Radiator repairmen at KGBY help a soprano land a job.
Her father disapproves (cp. White’s Sweet and Hot).
The revelation gag of Singin’ in the Rain.
A Bird in the Head
“A bird in the head’s worth two in the bush!” This droll little plaything, a remembrance of Mussolini, opens with a gag on Van Gogh, and quickly becomes the model for Hot Cross Bunny, Robert McKimson’s greatest Bugs Bunny cartoon, perhaps (also for a brilliant I Love Lucy episode), as well as being recalled in Edwards’ The Pink Panther.
The Three Troubledoers
Great joke on saving Nell’s father the blacksmith of Dead Man’s Gulch from Badlands Blackie of Skullbone Pass.
Disconnected electricians take a long rest cure at a quack health farm as in Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety.
Three Little Pirates
A garbage scow crew from New York land on Deadman’s Island in a reflection of Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn.
Curly is the Rajah of Canarsie in thick glasses, turban and robes, a gag for Have Rocket—Will Travel.
The grand original of Fling in the Ring, with less of Big Mike and more of the warehouse settling a fixed fight with moth balls.
The Van Gogh mystery solved (Moe sawed his ear off while Nell was upstairs singing and the cavalry was on its way, cp. Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller, also Dudley Do-Right for Jacques O’Mahoney’s performance as the Arizona Kid).
An absolutely surreal concentration of Keaton’s Seven Chances.
Pardon My Clutch
The basis in the can of Wham-Bam-Slam!, re-edited and re-attuned. The same fraud healer and his Columbus jalopy, it’s wanted for the movies by a nutter, the phony doctor joins him.
Squareheads of the Round Table
A softshoe in suits of armor.
“Millions of women marry Smiths every day,” but this horseshoer (Jock Mahoney) loves Princess Elaine, the Black Prince wants her and the throne.
The Three Stooges are troubadours.
The Hot Scots
The magnificent original of Scotched in Scotland (and Hot Ice), directed by Jules White.
Used-chariot dealers swindle the chief of the palace guard, who with the chief tax collector are robbing King Rootentooten of funds.
The basket of money walks and has a periscope when the new chamberlains hide in it. Shemp adopts the disguise of Puttentaket, the former king now mummified.
The biblical air of the piece certainly reflects Daniel and Joseph, to say the least.
Crime on Their Hands
Savage gangsters (“I love rubbin’ out reporters”) would rip a diamond from Shemp’s guts, the power of the press stirs a caged gorilla that subdues them and afterward takes a share of credit.
Who Done It?
The flair of Feuillade and The Phantom Gang assailing prominent citizens, one of the latter calls Larry, Shemp and Moe as detectives who ferret out the plotters in his own home.
The original of Jules White’s Hot Stuff.
This adds a clarification and criticism to A Plumbing We Will Go, the portrait of a gentleman.
The owner disprizes it, the Stooges save it and refuse a reward, two-to-one.
Bernds’ further consideration of Out West, the cavalry is undercover to get the killer Dillons of Coyote Creek, right in the panhandle, with or without the help of Elmer the Strummin’ Cowpoke.
Mechanical men can’t see, a human head is needed.
Sam Shovel’s janitors take a case.
Bernds’ second version of A Bird in the Head.
Dolly Devore, a frosty blonde starlet at B.O. Pictures, disappears for publicity, then she’s kidnapped for real.
That’s all there is to this Three Stooges short, but it’s just the terseness of the line that builds the armature for the absconded beauty of the piece.
A fast-paced virtuosic surreal display, which opens with much work nailing drawers and gloves in a carpentry shop (and a spectacular bit of physical comedy echoing Un Chien Andalou), followed by a reprise of earlier material involving pots of glue and cups of coffee, and a furious dispatch of heirloom-filching crooks, all attended and helped by the statuesque informality of Jean Willes.
Three Arabian Nuts
A worldwide collection of knickknacks comes home for delivery with two scimitared Arabs after Aladdin’s lamp, “bought for 50¢ in a bazaar.”
Shemp discovers it, Larry nixes Shemp’s “genius”, the two Arabs are overcome, Shemp gets the lamp for a song, the Stooges are wealthy and wived, the collector beats his own brains out.
Bernds’ variant of Lord’s Phony Express, with the vagrant sheriffs threatened by a headless Indian chief, among other things.
The Tooth Will Out
New Eastern dentists go West.
This is the tale of their previous careers, mainly involving crockery.
A lackadaisical hombre lets ‘em shoot the works myopically, but a gunfighter draws on them.
The classic purity of the form gives a straightforward basis to the instant surrealism of this comedy. Released on a charge of vagrancy and chicken-rustling, the Stooges undertake to repair a broken doorbell, and are taken on as a last-minute dinner crew for a party attended by the judge. The gas-filled cake gets a new lift, there’s a Stuart Davis something in the clear visual gags, and the genteel satire of the finale has a beautiful polish.
Gents in a Jam
De-decorators on the skids have a hope in Uncle Phineas but tangle with a circus strongman who doesn’t like his wife denuded (cp. Laurel & Hardy in Foster’s Unaccustomed as We Are—), and Uncle marries the landlady, anyway.
World without End
Bernds adopts a constructive approach to The War of the Worlds, foreseeing feeble Postmodernity vs. the Troglodytes, and letting his time travelers teach them all a lesson.
Queen of Outer Space
Before Bernds and his space cadets take off, CinemaScope DeLuxe pictures of the Atlas on its launch pad and the blockhouse observing it tell a mighty tale.
The other one is by Charles Beaumont out of Ben Hecht.
A dainty beast and very powerful, the Atlas, it leaves Joi Lansing in its wake.
“Apparently we have some deadly neighbors in outer space. The earth may be in mortal danger.”
Space Station A is destroyed, the screen flashes red and white (cf. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey). The destroying ray is animated like the finger of God in DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. A tremendous welter of electronic noise accompanies its furious attack on the rocket ship, incapacitating the crew and leading to the opening title and credits.
“Over a hundred miles a second. We could’ve been going twice that fast.”
“Or ten times that.”
Or, to make an omelet you have to break a few eggheads.
A planet of snow, “the most fantastic voyage in history”, beyond the snow lie flora and fauna not found in the Antipodes, even.
“This is Venus” (“This is Illyria,” Shakespeare has it, “lady”). Earlier theories about the planet won’t wash, one is “closer to the problem now.”
Stranger still, “not a sound. Not even the hum of an insect.” Then that noisome ray, or “an electronic signal.”
City of man-haters. “How’d you like to drag that to the senior prom?”
“... perhaps this is a civilization that exists without sex.”
“You call that civilization?”
The beauties undertake a revolt. Rod Serling provides the analysis in “Eye of the Beholder” for The Twilight Zone (dir. Douglas Heyes).
A history of Venus, war, overthrow, a “prison colony” for the remaining men orbiting the planet. “The quarrelsome and foolish” men of Earth face oblivion from masked Queen Yllana’s “beta-disintegrator” for their supposed designs upon her world.
The Phantom of the Opera provides the revelation scene.
The one-woman Hungarian Revolution, Zsa Zsa Gabor, plays Talleah, leader of the uprising.
The corridors and coulisses of ancient slapstick or Yellow Submarine lead from the city to the beta-disintegrator in the jungle.
Past Yllana’s detectors go the three-man crew and three Venusians and Dr. Konrad, creator of Space Station A.
The caves of Venus hold lodes of gold (cf. Fritz Lang’s Frau im Mond), guarded by giant spiders.
“Traitors! You know what this means.”
“Freedom for our people.”
Mozart’s Queen of the Night hears it pronounced, “women can’t be happy without men.”
“You’re so right, baby.”
Great score by Ernst Toch’s pupil Marlin Skiles.
The beta-disintegrator is a colossal bust. The Amazons and the Athenians battle it out famously.
Variety lacked the visionary element, “a good-natured attempt to put some honest sex into science-fiction.” Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader) doesn’t take it seriously, neither does Time Out Film Guide.
Yllana burns most horribly in her beta-disintegrator.
Talleah, golden-gowned, is Queen.
The men of the Starfire are ordered from Earth to remain on Venus “until a relief expedition can reach you... it may be a year or more...”
“... a year!”
In a very short time there was Dr. No, and Derek Flint, and Star Trek.
The Three Stooges Meet Hercules
The great hero serves as a Goliath in the army of a usurping King of Ithaca, against Ulysses.
Larry, Moe, and Curly-Joe work at a drugstore in Ithaca, New York, next to a bespectacled young inventor with an impatient fiancée wooed by the drugstore owner (who resembles the King of Ithaca).
The invention is a time apparatus. A long sojourn around the Greek isles parodies the galley sequence of Ben-Hur, and during this the inventor grows so muscular the King of Rhodes mistakes him for Hercules (first one arm, then the other, strengthens). Labors are set, the Siamese Cyclops (two heads, one eye apiece), the Cretan bull, the nine-headed Hydra, and this Hercules is a public sensation (Curly-Joe sells programs, “you can’t tell which head is which without a program”).
Further events are booked, Hercules jealously challenges the inventor and, bested, vows to turn his strength to good.
The time apparatus carries the party (and the false King of Ithaca) through the Crusades, Trafalgar, the Wild West (King pursued by Indians), World War I, World War II, and back to the present.
The inventor, strong as an ox, can no longer be pushed around.
The basis of this is the famous drugstore routine, compounding a “calm-down pill” that becomes useful in the Græco-Roman world of the time voyagers, while the inventor intensifies.
An Ellwood Ullman tour de force taken in stride by Bernds.
The Three Stooges in Orbit
Nothing can be funnier than battling a bowl of oyster stew, nevertheless Bernds has filmed the two funniest jokes in their entire canon, of which this is the supreme masterpiece.
It isn’t their television show, a takeoff on Orson Welles’ Sketch Book called Three Stooges Scrapbook with cartoons of themselves, nor Professor Danforth’s triple-threat rocket-powered flying tank-treaded submarine, nor even the sublime Ogg and Zogg from Mars, here to conquer or destroy Earth at the behest of their rostrum-pounding Chairman, nor the Texas sponsor, nor the Lompoc haunted house.
It’s the atomic depth-charge test that douses Curly-Joe, followed by the Martian ray-gun he gets his head stuck in, saving the city of Los Angeles.
Criticism has been nugatory, because reviewers do not eat the sponsor’s product, “N’Yuk-N’Yuks, The Breakfast of Stooges”.
The professor has a way to save their show, electronic cartoons. Martians go for it, in the end.