Now we're down to the last two Stooges shorts released, both of which are close remakes of shorts from better times. One has to wonder why these particular shorts were saved for last, long after the Stooges had been canned from Columbia. Maybe Columbia wasn't initially sure they'd even actually release all the shorts filmed by the Stooges, and a couple of the weaker entries were held until they'd decided to?
TRIPLE CROSSED is a remake of HE COOKED HIS GOOSE that adds little to the original; there is about as much new footage here as one would find in a Fake Shemp short. As such, TRIPLE is more pointless than anything.
Some things that put this short in the "Stooges Hall of Shame" along with the Fake Shemps:
- Shemp himself is glimpsed a few times (although one has to really pay attention to spot him).
- We get Connie Cezan unconvincingly playing the part of "Fake Mary," with back turned and face obscured.
- Moe doesn't show up in any new footage until just a few minutes before the end, and even then he doesn't appear in much of it.
- When Moe fires up the chimney (in old footage) where Joe is supposed to be (per new footage), we hear Shemp's yell from the original short. Clearly no one cared about getting things right at this point. (Of course, maybe they didn't dub in a Joe yell in post-production because the Stooges were long gone by the time there was any post-production.)
The new footage featuring Joe generally doesn't make the best use of him. His introductory scene with Angela Stevens isn't bad ("hit it with my car"), but it seems a bit out of place. The previous scene has Larry accusing Joe of being a "playboy," but when we first see Joe he basically looks like Elmer Fudd getting ready to hunt "wabbits."
Joe's scene in Larry's office is pretty good; the hanky gag is amusing, and it's interesting to see Joe dishing out some abuse to Larry here (as well as later on).
Joe's underwear modeling and his acting like Santa are also amusing in their own right (especially when he's unmasked, I mean unbearded, by Moe: "Merry Christmas. Merry- Merr- MeMeMeMe-"), but Shemp's corresponding bits in the original were funnier.
The best new part of the short, by far, is Moe and Larry's exchange at the end. ("I can't say philanderer!")
Joe doesn't take a lot of abuse here, especially with the Stooges' usual trio dynamic being absent; he just gets punched accidentally by Moe. He also accidentally hits himself in the chin with his suitcase when he opens it.
Atypically, this is one case where a latter-day Stooges remake arguably has a better title than the original.