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Author Topic: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)  (Read 1054 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
« on: December 23, 2016, 06:41:47 PM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/228
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052880/?ref_=nv_sr_1



          .....and we have finally come to the feature film era with third Stooge Curly Joe Derita.  HAVE ROCKET -- WILL TRAVEL is certainly an interesting film, if not an all time classic.  The boys do feel regenerated, and with their new success on television, I think they figured out what made them successful.   No need to reinvent the wheel with a Besser, or even Shemp character.  Curly is their commercial fortune, and since the real Curly has passed away, they get a guy to impersonate him, in this case, Joe Derita.  Derita was a reliable comedian who can deliver a line, take a fall, do a double take, yet lacked any real character.  Since the boys at this point were no longer trying to reinvent the wheel, he was a seasoned pro who filled a void, nothing more, nothing less.  Any KISS fans here?  Same situation with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer being Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

          As a feature film, this is to be praised in the sense that the whole time, you are aware you are watching a Three Stooges film.  You can say the same for all five Columbia features.  I say this because a lot of Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, and to a lesser extent, Laurel and Hardy features have the romantic couple and musical numbers that take away from the comedians.  Yes, there is a romantic couple here, but their screen time is very minimal.  It also must be said the dialogue during the twenty five minute mark is so unbelievably bad it is comically entertaining.  Just watch it, I'm not one for quoting dialogue in reviews.  Pure cheese, and the male is creepishly forceful.

          The first half of the film is the boys rehashing old routines competently.  Again, no reinventing the wheel, just comfort food.  The scene where Moe thinks Larry is caught in the pipe under the sink from FALSE ALARMS is there.  The classic pipe scene from A PLUMBING WE WILL GO is done by Curly Joe.  Of course, not even a patch on the original.  If one never saw Curly Howard do this routine, you'd think Curly Joe was OK, but knowing what Curly can do, there's no comparison.  Still, OK on its own, I guess.  The best stuff is the boys in the Rocket ship, which is actually original material.  Their weight knocking the ship over and Larry's adventures with gravity are quite entertaining.  I'll also state Moe call Derita a "baby hippopotamus" got a laugh out of me, one of my favorite Moe insults.

          Once on Venus, we're at the weakest part of the film.  The spider is entertainingly hokey, but once we get to the unicorn and the song, it's pure kiddie fare.  Rehashing plumbing gags is understandable, but the talking horse stuff, though this time a unicorn, is not.  Then once away from the unicorn, it turns into some strange sci-fi thing where the boys are shrunken and have body doubles made of them by some really cheesy boxed robot with arms.  I do like the shrunken boys gesturing approving gestures when their larger doubled counterparts perform slapstick on each other, especially Moe's nod.  That got me a laugh.  Derita's gag with the mirror is funny and his best part of the film.

          Once back on Earth, ten minutes of recycled HOI POLLOI party stuff, including the immortal spring on the ass dancing gag done by Derita.  Again, competently done, but no reinventing the wheel here.  The guests even fight each other, just like the original. 

          Overall, an interesting film, and cool to see the boys in a feature length film with some sci-fi stuff.  Like I said years ago about WOMAN HATERS, this kind of film is not the reason why I'm a fan, but since I am a fan, I'm glad something like this exists.  Definitely interesting, and I do remember the other Columbia features being a little better, but let's see what a fresh viewing will bring.  With next week's film, I'm proud to say I spent less than $5.

    6/10
    "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 Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #1 on: December 23, 2016, 10:16:05 PM »
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  • One real disappointment I find with the Deritas is the missed opportunities to use Emil Sitka.  He should be the head honcho here, the Cowan part.  Orbit is the only one to give Emil a part he deserves, and he does a good job with it.  Jerome Cowan here is as fungible as a shipping clerk.  Emil would have been a treat.

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #2 on: December 24, 2016, 06:32:21 AM »
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  • The boys do feel regenerated, and with their new success on television,


    So the feature films were bankrolled only after the shorts became popular on TV. Makes sense.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #3 on: December 24, 2016, 07:56:10 AM »
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  • So the feature films were bankrolled only after the shorts became popular on TV. Makes sense.

    Exactly.
    "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 7stooges

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #4 on: December 24, 2016, 01:24:04 PM »
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  • As a Stooge, Joe seems to be his 'greenest' here. One gets the sense that he's still adjusting to his role. He even attempts a few Curly 'woo-woo's' (though that may not have been his decision). I also get the "junior partner" vibe, as Larry's brother-in-law Nate Budnick once put it. Joe feels more like a sidekick here.

    By the HOI POLLOI sequence at the end of the film, he seems more comfortable. As some have said in the past, he takes falls quite well.

    Also noted for being one of the last times the two-fingered eye poke was used. It would return once more - as a clever inside joke - in "Around the World in a Daze."

    Wasn't this same plot more or less done a few years prior in "Abbott and Costello (don't actually) Go to Mars?"


    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #5 on: December 24, 2016, 08:53:34 PM »
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  • I have never really felt that the stooges skewed to adults, probably because I've been watching them and  getting the jokes since I was six, but for those of you who  have felt that there was at least a bit of grown-up vibe in their classic years, which I feel as well, you may correctly assume that that shade of their comedy is from here on, indeed, gone.  Don't even bother looking anymore.  There will be no more hints of sophistication.  It's a kid act.  I say this with respect, awe, wonderment,  and a feeling of good will. I have one ( I feel ) unique contribution to make to our examination of the Deritas, and I'm not going to spill my whole plate of beans today, I'm going to try to apportion it to you as it was apportioned to me.  I'm trying to be a bit mysterious here, and I'm guessing that many of you are way ahead of me, but I'm hoping this little game will be as fun for you as it was for me way back when.  I'm pretty sure it can't be, since none of us are six any more, but I'm going to give it a try.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #6 on: December 24, 2016, 10:01:51 PM »
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  • I'll give you a teaser, though, mainly because this isn't something I had thought to include in my original premise, and especially because it's only now just occurred to me, so this counts as a dividend: just because the TV comeback was huge, there was absolutely no guarantee that a movie would succeed, not at all.  Have Rocket could easily have been another Dance With Me Henry, the end of the line.  Have Rocket, filmed on a shoestring, made a healthy profit, the only criterion which could have continued the Columbia series.  It was a gamble that paid off handsomely.  The gamble would not have succeeded if the target audience, the kids who liked the TV shorts, had rejected Derita.

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #7 on: December 26, 2016, 07:21:29 AM »
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  • I have never really felt that the stooges skewed to adults, probably because I've been watching themand  getting the jokes since I was six, but for those of you who have felt that there was at least a bit of grown-up vibe in their classic years...

    Were the classic shorts originally presented only before kid's films? Have I mistakenly assumed that the shorts were shown as a precursor to movies for grown ups?

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #8 on: December 26, 2016, 09:38:43 AM »
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  • As I understand it, comedy shorts were shown at all movie theatre shows, along with cartoons, newsreels, sometimes one-reel sing-alongs, all kinds of stuff, and this was true of the output of all the studios.  MGM had Laurel and Hardy ( through Hal Roach ) , RKO had Clark and McCullough, Columbia had their whole stable, etc etc and most theatres were owned by one studio where only that studio's product was shown.  Some studios did not own their own theatres,  Republic or Monogram, for example, so their product, I assume, would show up here or there on more of a freelance basis.  My point being that most shows were not compartmentalized by age group like they are today, so a stooge short was as likely to precede a sophisticated Columbia feature as it would a comedy feature.  But the stooge shorts were not specifically kiddie oriented as the Derita features were.

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #9 on: December 26, 2016, 01:01:43 PM »
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  • I can see a Stooge short as being a good warm up for a 40s era film noire. Sort of like in cooking when you mix opposing flavor combinations to balance out the dish.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #10 on: December 26, 2016, 02:39:31 PM »
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  • My Dad was born in 1950 and remembers seeing these features in the theaters for matinees geared for kids.
    "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 Paul Pain

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #11 on: December 27, 2016, 07:21:46 AM »
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  • I shan't be participating in these as I haven't any way to watch the DeRita features, though I have seen HERCULES...
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    Offline 7stooges

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #12 on: December 27, 2016, 01:00:44 PM »
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  • I shan't be participating in these as I haven't any way to watch the DeRita features, though I have seen HERCULES...
    Have you tried Veoh? Unless you're unable to access that.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #13 on: December 28, 2016, 06:06:57 PM »
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  • Have you tried Veoh? Unless you're unable to access that.

    Problem is living circumstances preventing me from even watching the film even if I could get it.
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    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #14 on: December 29, 2016, 10:28:29 AM »
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  • The Derita movies are bad in general. I find that these films are more plot driven instead of focusing more on the comedy that the stooges have to offer. And it only gets worse in that respect as we itch closer and closer to their final film (The Outlaws Is Coming).

    With all that said, this movie isn't as bad as the other four. Let's give it some credit, it has one eyepoke compared to the remaining four, which have none. So the slapstick bar is raised a bit higher on this movie compared to the others. DeRita seems somewhat into the role when comparing his performance here to the other four films. And that's not giving him much credit because DeRita lacks the energy that good ol' Curly had. Even Shemp brought some life into his performance. Maybe Curly and Shemp just drink more coffee than DeRita. OR maybe they were just more into their roles than DeRita....DING DING DING, we have a winner!! My point is... it's depressing to watch DeRita as a third stooge. I'm no expert here, but I'm pretty sure DeRita is capable of being a much funnier stooge than the way he presents himself in these films. Moe and Larry don't do much justice either, but let's cut them some slack.... they're older and they're trying their best.

    I thought this particular film had so much potential. The stooges go up in space and land in Venus!! That alone sounds like a good movie, but add an older Moe and Larry, a third stooge who couldn't give two craps about his role, and a romantic subplot.... well, I'm sorry to say, you have turned a potentially good movie into a disaster. I like the storyline (and for that, I'm not going to give this movie a terribly low score), but the mediocre to poor performance throughout the film is what killed the movie for me.

    5/10

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #15 on: December 31, 2016, 06:39:25 PM »
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  • Some weeks back, I believe I commented on another thread, that I've come to "like" Joe Derita--not love like Curly or Shemp, but like nonetheless. The drawback to these movies is the "romantic subplot" angles, and I guess to the same degree the boys themselves.

    I think by this point in their careers, Moe and Larry have come to grips with the fact that they were truly not boys anymore & now are acting their age. And Derita to a lesser degree--now the trio were acting like grandfatherly figures to the young male leads in all of these movies.

    I know I'm jumping the gun a bit, but I do like this example--take note of "Three Stooges Meet Hercules," and the scene where the "boys" end up in the Greek girls sauna & think about how the stooges would have acted if said same scene occured during a Curly or a Shemp, or even a Besser. Especially since we see something similar from Blunder Boys--not me, I want to linger with the rest of the girls.

    Another drawback to the Curly-Joe era is the stooges toning down the act somewhat--apparently their was a lot of bitching & moaning from various groups about the violence in the old shorts. Top that with the boys somehow being branded as "children's entertainers" during this period and there you have it.

    All that being said, Rocket I would say is straddling the line between average & mediocre. It has some moments, like Larry trying to get Derita to challenge Moe--go on Joe, you could lick 2 of him...

    5 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 Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959)
    « Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 11:49:10 AM »
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  • I have to agree with metaldams on this one. I like the first half of this one, when the boys rehash their old routines. Even though they don't change much, they can still be pretty funny, but when they get to the actual space stuff, it gets really boring. The romance is bad, but in a way that it's so bad that it's kind of laughable. It's a movie that I found mildly entertaining, but not something I would really go back to.

    6 out of 10