|Directed by||Del Lord|
|Produced by||Jules White|
|Written by||Felix Adler|
James C. Morton
|Music by||R.H. Bassett|
|Editing by||Charles Hochberg|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||April 26, 1935 (U.S.)|
|Running time||19' 33"|
|Preceded by||Pop Goes the Easel|
|Followed by||Pardon My Scotch|
Plot[edit | edit source]
Set during the American Civil War, the short begins with a Northern General (James C. Morton) assigning Larry, Moe, and Curly (as Operators 12, 14 and 15, respectively) to sneak behind enemy lines and obtain secrets. Disguising themselves as southern officers and taking the names Lieutenant Duck, Captain Dodge and Major Hyde, they insinuate themselves into the mansion of southern officer, Colonel Butts (Bud Jamison).
During preparations for a dinner party at the mansion, Curly, more interested in the Colonel's daughter, Miss Judith Butts (Phyllis Crane), manages to substitute a cake with a quilted potholder, resulting in a feather-coughing scene. The short concludes with an episode in which Larry and Curly disguise themselves as, respectively, Captain Dodge's father and wife. This leads to a controversial gag in which Major "Bloodhound" Filbert (Ted Lorch) inquires about Captain Dodge's baby. Moe runs off and brings in a swaddled infant, which is revealed to be black, thus giving away the Stooges' charade.
The three goofs run for their lives and hide in a "log" — which turns out to be a cannon — which is fired by the Confederates. The Union General wonders aloud where these three spies are. At that moment, the trio promptly land on the General from the sky.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- This is the first short where the Stooges are going through a patch of trees. Two Stooges, usually Larry and Curly, push the tree limbs forward before letting them go. When they let go, the trailing Stooge, usually Moe, has to duck a tree branch whipping back toward him. This repeats until eventually he forgets to duck and is struck by the branch. This is a recurring joke in the Stooge shorts.
- This is the first short in which the Stooges mention "Charlie". When the Stooges meet a guard, they often reference Charlie. The guard asks who Charlie is, and a Stooge replies that "everybody knows Charlie. He walks like this." The Stooges then demonstrate a silly walk until they get clear of the guard, at which point they take off running. This is a recurring joke in the Stooge shorts. In Uncivil Warriors, they actually meet a soldier named Charlie, who asks the Stooges, "Are you all looking for me?"
- When Moe swings his fist in a circle and bops Curly on the head (as he first did in the previous short, Pop Goes the Easel), Curly tries it for the first time. But Curly clearly cannot get the hang of it, as he keeps swinging and bopping himself.
- This is the first of several Stooge shorts in which they play enlisted soldiers. The Civil War was the setting for many of those shorts, and the Stooges fought for both sides (sometimes within the same short).
- In this short, Larry salutes, elbowing Moe in the face. Moe then salutes, elbowing Curly. Finally, Curly salutes, but since he is on the end, he cannot elbow anyone and grumbles to himself, "that's a coincidence!" This would be a recurring joke in the Stooge shorts.
- For the first time in this short, after something bad happens to Moe, one of the other two Stooges asks him, "What happened?" Moe replies, "Nothin'!" before striking Larry and Curly. This would be a recurring joke in the Stooge shorts.
- In one scene Curly supposedly gets 'whacked' by Moe without the viewing audience actually seeing it. This occurs when Curly is decorating the cake and the camera is focused on his hands. He makes a joking remark to Colonel Buttz's daughter stating: "I quit that job in the bakery. Oh, I got sick of the dough and thought I'd go on the loaf."
- The potholder gag would later appear in the Shemp-era short Three Hams on Rye during a live theatrical production.
- When Moe brings the black baby into the Colonel's office there is, in fact, an extra minute or two of footage wherein Moe attempts to explain how the baby got his dark complexion, but this was edited out for televised broadcast.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
Major "Bloodhound" Filbert is interrogating the Stooges, thinking them to be spies. In one such inquiry he asks about Moe's father, and Larry springs into action.
- Larry: (clutching his back) "Oo, pardon me, I gotta go lie down. I have a weak back."
- Major Filbert: "Pardon me...how long have you had a weak back?"
- Larry: "Oh, about a week back."
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Moe Howard and the Three Stooges; by Moe Howard , (Citadel Press, 1977).
- The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion; by Jon Solomon , (Comedy III Productions, Inc., 2002).
- The Three Stooges Scrapbook; by Jeff Lenburg, Joan Howard Maurer, Greg Lenburg (Citadel Press, 1994).
- The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History, From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons; by Michael Fleming (Broadway Publishing, 2002).
- One Fine Stooge: A Frizzy Life in Pictures; by Steve Cox and Jim Terry , (Cumberland House Publishing, 2006).