.....and we have come to the end. THE OUTLAWS IS COMING! will go down as the last film ever made by The Three Stooges at Columbia, and the last one I'll review. A thirty one year run at a studio with a few small interruptions, quite an amazing and fascinating body of work, even the bad stuff, in its own weird way. After this, there'd be a cartoon series and KOOK'S TOUR, the latter being a bunch of footage edited together haphazardly and after Larry's stroke - really an incomplete project. THE OUTLAWS IS COMING!, to my mind, is the last Stooge film proper.
So, how is their Columbia swan song? Pretty mediocre overall, sad to say, but mediocre Stooges is better than no Stooges to this Stooge fan. I will say, there was never a point in the film where I was bored it never really blown away either, though entertained. The opening Stooge scene where they put too much powder on top to take the picture is one entertaining scene, kind of a play on they all put the yeast in from BEER BARREL POLECATS. Kind of got a kick that the skunk is named Elvis. Throw in the two Beatles references, namely the Japanese Beatle and the fact girls swoon over Johnny RINGO, and this is as deep in the rock 'n roll era the Stooges would get. I wonder what they would have thought of G.G. Allin?
. The scene where Moe gets glued to the chair had great potential, I just thought it was a shame they cut, right in the middle of it, to a scene involving Annie saving Ken Cabot. It really destroyed the rhythm, to me. Speaking of Ken Cabot, he's played by Adam "Batman" West. Without this history, West would seem bland. Knowing this guy would be Batman a year later, West's trademark stilted delivery seems appropriately camp.
One big draw of this film back in the day was the fact so many of the people who introduced Stooge films to kids on local channels showed up as outlaws who bizarrely reformed into "law and order" lovers. It may have come across as cute at the time, and while I respect the history, being born almost 15 years after this was released, these people don't have the same appeal to me as baby boomers. I mean that as no disrespect, just an observation this film was very clearly made for a certain audience of a certain age at a certain time. Lots of Stooge films, even classics, have references of their time, so this would be fine if the roles of the local TV hosts were actually funny, but the whole gun fight comes across as very cartoonish to me, and the whole reform angle is extremely unbelievable and hokey.
Derita actually comes across OK in this one when he's wearing more than a bra (I won't mention that scene again), mainly because he is not recycling old Curly gags this time, basically just being himself. I will admit I've warmed up to Derita a little, even though as a comic, he's still not in the same league as his predecessors, Besser included. Moe and Larry, well, they're just going through the motions at this point; but it's nice to see the give it one final run. The story itself is nothing special, a typical western yarn. I'll give props to Emil Sitka for playing three roles here! The Stooges Columbia story itself basically ends with recycyed gags from the past (meat grinder machine gun, the Calvary never being late in motion picture history, and another unnecessary gratuitous pie throw at the bad guys), and with that, I'm signing off.
I want to thank every one of you who have participated in these reviews for the past almost four years, especially you regulars. It has been one Hell of a journey. I admit some weeks I was more inspired than others, no doubt feeling most inspired when the Stooges were, during the late thirties and early forties run of classics. You guys who have been doing this every week with me rock, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.