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Messages - metaldams

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I voted Curly because he has the most unique character, though I believe all three would do a nice job solo.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Pest from the West (1939) - Buster Keaton
« on: February 18, 2018, 07:50:25 AM »
      I'll start with my thoughts on Keaton at Columbia.  He will never have the budgets, time, or creative freedom he had in his independent silent days, so I can understand Keaton fans being down on these shorts who are not Stooge or Columbia shorts fans.   Heck, Keaton himself was.  However, I'm a Keaton fan who came to him through the influence he had on Columbia shorts, namely The Three Stooges.  One always hears about stories, gags, and writers being used from Keaton films in Stooge shorts.  Since I'm a Stooge/Columbia shorts fan and a Buster fan, I love seeing Buster in this environment, plus I think it's great Buster time with Columbia was the late thirties and early forties, just as the shorts department hit a big creative peak.  So yeah, it's again enjoying these films for what they are versus what they're not.

      PEST FROM THE WEST is a nice start to the Columbia series.  It has a nice running gag, literally, of Buster running back and forth to his boat, which has a nice lack of communication between him and his sailors and an excuse for some physical comedy.  Like Paul, I won't do a spoiler.  Buster does seem to be in good energy here, sliding and gliding across the screen to see the girl he desires, and I gotta dig that subtle gag where he takes her long dress, puts the dress on the table and then puts his elbow on the dress to stop her and get her attention.  Funny, physical comic bit.

      The supporting cast in this one is fantastic, with Lorna Gray as the girl, plus Richard Fiske (I get a laugh the way he brags about being a bullfighter, the way he comically props himself up), Gino Corrado, and Bud Jamison.  Lorna Gray is fantastic as usual, love the little eye rolls she does and the fact she blatantly plays a woman who juggles her men.  The ending, which I won't give away, is classic Keaton wit and really displays this aspect to her character.

      The scene where he serenades Lorna with a ukelele is the most famous bit in the short, and is fantastic in its timing.  Keaton does an almost Edgar Kennedy slow burn, but he never totally boils over.  Also, listen carefully to the soundtrack in that wonderful bit where Keaton and Gino Corrado take turns slamming the cellar door on each other.  When Corrado falls in the basement, the yell dubbed over is none other than that of Curly Howard.

      A really fun short.  Yeah, this one's better than all the MGM talkies.


Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)
« on: February 17, 2018, 02:18:44 PM »
I did find that it picked up somewhat in the second half.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

Cancer usually does that.  [pie]

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Pest from the West (1939) - Buster Keaton
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:56:32 AM »
Will watch this later tonight or tomorrow and review, but I want to address two things in Umbrella Sam's post.

One is I totally forgot Lupita Tovar was in THE INVADER!  She just passed away pretty recently at age 106!  I haven't watched THE INVADER in years, but wouldn't mind doing so at some point.

Secondly, with Keaton's condition.  By the time he got to Columbia, his alcoholism, by all accounts, was under control and was for the most part the rest of his life.  He was married to his third and final wife, Eleanor, by this point which did wonders for his happiness.  Keaton's problems lasted the mid to late 30's or so, but he picked himself back up.

Well, now wait a sec...Shemp_diesel answered the call for the tie-breaker before I did and saw to it that Sgt Dare was declared the winner as far as i know.  I just submitted my latest entry here for a goof since I thought the contest was over.  I do stand by Ichabod Slipp, but only for fun since I thought we were just kind of mopping up to let us sore losers get in a last dig.  I agree that Shemp_diesel wins, no argument.  Except it's Ichabod Slipp.

I know you're just getting a dig in, I'm just waiting for Paul to make it official.

By the way, give me a few weeks, but I got a Stooge related tourney of my own in mind.

Since you open it up again, which I wouldn't have, I don't care about the contest.  It's Ichabod Slipp.  Neener neener neener.  Start with the name and go from there to all MacDonald's villian parts.  I lost the first time, but now you've brought it up again, so, starting with the name and every subsequent and in fact previous role, it's Ichabod Slipp.  He's slime.  He's dirt.  He wins.

I guess it's official then. [pie]

So I guess Sgt. Dare won?

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Triple Crossed (1959)
« on: February 09, 2018, 06:14:39 PM »
YIKES!  This reconstructed remake sure is a mess!

In my opinion, TRIPLE CROSSED isn't quite as bad as HORSING AROUND (1957), but it's pretty darn close!

At least some of Shemp's brief appearances were quite noticeable to me, including his yell from within the fireplace, and the brief appearance of one of his forearms.  However, the most glaring instance of all comes at about the 14:12 mark of the film, when dressed like Santa Claus, Shemp's "bearded" face, and much of his left side is quite visible from behind the door in the old HE COOKED HIS GOOSE (1952) footage!

Out of 10, TRIPLE CROSSED gets 3 Triple Crossed Buns, and I'm being a bit generous!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]

There may be as much old Shemp footage as new Moe footage in this Besser film.  God almighty, my head aches just trying to remember this thing.

I gotta say, it's sad Angela Stevens wasn't with the Stooges during better times.  Extremely beautiful and she seemed to have good comic timing and talent as well.  I just saw her recently in CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN as the housewife.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Oil's Well That Ends Well (1958)
« on: February 09, 2018, 06:11:02 PM »
Tony, has it occurred to you that since most of us slogged through these things over a year ago and posted truthfully that we never wanted to watch them again, that you may be the only person on the planet watching them now, since so few of us watched then, and that you may be the last person on the planet who will ever watch them?  This is an achievement of some sort, I guess.  Or rather two achievements, I guess.  Congratulations are in order, I guess.

Yeah, seriously!  Good for you Tony, enduring a Besser era marathon.  I admit a few of them I like, but man, watching so many in such quick succession, I hope the paramedics are nearby.

A sound feature with Keaton's independence should have been great.  The thing is, watching the Educational shorts, Keaton had more control there, but not the budgets of MGM or when he was independent.  Hindsight being 20/20, Keaton should have went to Hal Roach.  True, he would have been making shorts again, which is probably why it was never considered, but artistically, I think he would have had the best chance of doing something great.  Maybe Paramount for features. Between W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, and Mae West, that studio understood comedy better than the others.  A Keaton comedy at Paramount, we'll never know.

But yeah, MGM, while Keaton had his moments and one classic silent feature, wasn't ideal for him.

Yes sirree!  I figure you can do Educationals, and I'll find someething else to review afterwards.

You do the Columbia shorts starting next week, and of course I'll pitch in.  I'll take at least a few weeks off from starting reviews and get to the Educational shorts when I'm refreshed.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Horsing Around (1957)
« on: February 06, 2018, 06:56:04 PM »
Tony, it's cool reading these Besser thoughts, but revisiting this thread and some Shemp remakes and reviewing Keaton MGM lately, I've come to a conclusion...the lowest of Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Marx Brothers, and just about any other great comedian, never sunk as low as The Three Stooges at their worst.

I mean, Keaton's FREE AND EASY is pretty bad, but it's a masterpiece next to HORSING AROUND.


      This is the film where Buster Keaton is officially teamed with Jimmy Durante, as both names share top billing.  So essentially this is a comedy team film, at least in billing.  This would also be not only Buster's final MGM starring film, but the last time Buster Keaton will ever star in a feature film for a major U.S. studio.  From here on out, it was foreign films, comedy shorts, character parts in major and minor films, MGM gag man, television, and commercials, both the TV and lengthy industrial type.  So Keaton kept busy his final 33 years, but his star days were over.

      So what happened?  Keaton's films at MGM continued to be very profitable, including this final film we are discussing, but Keaton himself became unreliable, so Louis B. Mayer terminated his contract.  Keaton himself hated working for MGM and could not make the style of film he did when he had creative control in the silent era, WHAT! NO BEER? being one of them.  Add this to a failing marriage and alcoholism, and you have a picture of Keaton's low point.  On the set of WHAT! NO BEER?, there are stories that Keaton would not show up on the set for an entire week.  Perhaps one can understand Louis B. Mayer's actions.

      The alcoholism issue needs to be brought up because, well, Keaton appears on screen drunk.  Keaton's face looks drawn out, he slurs a few lines....yeah, it's bad.  However, I can deal with it for three reasons.  One is I know Keaton will overcome this, live several more decades, and live out his remaining years in what's reported to be a good marriage and contentment.  Secondly, I have become desensitized by watching Curly's final twelve Stooge shorts.  Keaton may be at his low point here, but man, not anywhere near as bad as Curly was.  Thirdly, Keaton is teamed with a loud comic like Jimmy Durante, who quite frankly chews all his ham and steals a few slices from Keaton in the process.  Durante being himself greatly distracts from Keaton's state.

      There is one scene where Keaton and Durante, along with Roscoe Ates and Henry Armetta, get an old brewing factory and learn to work the equipment and make beer.  This scene goes on for several minutes with lots of beer suds flowing and tons of noise being made by all the comedians....except Keaton.  All the other comedians are hooting and hollering, create all this comic energy, and you barely know Keaton is there.  This scene to me, more than any other, sums up Keaton's position at MGM.  Too many cooks in the kitchen, and Keaton was the cook with the least say.

      So yes, as a Keaton film, this is a dud.  Keaton fans who can't stand Jimmy Durante and are not into loud pre code comedy should completely hate this film.  I enjoy this film, though, because of Jimmy Durante, the loud pre code comedy nature, the gangster motif, and the presence of THREE LITTLE SEW AND SEW'S own Phyllis Barry (I've also seen her in Wheeler and Woolsey's HIPS, HIPS, HOORAY!).  She's fascinating with a unique accent and beauty to her, and yeah, we get the obligatory pretty girl in lingerie scene with her we'd no longer see the likes of once July 1934 hit.  I also like the fact this film is a cultural artifact for the time prohibition was coming to an end in America.  Love the fact the film points out how the gangsters do not want prohibition to end because it destroys their business.  Oh, and we get a really cool array of beer barrels rolling down the street with Keaton running away and havoc taking place.  This also happened a couple of years later in a film called THREE LITTLE BEERS.

      So my rating reflects my thoughts of the overall film, not as a Keaton film...though admittedly a great Keaton role would have upped the score more.

      The MGM era is now completely reviewed and similar to my Marx Brothers reviewing experience, I find I like the MGM's more than I thought.  FREE AND EASY is utter shit and PASSIONATE PLUMBER is barely passable, but the others have their charms.  I think with me, I've seen these films a few times now and know what to expect going in, liking them for what they are and mourning less what they're not.  Add to the fact I've seen the silent Keaton classics a million times and the MGM films take on a new freshness.  I welcome them as a whole in my collection, but to beginners, I still say, start with the silent classics. 


Somebody else needs to vote. Who wants to pick a winner?

Final Keaton MGM review will be up tomorrow night.  Paul, are you starting the Columbias next week?

You've piqued my interest. I've only seen maybe a handful of his post 1931 Roach shorts, and that isn't one of them.

What did you think of ROUGH SEAS (1931)? The old adage is that sequels are rarely as good as the original film but I thought ROUGH SEAS beat HIGH C's by a mile. Lots of fun.

I too liked ROUGH SEAS better than HIGH C'S.  I thought of this and it was echoed in the audio commentary....put the two films together and you have a legitimate six reel feature.

I finished this set. Watching these in order, you can really sense the Chase talkies found their groove with the 1931 releases. The 1930 crop certainly wasn't without highlights, but the 1931 releases were more consistently good. The only 1931 release I'd rate less than good was the first, THUNDERING TENORS.

I'm eager to see where the Chase talkies go from here. Bring on vol 2!

Next volume will have LUNCHEON AT TWELVE, one of the few post 1931's I've seen.  It is of definite interest to Stooge fans.

Umday, first off, good write up.  Secondly, funny you say Gene Roth looked like your grandpa, as Kenneth MacDonald bore a similar resemblance to my great grandfather.  Both lived to 70 as well, though my great grandfather was ten years older.

Also want to add, logically I agree with your argument over Fiske versus Roth.  Fiske's performance is more virtuosic and has more depth, but I vote Roth simply because I quote the role more.  Yeah, it's that simple for me.

To Big Chief, whole heartedly agree that as actors, Kenneth MacDonald and Phil Van Zandt destroy Gene Roth.  If this were about the actors, Roth should have been eliminated rounds ago.  However, it's about the characters, not the actor or body of work as a whole, and Roth is the ultimate one hit wonder.  He's the Iron Butterfly of Stooge actors (yes, I've heard all the albums, and this is a band where the hit truly is the greatest).  Still, that one role most of us love we find close to all time greatest...OK, you disagree, fine.  But yeah, it's about an individual performance, and I dig Roth in DUNKED IN THE DEEP.  I repeat, it boggles my mind how he can be so memorable in one film and so bland everywhere else I've seen him, non Stooge roles included.  I can't figure it out.

55 Dunked in the Deep

It's ironic, because every other Stooge short and b sci-if/horror film I've seen Gene Roth in he completely fails to leave an impression, yet for this one role, he's awesome.

My review for SPEAK EASILY is up.  This one is on YouTube and is definitely worth watching, so I hope to see some opinions this week.

Weekly Episode Discussions / Speak Easily (1932) - Buster Keaton
« on: January 27, 2018, 03:30:12 PM »

      SPEAK EASILY is my favorite of Keaton's MGM talkies.  It is not considered a classic amongst Keaton fans as again Keaton is not a resourceful guy doing great physical stunts and yes, other comedians (though not all) could have played Keaton's role.  However, Keaton does star in the role well with an excellent supporting cast, so I consider this a good pre code comedy versus a classic silent Keaton film, and I happen to like good pre code comedy.

      As for Keaton's character, well...he's a college professor who has a one track mind with a love for ancient Greek literature and culture.  He doesn't get out much, he's well spoken, he takes every phrase literally, has lack of understanding of the motives of those around make a more modern comparison, he reminds me of Sheldon from BIG BANG THEORY.  You come up with your own amateur psychoanalysis if you wish.  Anyway, this kind of character actually works for Keaton as Keaton has a very dry, matter of fact delivery.  The part that got me the most was Keaton plainly stating, as if it's nothing, that Thelma Todd dance in the nude because the ancient Greeks did so.  That made me spit out my coffee, and it was totally Keaton's delivery that sold it.  The basic plot is Keaton's butler feels bad that Keaton never gets out, so he feels best to trick Keaton into thinking he inherited a lot of money so he'll go out and take risks and enjoy life.  Keaton does go out and meets an acting troupe which of course includes the girl of his fancy....and Jimmy Durante.

      For all the criticism Durante gets in these Keaton films, I think he's perfect here.  Durante is a ham fisted vaudevillian, basically playing himself.  Yes, he throws in bad puns, yes, he's loud, but the whole joke is that they're bad puns and loud.  In PASSIONATE PLUMBER, I felt like Durante didn't belong (or maybe it was Keaton who did don't belong, I don't know), but here, Keaton and Durante both fit into their roles from their respective worlds, academia and Vaudeville, and do not step on each other's toes.

      Oh yeah, we also get Thelma Todd trying to gold dig her way to the top with Keaton and Keaton too naive to understand what is going on. I've made it known on this board I'm a big Thelma Todd fan and she's great here for the most part, as usual.  My only complaint is the drunk part was completely unnecessary.  Thelma Todd does not need to be exaggerated when comically seducing any character, as she proves with Groucho, Robert Woolsey, and even Keaton when she's acting sober.  Still, we get a mini variation of Keaton taking a drunk woman to bed that he did in SPITE MARRIAGE, so not all's lost.  Ms. Todd's presence is always welcome, and we get to see her act the spoiled diva in the end. 

      The end when things go haywire on stage is quite entertaining.  Keaton swing on a rope across stage is very similar to what Harpo Marx would do a few years later in NIGHT AT THE OPERA, and Sidney Toler as the helpless stage director does a fantastic job.  He'd later go on to play Charlie Chan.

      Overall, a very good film, and definitely my favorite of the Keaton MGM talkies, unless next week's final film is better than I remember.


I've watched the first disc shorts and commentaries so far and am enjoying the heck out of this.  Richard Roberts does a great job at being both informative and personable - the guy has a sense of humor and I don't feel like I'm in a classroom like with other audio commentaries, yet I still learn a lot.

I wonder if the reason why the Chase shorts didn't catch on with the baby boomers when they were kids watching on television was because they were more adult than The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Our Gang?  Just a theory on my part, but especially WHISPERING WHOOPEE and LOOSER THAN LOOSE are extremely adult oriented. 

HIGH C'S and to a lesser extent, THE REAL MCCOY, almost come across as novelties, but the other shorts are excellent.  Chase was a fantastic comedian and so was Thelma Todd, in addition to being gorgeous.  They work fantastically together.  I really hope more volumes come out, I at least did my free market part and bought it.

Oh, and forget about Edgar Kennedy's mumbled background "shit" in PERFECT DAY, Chase blatantly says "shitty" as an actual line in ALL TEED UP.  I thought I was hearing things, but my suspicions were confirmed in the audio commentary.

Mine arrived today!  Get out at work 12:30 on Friday and have a very rare weekend with zero plans or commitments, so it shall be glorious digging through this set.  Will post my thoughts.

Between this and watching and reviewing SPEAK EASILY, plenty of Hot Toddy this weekend!  Thelma Todd features on the cover, so I'm expecting a lot of her in this set.

General Discussion / Re: What's your fav Elton John?
« on: January 25, 2018, 05:54:37 PM »
...and since my link above is invalid, I'll repost my favorite Elton song.

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