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My first Stooge experience in the early '70s was actually just catching a brief scene that consisted of a parent telling their son he could watch TV for another half hour, and the Stooges were either appearing on TV or else they were inside of it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I have seen the full film since, but for the life of me, I don't recall which one that scene is in!

The first full film that I saw around 1976 was HAVE ROCKET~WILL TRAVEL (1959), the first of the "Curly Joe" era features, although I wasn't aware of that at the time.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Spite Marriage (1929) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by metaldams on Today at 09:44:58 PM »


      ...and so the downfall begins, kind of.  SPITE MARRIAGE is not a total disaster, in fact in has its good moments of the kind you won't be seeing much of in future Keaton films.  That said, this is the first time we are introduced to the Elmer character, a mainstay in the rest of the films we'll be reviewing.  Previous, Keaton characters, while having the occasionally dumb moments, generally turn out to be resourceful guys who do creative and funny things to get by in this world.  Look at THE GENERAL as an example and the endless train gags Keaton uses to keep the northern soldiers at bay.  The Elmer character is pretty much a straight forward idiot...a character that works well for The Three Stooges.  For Keaton, however, I just feel pity.  Fortunately, bits of the old Keaton show up in the second half of the film.

      The first half of the film, though?  Keaton falls for a woman completely unworthy of his attention and acts like a complete idiot in public.  Last week in THE CAMERAMAN, Keaton falls for a beautifu, understanding, and supportive Marceline Day.  Contrast it to this week to Dorothy Sebastian's Trilby Drew character.  Like the title suggest, Drew only gets together and marries Keaton out of complete spite because her wanted lover falls for someone else.  A lot of drama is dedicated to Keaton falling for such an unworthy character.  Also, through circumstance, Keaton gets into a stage play, (Drew is an actress Keaton stalks by watching her play every night for weeks on end), where he has to kiss Drew.  What follows is a series of gags that simply show what an idiot Elmer is.  Knocking down scenery, entering through the curtain in the middle of the action, awkwardly holding Drew while kissing her as if he's never touched a woman before...absolutely no resourcefulness we know and love Keaton for.

      Character wise, about halfway through the film, things get better for Keaton.  As he's told by Drew's wanted lover that she just married Keaton out of spite by being rejected, Keaton punched the man in the face, the first time Elmer mans up.  From here, through circumstance, Elmer and Drew are on a yacht together.  Elmer's last act of idiocy is accidentally setting a fire below deck, but as everybody on board leaves and Drew's lover escapes instead of saves her (similar to plot device in THE CAMERAMAN with the speedboat scene), Keaton takes out the fire and becomes a resourceful guy.  Eventually a gang of criminals get on board and the leader tries to rape Drew.  Elmer knocks him out with a wine bottle and is excellent in getting the other criminal gang members knocked out.  Some great parts include a very cute Drew strutting her figure and smile to the bad guys to go after her as Elmer knocks them out.  The best gag, though, is when a criminal crew guy needs to fix gauges below deck and tells Elmer.  Elmer keeps asking if everything is fixed, and when it finally is, delivers the knockout blow.  That's a prime Keaton gag.

      As far as physical comedy, no breathtaking classics, which you'll never see in an MGM film, but some good stuff.  Great overhead shots of Keaton painting the top of the ship, as well as Keaton being thrown overboard, only to grab onto a rope tied the the sail of the ship to prevent falling below.  Great stuff.  The well regarded scene of Keaton putting a drunk Dorothy Sebastian to bed needs a mention.  In this scene, she is completely out cold and motionless, so Keaton picks her up and finds several different ways to fail getting her limp body in bed.  A wonderful bit of physical comedy Keaton would do with his real life wife, Eleanor, on stage later in life.  Actually, Dorothy Sebastian, who does a fine job here but was saddled with an unsympathetic role, was friends with Keaton for years and they even had an affair.  She will appear in the later Educational short, ALLEZ-OOP. 

      On its own, not a bad film.  Just disappointing based on what came before, but worth seeing for any Keaton fan.  Next week though, the first half Elmer shows up much more often, and is even given dialogue to match.  Hang on tight.

7/10

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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
« Last post by Tony Bensley on Today at 09:39:07 PM »
Please explain the lighthearted racial overtones in the title.  I'm missing it.
Pronouncing the "J" in Joke with a "Y" could be interpreted as the then common stereotype of Asians having trouble pronouncing certain English letters, such as "J" and "L" (Commonly substituted with "R" in old movies and in early television.), although I may have misinterpreted that in this case, as Eggs do indeed, figure in this short. 

It also occurs to me that lighthearted may have been a poor choice of wording on my part. Mild, but insensitive (Assuming the first interpretation!) is probably a more accurate description.

CHEERS!  [3stooges]
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Please explain the lighthearted racial overtones in the title.  I'm missing it.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
« Last post by Tony Bensley on Today at 06:45:55 PM »
Well, I just gave this short a fresh viewing.  Apart from the unfortunate Japanese Relocation Center reference at about 6 minutes in, and that the Japanese escapees do appear to be dead (Although watch for the impaled escapee, whose left forearm moves at around 15:30!), I found this short to be a fairly enjoyable one.  Of course, the title itself is a light hearted racial jab, if light hearted can be considered an apropos phrasing.

Having read a bit about the internment camps and relocation centers, which I've long had a sketchy awareness of, and especially viewing the 1942 JAPANESE RELOCATION short narrated by Milton S. Eisenhower (Which I find doubly ironic, given the German American relocations - The Eisenhowers were of German descent!), I can see that wartime theater goers were supposed to view this in the context of the relocations being necessary for National security, however obviously wrongheaded we can see that was when viewed through our 2017 lenses.

With all that said, I give this short 7/10.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
« Last post by Tony Bensley on Today at 06:06:46 PM »
Interesting posts, Tony and Paul.  I'm going to have to do further research on what you guys are talking about.
What I've discovered about the mistreatment of German Americans just today is both eye opening and heartbreaking!  I can message you some links if you wish.

I'd like to think we're well past this sort of thing, but it seems the current administration has a lot of minorities and people of varying sexual preferences and gender identifications very nervous.  Just love and respect one another, and let everybody have the same rights, I say.

But, I severely digress!  Regarding THE YOKE'S ON ME, although I did see it not that long ago, I somehow missed the Japanese relocation references, as I believe I dozed off while viewing this particular short.  I'll have to view this one again, soon!

CHEERS!  [3stooges]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
« Last post by metaldams on Today at 05:18:21 PM »
Interesting posts, Tony and Paul.  I'm going to have to do further research on what you guys are talking about.
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Hercules (laughed that the horse counted as a villain)
Kind of thrown off by the remake thing, which made essentially the same character appear twice.  It is what it is, cool concept.

The horse counted as a villain TWICE!  [pie]

I counted the remakes separate just because sometimes the villains were also given new scenes (e.g. Kenneth McDonald in SCHEMING SCHEMERS).
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Arabian
Gypped (Jean Willes at her best)
Dunked (wait a minute, same guy in Commotion above)
Lion
Matri-Phony (redheads rock)
Who Done It
Outer Space
Bird
Daisy
Boobs
Back from the Front
Cowpunchers
Conga
Dicks (with Boobs above, somebody not in the the know would wonder what the Hell I'm typing)
Collars
Sappy
Nazty
Indian
Horses
Mummy's
Casanova (Connie rules)
Schemers
Squareheads
Mummy
Pigskins
Loafers
Roomers
Tricky
Hula
Hercules (laughed that the horse counted as a villain)
Flagpole
Curs

Kind of thrown off by the remake thing, which made essentially the same character appear twice.  It is what it is, cool concept.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: The Yoke's On Me (1944)
« Last post by Paul Pain on Today at 05:13:05 AM »
Italians and Germans didn't even have to do anything to get mistreated.  In my home state of Rhode Island, the moment war was declared all the English and Irish went up the legendary Federal Hill and took away every Italian's radio, weapons (which very few had), and valuables.  One local radio celebrity was vacationing in Hawaii when he was kidnapped and forced onto a plane to Montana (remember, this is December) where he was abandoned to figure out on his own how to get home.
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