Mr. Schmidt's costume store is bankrupt because he spends his time on Rube Goldberg-style inventions; the creditors send a young manager who falls for Schmidt's niece Louise, but she'll ... See full summary »
Mr. Schmidt's costume store is bankrupt because he spends his time on Rube Goldberg-style inventions; the creditors send a young manager who falls for Schmidt's niece Louise, but she'll have none of him. Schmidt's friends Ted, Queenie, and some goofy firemen try to help out; things come to a slapstick head when Louise needs rescuing from a fire. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Vaudeville on film - its weaknesses are also its strengths
What we appear to have here are some vaudeville comedians trying to bring their acts to the screen assisted by a story from comic strip artist Rube Goldberg. It doesn't seem likely that any of them knew much about making movies no matter how good they may have been at making people laugh in their normal venues. The result is a mostly haphazard collection of lame gags with a few totally inane scenes thrown in for "plot" development. It isn't a total loss, however, because this fundamental weakness turns out also to be the film's greatest strength. Not knowing what they were doing, they manage to create a movie with a truly unusual and unique approach to film comedy. No matter how bad it may be, there are a few moments of hilarity delivered in a style you'll not see anywhere else.
What really makes this worthwhile for most viewers, however, is it being the film debut of the 3 Stooges. Their skit near the end of the movie is basically a filmed vaudeville routine and is quite a bit different from the familiar act they eventually developed for their later shorts, but it's probably the closest we'll ever come to seeing what they originally looked like when performing on stage (and our only chance to see bizarre "fourth stooge" Fred Sanborn). No 3 Stooges fan should ever consider passing up the opportunity to see this.
Let me also say that many of the other reviews here seem very unfair to Ted Healy, the Stooges original leader. From what I've read, the Stooges always thought very highly of his talents, but eventually got tired of his drunken binges and not being given the credit (or money) they deserved. In fact, it was after an early split with Healy that Shemp refused to return to work for him, thus requiring younger brother Curly to be brought in as a replacement (although much maligned by Stooge fans, Shemp does go on to be the only one of them with a successful film career independent of being a stooge). Healy, a big vaudeville star, seemed on his way to becoming a big film star before being killed in a bar fight during one of his drunken binges. Having never had the chance to see him in vaudeville, it hardly seems fair to judge him based on a few movies he made while still learning how to make the transition.
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