Wednesday, October 24, 2007

WOMAN HATERS, PART DEUX

LarryandMarjorie

Here is part two of The Three Stooges In "Women Haters" (1934). Things to look for: According to Wikipedia (and, as we know, they've been known to make things up) the first "Nyuck, Nycuk" ever from Curley is delievered at about the sixteen minute mark of the movie (which in this segment would be around five/six minutes). And the denoument on the train is worth examining--Marjorie White sits in the boys berth and claims that the piece of paper that binds them as members of the Woman Haters club is null and void because "everybodys cheated, I can prove it and I know--move over!" Moe then shouts "Move over?" and he and Curley tumble out of the train window. Is her presence on the bed (and the threat that she will "prove" her dominant sexuality) and their horror of this agressivness suggestive of her preparing to sexually entrap all three of them at once? ("I can prove it...") And is such a thought--a Stooge menage a foursome--healthy to even contemplate?

Also: at the end of the film, as the camera pans across the wood paneled wall at the headquarters of the "thirtieth annual meeting of the Woman Hater's Club" (as the man is on his way to admit Larry) there is an exquisite BOOM SHADOW on the wall that lingers a nice long time--oddly I never noticed it until viewing the film on my computer. It's presence may suggest a couple of things: one, that this film wasn't considered important enough for retakes or even second or third takes. Or perhaps the film was a good deal more difficult to make than the average two-reeler, what with the live singing on the set, the low background piano accompaniment (see previous post), the timing of the lyrics and the slapstick...it's possible that, after many takes blown for other more pressing reasons, Gottler, the director, was told about the boom shadow and simply decided to live with it...after all, who the hell was ever really going to EXAMINE THIS LITTLE MOVIE...(At the time of its creation the thought of the movie being beamed around the world, seventy-five years later, on as yet undreamed of and unthought of wireless airwaves would have seemed not only implausible but quite simply mad...)

stoogecard Finally, I can't leave the subject of "Woman Haters" without a confession. This will mark me as more than a little strange in some people's books, but the final shot and fade out of this movie literally moves me to tears--only the last shot in Antonioni's "The Passanger" and the final image of Norma Desmond in "Sunset Blvd." move me in quite the same way. I'm serious. There the Stooges are, staring off at their future. It's the end of their first solo outing--they were rid of the obnoxious Ted Healy, their former partner--and they stand at the brink of their Columbia two-reeler futures. And yet they are also "old men"--singing of eternal love ("my life! my love! my all!")--which suggests a sense of timeless, eternal brotherhood. Indeed, this brotherhood was real and never to be broken. Vaudeville vets Moe and Jerry Howard and their friend Larry Fine came up together in the rough and tumble lowlands of showbiz and--as time would tell--NEVER GAVE UP THE ACT. (Only terminal illness took Curley away--and reluctantly as we'll see...)The final nose tweaks and eye pokes are as eloquent as caresses and the fade out, as the Stooges hold their positions proudly if shakily, has the quiet dignity of a breeze blowing away a memory...



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