Friday, May 24, 2013

The Three Stooges--Three Troubledoers

Three Troubledoers has the Stooges revisiting the Old West.  The trio’s westerns are generally weak as far as I am concerned, but I was fairly amused by this one even though it is another in which the rest of the cast must compensate for the ailing Curly.   Fortunately, the guest stars are particularly good in Three Troubledoers

The Stooges are cowboys arriving at the town of Dead Man’s Gulch.  The fifth sheriff in six months has just been killed by Badlands Blackie, an outlaw terrorizing the town.   Blackie has also kidnapped the father of the most beautiful girl in town, Nell, in order to blackmail her into marrying him.  The Stooges take pity and intervene.   Curly inadvertently chases Blackie off an becomes the new sheriff.  Moe and Larry are appointed deputies.

Nell promises to marry curly if he saves her father.  He agrees, but proves in ept as sheriff to the point nell decides she has no choice but to marry Blackie.  The Stooges come to her rescue with the help of a bazooka.  They defeat Blackie’s gang and save Nell’s father, but he refuses to bless the nuptials between Nell and Curly.   In an especially sadistic moment, curly hands Nell’s father a lit stick of dynamite to kill him.  Nell grabs it from him and uses it to chase the Stooges out of town.

Three Troubledoers is after curly suffered his first stroke.  While his performance is more spirited than in recent shorts, he is clearly struggling.  His speech is slurre and his timing is off.  He takes far less abuse than usual, too.  The short relies an everyone else to pick up the slack.   They do so well.

Three Troubledoers is much more a screwball comedy than your usual Stooge fare.  They do not ish out much abuse as they are trying to play heroes.  It is tough to watch Curly’s decline, but the other cast members get so many opportunities to shine, you do not have much time to dwell on the melancholy sight. 

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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