Monday, November 15, 2010

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for BLOCK-HEADS and MALICE IN THE PALACE

The monthly Afternoon with the Boys was part of our Vernon Dent weekend, celebrating the release of Bill Cassara's new book VERNON DENT: STOOGE HEAVY.

First up, MALICE IN THE PALACE (1949), one of my favorite stooge flicks, and probably my favorite Shemp. Vernon Dent plays "Hassan Ben Sober" in this goofy caper where the stooges run a restaurant and come across a plot to steal Rootin Tootin's diamond. A bit of trivia, Curly (who was recovering from a stroke) was supposed to play the cook, making this one of the very few 3 Stooges movies with 4 stooges (the only one is HOLD THAT LION, where Curly plays an uncredited sleeping passenger on a train and does his trademark snoozing noises). There was even production material made advertising it but ultimately he was too weak to stay in the film, so Larry filled in as the cook, and did a fine job. Get it? Larry...did a Fine job? Ha! I'm hilarious!

Then, after a brief intermission, the feature was BLOCK-HEADS (1938): Stan is the kind of loyal but not-too-bright WWI soldier that when he's told to guard the trench while everyone else attacks, he does just that until he's relieved. 30 years later, he shoots down an aviator that he mistakes for a German, and he learns the war is over. His old war pal Ollie sees his picture in the paper and goes to visit him. Ollie is now happily married, by which I mean he's totally whipped and lives in fear of his wife. Stan causes all sorts of problems, culminating in blowing up the kitchen and getting into a little trouble with the neighbor's wife, Mrs. Gilbert (in a setup that's copied from their earlier WE FAW DOWN (1928)). Very funny.

Total Running Time: 73 minutes
My Total Minutes: 215,983
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