Clipped Wings (1953)
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** (out of 4)
After an Air Force buddy is arrested for selling secrets to spies, Slip (Loe Gorcey) and Sach (Huntz Hall) go to visit him but accidentally get enlisted. Soon they're wrecking havoc while trying to track down the truth behind their friend's arrest. This might have been the thirty-first entry in the series but it was only the second to feature Bernds as director and co-writer. Those familiar with the Three Stooges are going to see many familiar things here including more physical violence and of course we have Hall doing various impersonations of items you'd previously seen from Curly. I don't think this entry is nearly as good as LOOSE IN London but at least it still remains somewhat fresh and different from many of the previous films. The biggest problem is that there just aren't enough jokes that actually work. At just 65-minutes the movie has a very good pace and it actually goes by pretty quickly but we needed many more jokes. One of the best moments in the film happens when Sach accidentally gets put into a female bunker and we get countless jokes of him being the stub of the bunch. Another good moment happens later when Slip breaks in to try and get Sach out of the room but ends up causing a panic and hearing a few of the women's comments on him was quite funny. Once again both Gorcey and Hall seem to be game for everything going on as both seem more energized and each certainly helps keep this thing moving. Bernard Gorcey is back as Louie but has very little to do. Lyle Talbot appears quickly in a couple scenes but doesn't have any dialogue. Cult favorite June Vincent plays the bad girl. The ending of the film is going to remind many people of a few Abbott and Costello films and especially KEEP 'EM FLYING. While CLIPPED WINGS isn't one of the better entries in the series it at least remains someone fresh and I'm sure fans of the series will want to check it out.
**** Clipped Wings (8/14/53) Edward Bernds ~ Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Todd Karns, Renie Riano
As you would expect it's that lucky stiff Sach who gets the best of the bargain by being assigned by the what seemed like near sighted, who must have forgot to put his glasses on, Col Davenport to the WACK, womens, unit on he air force base. As for the unlucky Slip he's assigned to the company with the toughest and most ill tempered Sergent on the base Sgt. Brodsky. It's Sgt. Brodsky who ends up getting a king size headache when he tries unsuccessfully to turn Slip into an obedient and bowing to authority air force man.
As the boys soon find out Dave Moreno is no traitor to his country he's working undercover with US Air Froce security and FBI to nab a number of Soviet spies who are trying to get their hands on top secret military documents involving US missile defense. This puts Slip & Sach in the middle of this espionage ring in trying to get the spies before they gets their hands on Moreno, who's really in protective custody not jail, and torture the truth, about the Air Force secret projects, out of him!
We also haver in the movie fellow "Bowery Boys" Butch & Chuck as well as sweet shop owner Louie Dumbrowsky get into the act in them helping save Moreno from his captors the Soviet spies! I've began to notice over the last few "Bowery Boys" films that this trio of klutzes, Butch Chuck & Louie, always seem to get into he act no matter what the circumstances are. Like here without any military clearance in being able to get into a top secret and off limits to civilians air force base during, this while the Korean War was still being waged, wartime! And all they seem to do is only make thing worse then they already are!
***SPOILERS*** Great final sequence with Sach taking to the air with Slip reluctantly coming along on a remote controlled plane that's targeted to be shot top pieces by USAF saber jets for target practice! Without knowing what he's doing Sach lands the bullet riddled plane just outside the spies hideout where they have Moreno held hostage. This leads to a wild free for all with Slip using his amazing footwork and boxing abilities to put the spies to sleep. But the real surprise in this whole fracas was the truth serum that the Soviet spies planed to used on Dave Moreno to get him to talk! Slip used it on them to get the spies to convict themselves saving the US militry the cost of trying them!
Edward Bernds, who worked on some of the Three Stooges shorts, had a hand in writing this one and directing so it's more slick than some others in the series. This is only one of a few Bowery Boys entries in which Bernds took part, and those films are usually all the better for it.
The Boys were pure slapstick comedians by this time, but provide only occasional chuckles as Slip and Sach unwittingly enlist in the Air Force while trying to help out a pilot friend in trouble.
So-So Bowery Boys.
Actually, the slapstick duo is trying to locate the whereabouts of their recently arrived former Bowery buddy Dave Moreno (Todd Karns) who's been arrested for stealing government military secrets. He's an Air Force lieutenant, eventually revealed to be working undercover to help nab some foreign agents who the Air Force brass are trying to smoke out and capture.
To set up a highly improbable scenario, Slip and Sach inadvertently commandeer a radio controlled military plane that's supposed to be the target of fighter craft in a routine simulation. Surviving a forced landing, the Boys get the upper hand on the story's villains by injecting them each with a truth serum, thereby leading to their arrest and a major espionage plot foiled.
For once I'd have to say that the film makers really got Sach's character right. Through a slip up, he's assigned to a women's military barracks, leading to a round of expected hijinks, especially when Slip shows up to double the fun. This of course means that Sach finally found his true calling when it came to military matters, he wound up a total WAC job.
There's little of the other Bowery Boys, although Hall and Leo Gorcey's Slip do get a visit from Louie (Bernard Gorcey). Riano is a sour pussed delight, while Mary Treen is pretty much in the background as one of the female airmen. Fast and furious, this is no different than other comedies where idiots end up in military service.