Movie Maniacs [1936]

Genre: Comedy, Short
"Movie Maniacs" (1936), the Three Stooges' 13th Columbia short, is one of their better efforts. It spoofs movies and, as Moe puts it, the thousands who know nothing about making them. It also gives us a wonderful chance to see the vaudeville routine with Curly in drag and Larry as the debonair suitor, not to mention Moe's method of teaching acting by having Larry and Curly manipulate a couple of actors like hand puppets. But like so many of their other shorts, the weak ending has them simply running away when found out to be phonies. "Dutiful But Dumb" (1941, short #54) has a feeble plot, but it does have the classic confrontation of Curly with a very fresh oyster stew and also being a one-man band inside of a radio. In this film, he takes on the Harpo Marx ability to come up with a convenient, albeit outlandish, prop from out of his jacket. When a firing squad officer grants Curly a last smoke, he produces a two-foot cigar. When trapped within the radio, he happens to have all sorts of musical instruments to draw upon. In "Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise" (1939, #42), Curly enjoys the supernatural power to have his wishes granted in a perfectly ordinary (though highly coincidental) way. This short has an actual plot, with a beginning, middle, and end, as the boys try to help a widow and her three lovely daughters regain a deed to the oil-filled land she had just sold to the baddies at $50 an acre. Because these shorts are presented out of chronological order, you will hear the same joke in two of them. Moe: "What's your name, so I can tell your mother?" Curly: "My mother already knows my name." --Frank Behrens

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