Stealing is a time honored tradition among comedians, and God bless them, I say—thanks to their thieving ways, we can directly compare comedy acts with different styles and of different eras and get a sense of what each brings to the table.
This is especially true, I think, where as here, the players are not at the top of their games. Great work tends to transcend its source material, and even if it's still identifiably the work of its creator, largely becomes something unique. Merely good work, on the other hand, especially when done in a hurry for money, tends to reveal its creator's default tendencies.
In this case, Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle and the Three Stooges all check themselves in as patients in a sanitarium and in each case, you can see them race for the tried and true. Chaplin leans on repetition and rhythm, Arbuckle on pratfalls and cross-dressing, the Stooges on destructive ineptitude. All did better work, but none more typical.
Charles Chaplin in The Cure (1917).
Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in Good Night, Nurse (1918).
The Three Stooges in Monkey Businessmen (1946) (in two parts).
My 2015 Wish List
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