FILM: Flat Foot Stooges
You'll get used to it after you've been here a while. That goes on practically every morning." Says a fellow firehouse resident of their Stooge co-workers as they embark upon their trademarked stoogery. That said, the boys at the firehouse seem to be getting quite a through-the-fourth-wall kick out of the ensuing shenanigans. They seem to be barely holding it together.
"I'm a victim of circumstance" Larry takes a shot at Curly's familiar line. Then continues, "I feel so silly." There are complexities in the delivery here which are not seen at play since the times of Shemp. Transversely and later, as the trio treat the horses to a spa treatment, Curly can't take a shower because he "ain't got no bathing cap!" And we see Curly's mass appeal hard at work.
As the spa continues, OMFG DID THEY BREAK THAT POOR HORSE'S NECK? Someone, alert PETA!!! Also in keeping with 1938 sensibilities, that chick packs a wallop! The funny there is in the surprise there - because in Three Stooges land, a lady might just get decked. Equal rights is equal rights. Women are not above the short end of the slapstick. Fear not, however, as the chief's (Chester Conklin) daughter (Lola Jensen) devolves into a far more comfortable damsel in distress by the story's end.
Moe: Do you smell anything?
Curly: No, especially smoke!
Is there any wonder that Curly is the King of Stooges according to popular opinion? He would never discuss social issues while doing his namesake shuffle. His genius is in confining his genius to slapstick.
Moe: This is my brainchild.
Curly: You're not even married!
(Arbitrary rules of love dictated by narrow-mindedness and bestowed upon us by the every-man.)
We'll save the day yet! Is gloriously followed by a stooge clusterfuck. I chuckled. This is not a guffaw short, but chuckles are in long supply.
Not all comedy is timeless, but we can learn and then laugh: when our boys see they're stooging off in the wrong direction, Curly quips "Hey, we're doing the Corrigan!" This is a newsy poke at Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan, who, with all the navigational skills of Christopher Columbus - had recently returned from a transcontinental flight from Brooklyn to Long Beach. Instead of returning to New York, his pitch was "Ju-uuu-ust a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed."...read more (2/2)
Ireland. Wrong Way went to Ireland. In his defense, he found no Indians there.
Since you don't make 190 shorts without having a few rush-jobs thrown in, the boys stumble over their lines here and there. This is due to director Charley Chase's directing style being akin to pulp writing. Chase was known to rarely stop for retakes. He was known, however, to finish ahead of schedule, and to finish often. He was quite prolific. The result here is a very not crisp and un-sharp offering.
"I can't hear you on account of the bell" Comes Larry's reply to Moe's questioning if he heard the bell in The Stooges prior turn as Firemen in 1936's False Alarms - which in my opinion is a far superior short. All told, Flat Foot Stooges is an enjoyable enough romp that left me rather distractible but mostly there and smiling throughout.
Final Grade: C-
Reviewer's note: I firmly believe that words should be strong enough to not mandate pictorial assistance. Furthermore, a review shall not, if done well, require the viewing of its subject in order to have value. All that clearly stated, here is Flat Foot Stooges in its entirety. Enjoy.
Flat Foot Stooges - release date: December 5, 1938