The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962) Poster

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fung025 July 2012
It's pointless to review the Stooges movies by comparing them to the shorts. These are two very different artforms. The Stooges shorts are easy to like, the movies need a bit of willing suspension of adulthood.

I first saw Three Stooges in Orbit as a kid, and that's the way I'd suggest seeing it now. There are so many reasons I really love this film, but most of them won't make sense to a dried up adult.

Even in this computer-graphic age, there's so much here that a kid just has to enjoy. The flying submarine, for starters. What a concept - it both hearkens back to Jules Verne, and anticipates Terry Gilliam by several decades. The goofy aliens. As a kid I was scared of them, amused by them, and just transfixed by the alien-ness of them. The wacky rotoscope animation process the Stooges are working on. Could that really have worked?

The Stooges movies are very different from the shorts, in that they're actually about storytelling. But there's plenty of Stooge-mania along the way. The whole thing with the A-bomb in a dust storm is side-splitting. ("Visibility, zero!") The antics with a hole in the cellar wall, a pipe and a raygun. And others. But they're in support of a story.

I was always aware that these movie-length Stooges were very different from the ones I saw in the shorts. For one thing, Curly was gone. For another, they were a lot older. But they were still geniuses at what they did: creating a magical world of laughter and imagination.

To me, these creaky old low-budget films are cinema at its finest. They created a magical world for me when I was a kid. Decades later, they still play in my head.
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It's A Happy Memory For Alot of Baby Boomers
westegg9 December 2003
Sure, I know this film is not a great comedy, or even a good one. But for alot of us aging boomers this film is a sweet memory. It recalls a more innocent time in movies, and an appreciation for the Stooges in their autumnal years. And what's wrong with dancing Martians?
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Monotonous or momentous?
slymusic18 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
(Please note: "The Three Stooges in Orbit" has always been one of my favorite Stooge films since I was a teenager in the early 1990s, and it still is today. However, at the time I wrote the commentary below, I briefly began to have mixed feelings about the film. Anyhow, here is my commentary.)

I have read that "The Three Stooges in Orbit," directed by the usually great Edward Bernds, is not one of the better feature films that the Stooges made. Indeed, the story is not well put-together; it might have just been an excuse to incorporate stock footage from the Stooges' unsuccessful TV pilot "The Three Stooges Scrapbook" into the first twenty or so minutes of "Orbit." Adding to the flimsiness of sixties sci-fi production values are the appearances of the Martians; they are basically human bodies with hideously over-sized heads and embarrassingly unintelligible language. And the music score of Paul Dunlap, while somewhat interesting, may not be enough to enhance the picture. However, "The Three Stooges in Orbit" is still entertaining to watch, and the boys are greatly supported by their long-time pal Emil Sitka, who has a substantial role as the eccentric Prof. Danforth.

Here are some of my favorite highlights from "Orbit" (do not read on if you have not yet seen the picture). The model of the professor's tank/helicopter/submarine buzzes Curly-Joe while he takes a shower; he ends up dousing Moe, Larry, and the professor when they arrive to help him. The Stooges resemble Martians in their white costumes and makeup when the professor films them applying the latest dance craze for their faltering cartoon show. When Martians Ogg (George N. Neise) and Zogg (Rayford Barnes) hijack the professor's vehicle and traverse the sky while the Stooges hold on for dear life, Curly-Joe gets his head stuck in the ray gun that the Martians installed. While the Stooges help the professor fine-tune the vehicle before showing it to the Air Force brass, Larry accidentally squirts oil onto Curly-Joe's face; Joe, in turn, staggers onto the vehicle's controls, causing Moe to fearfully spin around on a helicopter blade. At a climactic moment, Moe figures out what the Martians are up to by reading the English subtitles off the screen; the boys then accidentally knock each other out in trying to knock out Ogg and Zogg. The Stooges make a total mess out of their demonstration of Prof. Danforth's vehicle for the Air Force. And finally, Curly-Joe proves he doesn't know how to work a hammer and chisel; Larry tries to help him, but he proves himself not much smarter.

So "The Three Stooges in Orbit" may not be the best feature film that the boys tackled. But I would like to believe that every film has its good points, and this film delivers at least a few laughs for the Stooge fan.
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Far from their best
psychoren200213 November 2006
First of all, let me tell you that I'm a huge stooge fan. I consider them one of the most underrated teams in comedy history, only supported by a huge fan base but not for the critics. The stooges are much more than Moe hitting the others or flying pies. But sadly, the last years of his glorious legacy are far from the rambocious, lunatic and uproarious days with Jerome "Curly" Howard or even with Shemp. And this movie is a clear example. Slow paced humor and only a few good jokes aren't enough for sustain a 90 minutes film. The old stooges try to do their best, but even the scrip doesn't help. The martians are fun to watch, Emil Sitka was always a good companion for the boys, but the overall feel is bittersweet. I prefer them in their legendary Columbia shorts, the kind of stuff that influenced Seinfield's trio Jerry, George and Kramer, and many many others.
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It Is One Of The Best Stooge Film's!!
jeremy-4420 June 1999
Hi Im 13 years old. I love the three stooges! The Three Stooges In Orbit! Is A Very Funny Movie I Have It!! Three Stooges In Orbit Is About The Three Stooges They Have A Job Hosting A Kids Tv Show Where They Show Their Cartoons Of Them!! And Work At A Space Station! One Day Curly Joe Hits A Button On The Space Ship That Takes Moe,Larry And Curly Joe, In Orbit! And Just Every Where!! And They Meet Some Aliens Ogg And Zogg!! They Are Crazy!! But What Are They Going To Do If They Don't Get The Space Ship Down In Time To Get To The TV Station To Host The Show!! Watch And Find Out... Very Good And Funny Movie!
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Aw Come On, This is Fun!
Bill-1626 December 2017
Don't you dare take this serious. Our Boys are up to the usual nonsense that can lead to nothing but mayhem. They have been doing it the same for about 35 years by this time. Sure they are in their 60's, except the 'kid', Curly Joe. Nothing they do makes sense and any normal person would walk away from the Flying Submarine. They do some genuine funny bits, some older than The Stooges themselves and many around from their Vaudeville days. But they hit the mark and are very funny. Relax and Enjoy this idiotic mindless comedy. "I don't think, I know it is funny". Get it? Did you catch that joke?
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Blueghost30 December 2011
To be honest I can't remember a whole lot from this film, but I do remember it being replayed a few times years back in the old UHF days. Whether I'm getting burnt out on reviewing other people's productions, or this was just not that good a film, I don't really know, but one of the few distinct memories I have of this film is the stooges riding the flying submarine absconded by the film's two antagonists.

Ayup, between "It's a Wonderful Life", one of the many bikini films by American International, or a Bob Hope review, the Stooges and various films from the 30s up through the mid 60s would air on television, and "The Three Stooges in Orbit" was one of them.

I didn't laugh a whole lot at this thing, but I was riveted to the antics because it was something different than "Days of our Lives" or any of the other midday drivel that was passed off to many a WASPy housewife during the 70s and 80s.

It's not a stellar production from the Stooges, but it's something to kill time.

Watch at your own risk.
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No Social Security...
simeon_flake17 January 2019
Rather than retread my own version of the old "Joe Derita as a stooge debate," I'll just say that when you accept the older 60s stooges for what they are, some of these films do get a bit better, after awhile. A point I already knew years ago seeing these for the first time, but sometimes, it's not bad to take a break from the short subjects and pop in a feature.

"Daze," and "Hercules," still make for slighty better fun, but orbit is still a good one. The plot is cornball as hell (obviously) and the martian makeup won't knock your socks off, but maybe Joe himself has his best perfromance as "Curly-Joe."

I have seen live clips of Derita with Moe & Larry where he seems to flex more persona, so maybe this speaks to the format of the actual Columbia films as to whether or not he was restrained or not overly overt as a comedic dynamo like the obvious Curly, or even Shemp.

Not to mention, a few of his Columbia solo efforts were pretty good...
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If this is their best, their worst must be torture
rocketXpert24 November 2003
First of all, the Stooges spend almost no time in orbit at all in this film. Maybe I was thinking of "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" when I thought this would be more space oriented. All that wouldn't matter if this had been any good.

The movie starts out with a somewhat interesting narration by a Peter Graves-like voice, giving us a history of the centuries of speculations of what shape Martian life might take. It turns out the "startling answer" to this question is that Martians look like guys in crude rubber masks that are a cross between Frankenstein's monster and the people from the "Twilight Zone" episode "Eye of the Beholder." In fact, one of them is a guy in a rubber mask. Why did his superiors go to the trouble of giving him cosmetic surgery to look human if he's going to go and disguise himself as a Martian? Mars is in a lot of trouble anyway, if their entire invasion consists of two soldiers creeping around an old man's house.

Somebody made a good point that at least the aliens speak another language instead of English, like so many sci-fi movies, but those scenes drag, as if the Martians are waiting for the viewers to catch up to the subtitles. This actually leads to one of the few humorous moments, where Moe does read the subtitles, but since this comes about fifteen minutes before the end of the movie, it doesn't help much.

Maybe the haunted house elements made me start thinking this was a lot like a literal, full-length, live action version of an old Hannah Barbera cartoon. The humor is so lame and predictable. How many times did somebody say some variation on, "I'm not dumb, you know," and then they go and do something dumb? Oh, look, somebody has just carefully laid out a bunch of pies while the Stooges are wreaking havoc in front of some distinguished army brass. I wonder what's going to happen next?

There's also a pointless romance between the professor's daughter and an army captain. They spend most of their time staring dreamily at each other. Later, you know the captain is at the door by the way the romantic music starts playing before she can even answer it, which is one of the unintentionally funny moments.

It's probably obvious I'm not a Three Stooges fan. I saw this as the second part of a double feature, and I stuck around to see if my opinion of them improved at all. I should've walked out like nearly the entire audience did. I did like that made for TV bio-pic where Paul Ben-Victor played Moe, however. I just apparently can't stand their shtick.
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The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962) **
JoeKarlosi4 January 2005
This is one of the weaker things the later Stooges did, and you can mark that down as coming from a lifetime fan of all their two-reel shorts (be they with Curly, Shemp or Joe) as well as their feature films with Curly Joe DeRita. This movie just flat out ain't very funny. Having Moe, Larry and Curly Joe tangle with old professor Emil Sitka and cool-looking Frankensteinian martians (well, they look cool to those of us who grew up loving cheesy monster movies) should have helped make for a sure fire bullseye. Instead, this nonsense is all over the place, hopping from one unfunny bit of business to the next, trying to fill in the running time with all sorts of unrelated junk (including a meaningless relationship for the professor's daughter). This makes their Joe Besser shorts like OUTER SPACE JITTERS and SPACE SHIP SAPPY look positively first-rate. ** out of ****
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These astronauts ain't from Project Apollo
bkoganbing12 April 2019
Our three heroes who are in the process of being kicked out by landlady Maudie Prickett answer an advertisement by nutty professor Emil Sitka who is conducting some way out experiments. But he's on the money because Martians have actually infiltrated the professor's household to spy and report on his progress.

This was one zany film and it had a lot of good laughs. The heavily made up Martians who talk in subtitled gibberish and gesture a lot remind me of Khrushchev and his UN temper tantrums.

As for Sitka who gets his share of laughs as well as the Three Stooges he's invented an all purpose land, air and sea vehicle that he gets the Stooges to test drive. Only Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe could pick up an atomic bomb from a desert test site and use it as a carburetor for the vehicle. It does come in handy for the final battle with the Martians.

This one I have to say approaches the short subject type zaniness that the 3 Stooges had in their prime.
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The Three Stooges in Orbit was one of the lamest films the boys were ever involved in
tavm2 October 2009
Having previously reviewed Soup to Nuts which had Ted Healy with Moe, Larry, and Shemp, Violent is the Word for Curly with Moe, Larry, and Curly, Swing Parade of 1946 with the same Stooge members, and Hold That Lion! with Moe, Larry, Shemp, and Curly-with hair!-in a cameo, I'm now going to review The Three Stooges in Orbit with Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe. This was the most lame thing I've seen them involved with before their subsequent cartoon series put them even lower in quality. I mean, the script doesn't really go anywhere, the romantic leads are soooo bland, and the only visual gag that I found even remotely funny was when the helicopter blades conveniently took some pies from a table and hit all those superior Army officers in their faces! (That, and a turn-the-table-top-over-to-reveal-something-different-under-it bit.) Emil Sitka, who's to the Stooges what James Finlayson is to Laurel & Hardy, seems almost a little embarrassed to have to do both comic scenes with the boys and then have to play it straight as the father of a grown woman. I did like seeing Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe made up entirely in white paint doing the Twist, then having them animated and seeing Moe reading the English subtitles of the Martians was another amusing bit. And some of the beginning credit animation was cool. And hearing the Hamms beer jingle ("From the land of sky blue waters...") and the Greyhound bus slogan ("Leave the driving to us") was pretty amusing. Otherwise, everything-especially the direction of the usually reliable Ed Bernds-was just tired and worn out. So on that note, I'd only recommend The Three Stooges in Orbit if you're a completist of the boys. P.S. Besides Bernds, two of the players-Edson Stroll who plays Captain Tom Andrews and George N. Neise who plays Ogg and an airline pilot-were also born in my birthtown of Chicago, Ill.
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