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Archive for April 16th, 2012

Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes and Will Sasso as Moe, Larry and Curly in new film on The Three Stooges

by Sam Juliano

Purveyors of unadulterated slapstick and a defining anarchy, The Three Stooges were initially seen in movie theatres in the late 30’s and early 40’s in short films that ran before features.  While competition in comedic circles was spirited at a time when Laurel & Hardy, Our Gang, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Will Hay, Wheeler & Woolsey, Abbott and Costello and the great Chaplin himself were all working to critical and audience acclaim, the Stooges make their mark specializing in physical farce and extreme slapstick.  With it’s eventual members all veterans of vaudeville, the group took hold when “Curly Howard” joined his older brother “Moe” and a friend Larry Fine, after the oldest Howard brother Shemp left to pursue a solo career in music.  (Shemp would later return to the act after Curly suffered a debilitating stroke, at a time when the groups very best shorts were behind them during the Curly years)  Some of the finest two reeler comedies ever made – A-Plumbing We Will Go, Micro-Phonies, Violent is the Word For Curly, An Ache in Every Stake and several others are among the 190 short films the comedy troupe produced – after Shemp died in 1955 suddenly, he was replaced by Curly Joe DeRita and Joe Besser – and the films enjoyed a major revival in the late 50’s in syndication.  On New York City’s WPIX a new generation grew up with the Stooges on “Officer” Joe Bolton’s “Three Stooges Funhouse” which ran for twelve years, beginning in 1958 on weekdays at 5:30 P.M.  Numerous times during the show’s impressionable tenure, Moe Howard spoke by phone to Officer Joe in conversations that were heard on air, and the Stooges underwent a renaissance for youngsters who has just then come upon their unique chemistry and incomparable brand of humor. (more…)

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Screen cap from moving Canadian drama "Monsieur Lazhar"

by Sam Juliano

Spring break for most is over, and the month of April  is at the mid-way point.  The weather has been glorious, the baseball season is now in full swing (Yankee fans are rejoicing the team’s comeback) and others continue to map out vacation plans.  In the Big Apple, movie fans are gearing up for this week’s opening of the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, and Wonders in the Dark has been awarded two permanent passes for the entire festival as a result in large measure because of Dennis Polifroni’s friendship with one of the schedule coordinators.  It will be a very busy week and a half of film going, and a comprehensive report will be posted at the event’s conclusion.

Our good friend R.D. Finch at The Movie Projector will be hosting a William Wyler blogothon in early June, and yours truly will be contributing an essay.  It is hoped that readers will be checking on the daily postings in what is sure to be an enriching event.  As a result of Finchy’s exciting venture (his first blogothon as a host) I have decided to hold back the planned start of the Comedy Countdown until a week after R.D’s blogothon concludes.  I will be sending out a group e mail with specifics by the end of the month.

Lucille and I (and the kids for some) were again busy on the movie front.  We saw:

Habemus Papam   ****      (Tuesday night)     IFC Film Center

Keyhole    * 1/2            (Tuesday night)             IFC Film Center

The Cabin in the Woods ****         (Friday afternoon)   Secaucus multiplex

Monsieur Lazhar  **** 1/2                  (Friday night)        Angelika Film Center

The Three Stooges  *** 1/2             (Saturday night)      Chelsea Cinemas

Footnote  **** 1/2      (Friday night)        Angelika Film Center (more…)

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