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Stooges DVD/VHS/Home Video / JFK and the Three Stooges
« Last post by Mark The Shark on October 17, 2017, 07:22:55 AM »
Years ago I remember seeing a Stooge-related piece on an old Goodtimes VHS tape called "Blushing Bloopers." I laughed out loud the first time I saw this, but acknowledge that it may be considered in extremely bad taste. Essentially, someone intercut the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination with a clip from the Stooge short "Three Pests In A Mess" where the Stooges are wrestling with a rifle, the gun goes off, a stray bullet hits a mannequin and Moe yells, "you shot that guy!" "And killed him too," adds Larry. I could swear (or affirm) that I saw this on a DVD at some point, but I can't remember where. Can anyone confirm? Anyone even know what I'm talking about?
Music That Sucks / Re: #9: Fleetwood Mac
« Last post by stoogerascalfan62 on October 16, 2017, 01:41:03 PM »
I've always wondered who did the vocals for "Go Your Own Way" and "Second Hand News" and one or two other tracks.
Spaghetti and coffee again, same as Twice Two.  Was this a thing back then?  Blechhh.
Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Double Whoopee (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 15, 2017, 05:10:10 PM »
DOUBLE WHOOPEE is so close to being a 10 in my book. I love the design of the hotel and the energy of all the actors involved. There are lots of funny gags in this. Hardy taking Laurel’s coin, Laurel accidentally removing the guest’s shirt, the confrontation with the driver, Laurel and Hardy’s inconvenient timing with the elevator. These are all great gags and the short had me laughing throughout.

So why isn’t this a 10 for me? Maybe it’s the beginning. I do like the idea of Laurel and Hardy being mistaken for royalty, but I almost feel like this should have been a short on its own. I mean, come on: Stan as a prince and Ollie as his prime minister? The short practically writes itself. As it stands, though, it’s just a short gag that doesn’t go on for very long and just suddenly shifts its focus afterwards. The actual prince himself didn’t feel like he actually needed to be in the short, considering how he disappears a third of the way through only to come back for the closing gag. As much as I loved the elevator gag, just about any other actor could have filled that; and yes, I know he’s parodying von Stroheim, but that still doesn’t warrant his appearance.

Still, you’ve got to love that fight at the end. All the people that Laurel and Hardy antagonized throughout the short suddenly come together and start punching each other and giving each other the eye poke. It’s a wonderful payoff to a mostly funny short. Maybe it would have been better with sound, but I still enjoy it nonetheless.

9 out of 10
Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 15, 2017, 04:05:33 PM »
UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE is a good enough sound debut for Laurel and Hardy. Starting with Laurel and Hardy’s speech, even from the beginning it was easy to see that they could talk clearly and would have no problem being understood. The actual sound quality itself, though, is a problem and Hardy’s voice seems unusually high, perhaps as a result of the quality of the microphones at the time.

Though I do like Laurel’s punchline at the end of the “Kennedy-Hardy” exchange, the rest of the routine is so slow and drawn out that it’s not nearly as effective as it could have been. I’m not expecting Marx Brothers-quality delivery, but at least something better than this. It doesn’t help that they try to repeat it later in the short.

What really made Laurel and Hardy thrive in the sound era, though, was that they continued to be a mainly visual gag team and for the most part they do continue to act in this manner. That sequence of Laurel and Hardy trying to set up dinner is timed very well and Laurel’s facial expressions are pretty good as well. Laurel and Hardy’s use of sound was often to enhance the visual nature of their films and while it’s still not perfect, they do have at least some idea of how to do this. They’re able to make funny sound gags out of both the oven and the fight between the Kennedys. Regarding the fight, we don’t see what happens, but the sound speaks for it instead. The payoff, of course, is seeing Kennedy when he returns to Hardy’s apartment. Both his appearance and expression make for a great gag that wouldn’t have been nearly as good without hearing how bad the fight was. Of course, I’ve got to give a shout-out to a fantastic supporting cast consisting of Kennedy, Mae Busch, and Thelma Todd.

UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE obviously could have been better, but surprisingly it actually is able to accomplish a lot as far as a sound experiment goes. If you can’t get past the obvious sound quality problems, I completely understand, but if you can get past that, it’s actually worth checking out. Not their best, but still a fun short regardless.

8 out of 10
Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Big Business (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 14, 2017, 05:01:17 PM »
This is one interesting Christmas film. The beginning with them going door-to-door allows for some funny visual gags, such as the anti-peddler hitting Hardy with the hammer. There are also some dialogue routines at first that lead me to wonder if this was maybe practice for their talkie debut. Also, the “I don’t think he wants a tree” line feels like something Stan would have said instead of Ollie.

The big selling point of this short, though, is when James Finlayson appears. Laurel, Hardy, and Finlayson’s destruction continues to build as the short goes along and because the amount of destruction is getting bigger, it doesn’t get repetitive at all. They find so many different ways to cause destruction. Chopping down trees, throwing rocks at the chimney, playing baseball with objects. Finlayson literally blows up their car! Also, got to love the officer who, rather than do his job, instead writes down the amount of destruction that the three are causing.

BIG BUSINESS is hilarious. This is Laurel and Hardy’s only silent film that’s in the National Film Registry and you can easily see why. It takes advantage of its idea perfectly, doing it better than its sound remake, TIT FOR TAT (which is also good, but not nearly as entertaining as this short). So what if there’s no Christmas message in this? This really should be an annual airing on TV.

10 out of 10
Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sherlock Jr. (1924) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 14, 2017, 01:59:55 PM »
Unlike OUR HOSPITALITY, which focused on meeting a nice blend of comedy and drama, SHERLOCK JR. goes back to focusing more on the comedy. For what we lost, though, we gained an impressive mixture of camerawork and editing.

Plot-wise, the film doesn’t have much going for it. The resolution to the problem occurs pretty early on and in addition to Keaton not being a part of it, we don’t see what happens to Ward Crane. The late Joe Roberts’ presence is also missed. Joe Keaton, rather than having a comedic bit part, instead plays the girl’s father, while Erwin Connelly plays the handyman. Both of these roles felt like they would have benefitted from being played by the much more intimidating-looking Roberts.

Neither of these elements are really that important to this film, though. Its focus is mainly on the comedy and the film certainly delivers. Keaton having to get people to describe their dollar bills before giving them back, Keaton following Ward Crane and imitating his every move, and the train are all highlights of the opening scenes.

Then we get back to the theater and this is where the film truly gets a chance to show off. Keaton drifts off and we see both the dream Keaton and the real Keaton in the same scene. The dream Keaton then enters the projection screen. The editing of the various background settings in this is simply brilliant. Keaton takes advantage of every possibility opportunity he could with this idea and it looks fantastic.

After that, we get to Keaton as Sherlock Jr. Rather than just imitate what happens earlier in the film, Keaton adds more ideas such as Crane and Connelly trying to kill him in various ways, only for Keaton to avoid all of them. Rather than imitate Crane while following him, which was already a funny idea, Keaton instead gets to fall off a crossing arm into the back of Crane’s car. When he gets into Crane’s hideout, he comes up with a very clever idea: jumping out of the window into a dress to trick the villains.

Another great gag is when Keaton jumps into the suitcase. This was supposedly an old vaudeville trick and this will  be one of the last times, if not the last time, that we see these kinds of gags. While these gags were very funny and worked well in shorts, Keaton could no longer use them in features because of how illogical they were. He was able to do it here since it was a dream sequence.

Keaton then rides on the handlebars of a motorcycle, only for the driver to fall off and Keaton not realize this for most of the ride. He narrowly avoids cars and trains and it is once again very thrilling. Same thing goes for the car chase. The ending gag of Keaton imitating what’s on the screen also leads to a pretty good punchline.

As a feature (and yes, it is technically considered a feature), SHERLOCK JR. does not work nearly as well as OUR HOSPITALITY. SHERLOCK JR., though, is so funny and impressive that it is very easy to forgive its problems. SHERLOCK JR. is a unique viewing experience and is a must-watch for any movie fan out there.

10 out of 10

P.S. Towards the beginning, the theater has advertisements for some real movies. One of these is for a comedy starring a then-little known comedian named Stan Laurel called MUD AND SAND.
General Discussion / Re: Larry Fine and my dad
« Last post by hiramhorwitz on October 14, 2017, 09:24:04 AM »
You, sir, are one lucky person to have met these 4 and to have a father who was willing to visit Larry for you. Happy belated birthday to your father.

Sam, I agree with you 100% - I am extremely lucky on both counts.  I just spoke with my dad and gave him your birthday wishes.  His response was "Tell Sam I wish him a happy belated birthday, too."
Weekly Episode Discussions / Sherlock Jr. (1924) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Paul Pain on October 14, 2017, 05:13:24 AM »

Watch SHERLOCK JR. in the box above and get the Damfino's note here:

SHERLOCK JR. is like the Keaton version of BEAU HUNKS; it's a really long short subject, because it feels too short to be a complete movie.  Unlike last week's film, this week's features comedy and feats of engineering over plot.  And the plot's good too!

The opening scenes help to nicely set up the sliminess of the villain while also introducing us to diminutive Buster, who has to rely on his wit as always.  Ward Crane was a star of the day, so having him in this film added to Buster's own credence.

The devices and mechanical gags in this film are almost innumerable: the water pipe (which broke Buster's neck), the hatchet, the billiard game (Clyde Bruckman plagiarism warning), the crossing arm, the motorcycle, the jumping-through-a-hoop-into-a-dress, the fence, the car, etc. all work in astounding ways to astonish the viewer with their sheer brilliance.

It's classic Buster fare, folks.

10/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Our Hospitality (1923) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by Paul Pain on October 14, 2017, 04:56:37 AM »
      I'm not sure if Buster was being serious or not, but my guess is that was another D.W. Griffith parody.  Griffith did the same historical accuracy thing on the bottom of title cards, (i.e. based on a print or painting or photograph or whatever), in a lot of his films.  The Lincoln assasination scene in BIRTH OF A NATION comes to mind.

I think he was just being goofy as those kinds of cards were common as dirt in that era.
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