Watch SHIVERING SHERLOCKS in the link above
It's been a while since we've seen Del Lord, not since BOOBY DUPES, which was in 1945 and twenty shorts ago. Since then, Del Lord would show up sporadically doing the occasional non Stooge Columbia short and even graduated to features, including an early Bowery Boys entry. All time, he is my favorite Stooge director. The series got really strong once he entered with POP GOES THE EASEL and that starting five short run of his plus the classics he did in the late thirties and forties are the stuff of legend. Sadly, he did show signs of slowing down quality wise towards the end, and SHIVERING SHERLOCKS is not a great way to close.
SHIVERING SHERLOCKS is merely OK. It has merit for Stooge fans, but it's one of those shorts that's missing that real classic gag sequence and the story is not the best. If you're missing the former, at least give me the latter. Oh, they attempt a classic gag sequence, recycling the oyster soup gag Curly did so brilliantly in DUTIFUL BUT DUMB. They give the gag to Moe, who instead of acting like Moe, acts like Curly! The squeals, the face palming, the timing, he's really trying to impersonate his brother. Moe is great acting like Moe, and there will be later Shemp shorts where the boys are simply in a room with tools and Moe gets to be Moe. The world is a better place for having those shorts. Here, Moe's attempt at being Curly comes across as being misguided.
While I'm in bitching mode, this is one of Christine McIntyre's least satisfying roles. She almost seems bored, which is so rare for her. I can't blame her, there's no meat to her role. She's simply a store owner who can't pay her bills, and she later becomes a damsel in distress. The boys help her, but it would've been nice if they had a more fleshed out character to work with. Think CASH AND CARRY. Think of how something simple like the math scene or the boys giving back to the young siblings added humanity to that short. Something like that here would've been more appropriate than the bounced check scene, which worked against the heroine they're trying to help.
OK, enough of me being a downer, like I said, there's some merit here. There are some nice production touches, especially the intro, which plays like a good film noir of the era. The introduction of the boys, with Shemp's garbage line and them biting each other's feet in the trash can is one of the best intros of the boys out there. Kenneth MacDonald and Frank Lackteen are fun to watch, and I swear they are trying to act like Karloff and Lugosi, respectively (a shame neither worked with The Three Stooges). Angel is a bit creepy as well! Shemp is in high spirits throughout the short, and I love watching him drop barrels from above on the bad guys. The best part of the short, besides the intro, would have to be the lie detector scene. Just a fun energetic scene with the boys and Vernon. I love Larry showing his visible means of support, and the lie detector's reaction to Vernon's lodge meeting!
Del Lord, thanks for all the laughs.