Told in flash back, the stooges tell their son how he came to have three fathers. The stooges, owners of a pawn shop, owed money to the gashouse protection society, a bunch of loan sharks. ... See full summary »
Set in the old west, the stooges become marshals in a town with a high death rate for lawmen. The boys set out prevent a marriage between the villain Blackie and the heroine Nell, who's ... See full summary »
The stooges are bumbling electricians who decide to go away for a rest after they are fired for their incompetence. The rest home they choose is run by Dr. Mallard, a quack who cheats the ... See full summary »
The stooges are engaged to the three daughters of a prison warden. When they learn that some crooks have taken over the prison and their prospective father-in-law has been locked up, they ... See full summary »
The stooges are three small time actors looking for a job. They meet three girl dancers in the situation and get a small part in a big producers show at the shipyard. When the rest of the ... See full summary »
The stooges go out west for Shemp's health and get mixed up with some bad guys. The villains have locked up the Arizona Kid and their leader plans to marry his girl, Nell. The boys help the... See full summary »
Set in a desert land where the stooges run a restaurant, the boys set out to recover the stolen Rootin Tootin diamond after they learn from the thieves that the Emir of Shmo has absconded ... See full summary »
The stooges are dressed as Japanese soldiers for their job as magazine models. On their lunch break they go into a restaurant with their Japanese uniforms on causing the proprietor to ... See full summary »
To inherit a fortune, voice teacher Shemp must marry before six o'clock, but no girl will accept his proposal. Finally one of his repulsive students agrees to marry him, just in the nick of... See full summary »
The stooges are discharged from the army and go to see their fiancée, but find they have been dispossessed and the wedding is off until they find a home. The boys have trouble finding a ... See full summary »
The stooges are actors who can't seem to find a job, so they decide to jump off a high building and end it all. On the roof top they meet three girl dancers with the same idea. Before they ... See full summary »
Curly learns that he is named in the will of his rich uncle, so the boys head for the uncle's mansion to attend the reading of the will. They arrive on a dark and stormy night only to find ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?