And also, the only Besser short directed by Ed Bernds.

    Shemp would have been fun to watch in this, but Joe does an excellent job.

    "Don't you dare call him a drip! ....... the dope..." Agreed again: always lovely, Christine is.

    Symona loses her skirt again.

    Some solid support from Stooge regulars, including Christine, Vernon, Stanley Blystone, Joe Palma and Symona. Rodney Bell never populated a Stooge short, though he did return for THE FIRE CHASER five years later. James Logan (Simmons) also appears in THE HOT SCOTS, Hans Schumm/Andre Pola (Dr. Emil Gseundheit) also appears in FUELIN' AROUND and actor/stuntman Chuck Hamilton appears in STUDIO STOOPS and was cut from HOW HIGH IS UP? nearly a decade earlier.

    Also, I love Joe's middle name in this: "Loudermilk." A legit name, but one that sounds so damn abstract and bizarrely funny.
    "With oranges, it's much harder..."

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 04:43:09 AM »
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  • I love the way the butler says "Mrs. Wilber Slemons."  This is indeed a fine effort.  Not only are the actors all good, but the plot is perfect too.  The insane and provocative psychiatrist played by Andre Bola is astoundingly good.  Unfortunately, while all the Joe shorts are pretty darned good (yes, even the remakes), this one is setting a high standard for the rest to live up too.

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    10/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 04:44:36 AM »
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  • Green Canaries, is the church in this one the same from BRIDE AND GLOOM?
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    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 10:33:22 AM »
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  • Green Canaries, is the church in this one the same from BRIDE AND GLOOM?

    Could be. Don't have my DVD to check at the moment, and am not much of a "locations expert" in the vein of Jim Pauley, Chris Bungo or John Bengtson.
    "With oranges, it's much harder..."

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #5 on: November 17, 2016, 05:51:35 PM »
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  • I actually prefer the remake, THE FIRE CHASER, to the original in this case. It tightens things up and adds a solid chase scene at the end with Vernon Dent.

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 04:13:25 PM »
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  • Well, I have to go against the grain on this particular one & may have to add that I probably won't make a habit of reviewing these Besser solos, like I did the Deritas. I remember years ago, when first getting the "Rare Treasures" set, that solo Besser didn't leave a great impression with me & unfortunately--after one fresh viewing of Lurch--my opinion has not changed much.

    I don't mean to sound "Hateful" about Joe--I've said many times in the past that I've enjoyed him as a supporting player with Abbott and Costello & even think he has his moments as a stooge & that the downfall of those last 16 stooge shorts wasn't all "Joe Besser's fault."

    Having said all that, I just find it hard to take his "overgrown sissy-man act" in strong & regular 16 minute doses. It's fine for a few chuckles at first, then it just gets old--very quickly. The only other laugh I can remember is Vernon conking that lame Rodney Bell & Bell's reaction (oh, pop).

    Again, I don't want to come off as an unmitigated Besser basher, so maybe this will be my only comment on Joe solo, but to those of you who did find this to be a "great" short, my hat is sincerely off to you.

    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 Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Waiting in the Lurch (1949) - Joe Besser
    « Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 05:14:12 PM »
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  • Having said all that, I just find it hard to take his "overgrown sissy-man act" in strong & regular 16 minute doses. It's fine for a few chuckles at first, then it just gets old--very quickly.

    I agree. I think Besser is better off as a supporting player than he is a lead. He can be funny when he's a supporting player, but annoying when the spotlight is entirely on him (though I'll also say that he's not entirely to blame for how bad most of his Three Stooges shorts were).