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Half-Wits Holiday (1947)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  9 January 1947 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 324 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 1 critic

A professor seeks to prove his theories about environment versus heredity by turning three boorish plumbers into gentlemen.

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Title: Half-Wits Holiday (1947)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Curly (as Curly)
...
Larry (as Larry)
...
Moe (as Moe)
Vernon Dent ...
Barbara Slater ...
Theodore Lorch ...
Prof. Sedletz (as Ted Lorch)
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Storyline

A professor bets one of his colleagues that he can turn the stooges into gentlemen within 60 days. With the help of his pretty daughter, the professor tries to teach the boys proper etiquette. However, the boys take the chance to flirt with the professor's daughter while learning table etiquette. After many frustrating attempts, he introduces the stooges into society at a fancy party. At first things go all right, but the party soon degenerates into a wild pie fight. Written by Mitch Shapiro <mshapiro@a.crl.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Stooges' latest she-nanigans. (One-sheet poster).

Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

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Release Date:

9 January 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

No Gents... No Cents  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production number 4056. See more »

Quotes

Curly: [to Professor Quackenbush as they rehearse eating an invisible dinner] "Pardon me, what are we eating now?"
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Connections

Referenced in The Three Stooges (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Curly's Swan Song
22 February 2003 | by (Phoenixville, PA USA) – See all my reviews

HALF-WITS' HOLIDAY was Curly Howard's sad swan song. Riding high from his amazing performance in the previous Stooge short, THREE LITTLE PIRATES, it is hard to believe that Curly suffered a major stroke during the final days of filming. Curly has already suffered a minor stroke ten films prior to this one, and his performances were up and down after that. In some films, he was more or less his old self. In others he was sickly.

The short is a story remake of the Stooges' 1935 film, HOI POLLOI, in which a professor (Vernon Dent) wagers a colleague (Ted Lorch) that he can transform the Stooges into refined gentleman. The short itself is paced slower and more gradually than HOI POLLOI, which moves at a very brisk pace. Some of the action has been shifted from Curly to Larry, as Curly was no longer able to caryy our full sequences anymore, due to his illness. In this film, Curly's voice (which had been strained for his last few films) is more high-pitched than usual, and his actions are more natural. One would think that filming was happening simultaneously with THREE LITTLE PIRATES. Contrary to what author Jeffrey Forrester wrote in his book "The Stooge Chronicles," Curly's overall performance is not that sluggish. The first scene where they boys are working on the fireplace is an example on Jules White giving Curly's lines to Larry, as Curly remains mute for most of this scene, and doesn't have a line until nearly three minutes into the film (`Our father would never forgive us'). However, his mock eating scenes with Moe and Vernon Dent are his last great moments on film. There is a spirited `woo woo woo' when the butler (played by new character actor Emil Sitka) announces `luncheon is served.' Instead of having Curly handle scenes with a few others, he is reduced to sharing the screen only with Moe. Larry and Moe then handle the plucking of the hand hair under the table routine. Curly even gets a few close-ups of applying lipstick. Which unfortunately, reveal how badly his 42-year old face had been ravaged from his illness. Maybe his body was giving him a break before finally falling apart altogether. It starts to show by the party scenes. Curly is already looking tired and his voice is starting to deepen again. As documented in The Columbia Comedy Shorts, Curly was having serious problems mastering brief dialogue when first talking to party guest. Larry starts with `delighted,' followed by Moe: `devastated;' and then Curly: `Dilapidated.' The final result may look OK, but Jules White later commented `I had a devil of a time. I should have realized then that (Curly) was deteriorating even further.' Then, when Curly bends over to pick up the silverware that falls out of his tuxedo jacket, he looks like as old man. Curly had a stroke on the set during the filming of the pie fight. This explains his absence during this scene. Moe had found poor Curly with his head slumped on his shoulder. Moe had Curly rushed to the local hospital, and then completed the pie fie shots with Larry. One must watch Moe and Larry, realizing that while throwing pies, their thoughts were preoccupied with images of Curly's head slumped on his chest, unable to speak. What makes HALF-WITS' HOLIDAY all the more fascinating is that even though the film was a remake of HOI POLLOI, only the storyline is reworked. This would become the standard practice when it came to remakes during the Shemp until 1952, when entire scene were lifted from older Shemp films due to tightening budgets. No older footage is used here, which is commendable. During Curly's tenure with the Stooges, only one remake was made, and not out of budgetary constraints. Had this been a post-1952 remake, then footage of HOI POLLOI may have been inserted to make up for Curly's absence. Curly's premature departure from the filming of HALF-WITS' HOLIDAY actually helped the Stooges in the future, as the pie fight footage would be reused several times in the future. Without Curly in the shots, the footage was generic and had great flexibility. Footage from the 1941 Stooge pie film IN THE SWEET PIE AND PIE could easily have been inserted here to remind us that Curly was in this short, but Jules White never quite resorted to this tactic. HALF-WITS' HOLIDAY is a final word on Curly Howard as a full time Stooge. Though Curly's older brother Shemp would step into the act to keep the Stooges going, the films lost a special charm. Shemp was a gifted comedian, and added a different flavor to the Stooge comedies that many fans and critics have criticized him for, but the youth of the Stooges left with Curly's departure, ending the career of one of the greatest comics of his time.


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