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Author Topic: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)  (Read 4356 times)

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Offline metaldams

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3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
« on: September 22, 2013, 08:43:20 AM »
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  • http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/22
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029665/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    3 DUMB CLUCKS is one of those shorts I honestly don't have that strong of an opinion on, like a few other shorts from 1937.  It's not that the short is awful, but there's nothing that majorly stands out either.  Yeah, they get a break out of jail scene to start, but they had better ones in the future.  The story in itself is OK, but perhaps would've been better developed in a feature film.  The hat scene is done better by Buster Keaton than Curly. Overall, the short is pleasant enough, but ranks in the lower half of Curly shorts for me.  I hope somebody else has a stronger opinion.

    I do have to say I caught a couple of jokes I never caught before upon this most recent viewing.  Curly says, "How we gonna get that out" upon trying to break out of jail.  Moe says, "Use your head, dummy."  The next shot they use a literal dummy posing as Curly to break through the prison wall.

    Another great subtle joke is after they find out the gangsters want to throw Curly out the window, Moe asks Curly where he's going, and Curly says, "After the Thin Man."  AFTER THE THIN MAN was a movie that came out in 1936 and the second in The Thin Man series.  For those that don't know, the two main characters in the Thin Man were played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, and they were detectives who solved crimes, so that's who Curly was referring to.

    7/10
    « Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 09:59:48 PM by metaldams »

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 08:52:31 AM »
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  • 3 Dumb Clucks I would say ranks as good, not great. And I've always been of the opinion that the remake with Shemp was better (maybe that's just me). The hat shop scene does go on for a long amount of time & I think we the viewer get the joke pretty early.

    I do think the whole jail scene may be the best part of the short, particularly the bit about Moe's razor & the rather obvious Curly dummy used to bust a hole through the prison wall. And isn't it sort of strange how no one seems to miss the stooges once they are out of jail? They are just free to walk about & do as they please without fear of a police dragnet being thrown around the city.

    Oh well, I've said many times before that plots are not meant to be overly analyzed in stooge films.

    7 out of 10...
     
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    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 09:02:53 AM »
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  • Because of the delay in the start of this week's thread, I had a draft of this comment on my computer for a few days, and kept fussing with it and (perhaps unfortunately) adding to it. Now that Metaldams has started the thread, I see that my estimate of this short is similar to his. It's a good one, but most of the good things in it were done better in subsequent shorts—or, in the case of the hat business, perhaps in someone else's movie, though I have only Metaldams's word for that, as I haven't seen the Buster Keaton movie to which he refers.

    There is no indication of the offense for which the boys have been sent to prison or exactly how long they have been in it, but it is clear that they have made themselves at home there. Curly dusts a framed sign that says "Home, Sweet Home" while a canary, behind bars of its own, sings nearby. It seems to be a way of life that suits them as well as riding the rails, begging, or lazing in bed all morning, to name some of their occupations in previous shorts.

    Apparently they are so accustomed to life behind bars that it has never occurred to them to use "the tools that we've been using for the past ten years" (a gag previously used in Pardon My Scotch) to break out until they get a letter from their mother demanding their help. But then, one wonders, what have they been using the tools for? And how on earth did they ever get them into their cell? Have they been in prison for all those ten years? These are, of course, questions that can't be answered. (The guard describes the premises as "jail" rather than "prison," but the striped uniforms suggest a long-term form of incarceration. Later, in the penthouse suite, the boys march to the marriage ceremony in prison style, each with a hand on the shoulder of the one in front of him, which adds to the suggestion that they have been behind bars for a long time.)

    Despite their tearing the letter from their mother into three pieces as soon as the guard hands it to them, Moe manages to read from a perfectly intact sheet. It says that their father has divorced their mother to marry "a blonde"—a term that gets used in this short as if it were a byword for "golddigger." Once they have remembered their collection of tools, they put them to use in breaking out. This seems to be easy enough to do, with a bit of unwitting assistance from the dim-witted guard ("What you need is a hacksaw. . . . Imagine, a hacksaw in jail! Ha, ha!"). It takes only a bit of drilling and an impact from the head of a dummy that is supposed to be Curly (though it has a full head of hair) to knock a hole in the wall, and apparently passing through that hole is all that they need to do to walk away from the jail or prison entirely. When we next see them, they have inexplicably acquired complete outfits of civilian clothes, and go on their way with no thought of being caught by the police.

    There are lots of fine comic situations in this short: Stooges in prison, acting like comfortable homebodies; Stooges using heavy tools to break out of prison (though in a more businesslike and therefore less funny way than in later shorts); Stooges out of prison, trying to get through the gate of their father's house, for which purpose one of them (Curly) happens to be carrying a concealed sledge hammer; Curly trying on hats, with a flat cap that repeatedly returns to his head even after being thrown away; Stooges in a fancy apartment, handling, and sometimes trying to steal, the goblets and trays (with appropriate punishments administered by Moe); and the big action of the short: two identical Curlies in flight from the bad guys, falling down an elevator shaft (to no ill effect—although, as I understand, Jerome Howard suffered a nasty blow to the head in filming this) and running up and down stairs.

    Despite the violent climax of the short, in which the Stooges get dropped from the top of a fourteen-story building (to no harmful effect, of course), there seems to be less Stooge-on-Stooge violence in this short than in most. The only really satisfying bit that I recall comes when Moe applies the serving tray to Curly's head as Curly peeks around the corner.

    Miscellaneous observations:

    --Moe gets a liquid accidentally blasted into his face by Larry not once but twice, or rather three times: once with the mixed drink in the penthouse and twice in prison with the oil cannister.

    --The sleeping-sickness patient from Dizzy Doctors (Frank Mills) reappears here as one of the thugs trying to kill "old man Howard." (Recognize the squeaky voice?) By the way, if the surname of the senior Curly is "Howard," and Larry, Moe, and Curly are brothers, then Larry must be Larry Howard in this short! On the other hand, there is no clear indication that Larry is the brother of Moe and Curly in this short: he could be simply a friend who goes with them wherever they go.

    --Eddie Laughton, who first appeared in the Stooge shorts as a desk clerk in Three Little Beers, does a winning turn as Daisy's flippantly homicidal boyfriend.

    --"Speak to me, kid!" says Moe to Curly when Curly, posing as the father of both of them, has fainted. Apparently no one finds it odd that a man would address his father as "kid"!

    --"I'm in a hurry all over!"

    --This is, I think, the first instance of a routine that will be used, with variations and improvements, many times over: the use of blows to the head of Curly (or, later, Shemp) to gain access to an idea believed to be lodged in it:

    Quote
    Curly: I've got an idea at the back of my head!

    Moe: Well, bring it out front! (Raps him on the back of the head)

    Curly: OH-OH-OH-OH-OH!

    Moe: Well, what is it?

    Curly: You knocked it clear out!

    I'm glad that they held on to the gag for further improvements later.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 01:40:27 PM »
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  •   The hat scene is done better by Buster Keaton than Curly

    Are you talking about the short he did at Columbia, "The Taming Of The Snood" ? I like the hat bit in that short.
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 02:38:17 PM »
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  • Are you talking about the short he did at Columbia, "The Taming Of The Snood" ? I like the hat bit in that short.

    I was thinking more STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., but now I'll have to re-watch that Columbia short.  I just think Keaton's deadpan style works better for this routine, as Curly swearing on the oath in DISORDER IN THE COURT works better than Keaton.  You all be the judge.  The hat at 2:48 is an inside gag you have to be a Keaton fan to get.


    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 03:06:59 PM »
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  • I was thinking more STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., but now I'll have to re-watch that Columbia short.  I just think Keaton's deadpan style works better for this routine, as Curly swearing on the oath in DISORDER IN THE COURT works better than Keaton.  You all be the judge.  The hat at 2:48 is an inside gag you have to be a Keaton fan to get.

    As soon as I read your description, I realized that, though I did not recognize your reference in your first post to a hat routine with Buster Keaton, I had in fact seen this movie before. The moment to which you refer lingers in my memory. The shallow porkpie hat to which the Keaton character in this clip reacts with such alarm was Keaton's standard headgear.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 03:21:03 PM »
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  • I was thinking more STEAMBOAT BILL, JR., but now I'll have to re-watch that Columbia short.  I just think Keaton's deadpan style works better for this routine, as Curly swearing on the oath in DISORDER IN THE COURT works better than Keaton.  You all be the judge.  The hat at 2:48 is an inside gag you have to be a Keaton fan to get.



    Oh yeah, I forgot about this one. Thanks for posting the clip.
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    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 01:13:42 AM »
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  • This is an entertaining short. There is no classic moments however.

    But this should not take away from a solid storyline.

    It's great to see the Stooges dad. Doubled by Curly.

    I like the whole wedding scene including before the wedding where they over hear at the window the plans for Curly's dad.  Curly fainting,  also running up and down the steps. Great physicality by Curly and to me entertaining.

    I give it an eight
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    Offline luke795

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 06:52:39 AM »
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  • 3 Dumb Clucks I would say ranks as good, not great. And I've always been of the opinion that the remake with Shemp was better (maybe that's just me). The hat shop scene does go on for a long amount of time & I think we the viewer get the joke pretty early.

    I do think the whole jail scene may be the best part of the short, particularly the bit about Moe's razor & the rather obvious Curly dummy used to bust a hole through the prison wall. And isn't it sort of strange how no one seems to miss the stooges once they are out of jail? They are just free to walk about & do as they please without fear of a police dragnet being thrown around the city.

    Oh well, I've said many times before that plots are not meant to be overly analyzed in stooge films.

    7 out of 10...

    I also like the remake because the story is better.

    Offline shemps#1

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 07:25:49 PM »
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  • I just got through re-watching this one so I can jump in here with a fresh perspective and I have to say you guys might be over-analyzing it a wee bit. This is a very funny enjoyable short with plenty of laughs. I thought Curly was superb in duel roles as father and son, and found myself laughing quite a bit. My favorite part would have to be when Larry blows into Curly's ear and ends up blowing into Moe's face on the other end. It's the little things like that that the Stooges were great at and often get overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Using the site's rating system I'd give 3 Dumb Clucks a solid four out of five pokes.
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    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 08:32:05 PM »
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  •      I've always had the feeling that Popsy's voice is Curly's real voice.  It's certainly different from his Curly voice, and somewhat less theatrical.

    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 08:54:06 PM »
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  •      I've always had the feeling that Popsy's voice is Curly's real voice.  It's certainly different from his Curly voice, and somewhat less theatrical.

    Most of the time, yes, but remember that Popsy also goes "Woo-woo-woo-woo!"  :laugh:

    You can hear Jerome Howard's natural voice in some of the later shorts, when his energy would falter. But in Three Little Pirates, he seems to drop into his natural voice, or at least his natural pitch range, for intentional effect when, as the "Maha," he says to his "translator" (Moe), "I'd like to see some babes myself!" (video on YouTube around 10:22).

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 09:12:52 PM »
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  • Curly's late voice strikes me as a THIRD voice, different from his prime delivery and different from the Popsy voice.  I'm thinking in this one of Popsy's delivery of the line "Now there's three nice, smart boys" followed by the gruffer line "Now get outa here".  The first one, especially, is softly delivered and sounds natural, in a way that " I'd like to see some babes myself " does not.  And yes, I agree that in the final third of the short, with panic setting in, Curly uses the same voice for both characters.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #13 on: September 28, 2013, 09:00:43 PM »
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  • I like this short. It's not one of my top favorites but it is enjoyable to watch.  I think the idea of a Stooge playing multiple roles works. There are a lot of sight gags and funny bits. After watching the hat bit with Keaton that Metaldams posted and watching the same bit with Curly, I call it a draw. Two very different styles but both very funny.  I rate this one 8 1/2. 
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    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 04:06:04 AM »
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  • This short was much better in its remake.  That said, it's not a bad short.  7/10
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    Offline Dr. Hugo Gansamacher

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #15 on: June 07, 2015, 11:56:21 AM »
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  • This news item, although no laughing matter (the escapees are convicted murderers)--

    Quote
    "There was a hole cut out of the back of their cell through which these inmates escaped ... and had power tools and were able to get out through this facility through tunnels, cutting their way in several spots," New York Corrections Commissioner Anthony Annucci told reporters.

    --reminded me of this bit of dialogue:

    Quote
    Larry: I thought of something!

    Curly: What?

    Larry: The tools!

    Moe: What tools?

    Larry: The tools we been using for the last ten years!

    Moe and Curly: Oh, those tools!

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #16 on: June 09, 2015, 09:20:35 PM »
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  • It's true.  Power tools, by God.  Life imitating Art would be the mildest way to view this.  Total insanity would be another.  Power tools!

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #17 on: February 01, 2016, 07:11:18 AM »
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  • This short was much better in its remake.  That said, it's not a bad short.  7/10

    Changed my mind in light of this week's short... This short has some pretty good bits, particularly in the first bit in the jail scene.  I up my appraisal to 8/10.
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: 3 Dumb Clucks (1937)
    « Reply #18 on: September 09, 2017, 09:55:24 PM »
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  • Just watched this short, a personal favorite of mine as a child, for the first time in forever, only to realize that they reused the hat routine from Buster Keaton's STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. The things you learn as you get older.

    One day I may review the Stooge shorts. For now, I just want to focus on keeping up with the Buster Keaton films and finishing up the Laurel and Hardy and Marx Brothers films.