Watch SQUAREHEADS OF THE ROUNDTABLE in the link above
SQUAREHEADS OF THE ROUNDTABLE is definitely a classic. It's got a little of everything. A fantastic supporting cast, wonderful scenery and atmosphere, a huge standout scene, some great humor, and a good story. Most Stooge shorts have some of these things, but rarely do all these elements gel together as they do here.
Vernon Dent, Christine McIntyre, Jock Mahoney, and for the first time in a Stooge short, Phil Van Zandt make for one heck of a supporting cast. Vernon's facial expressions when he's hiding under the covers as Shemp is mocking his appearance are wonderful. Christine, well, a little more on her later, but for now I'll say she looked even more beautiful than usual here and seemed to be having a great time. Check out the look of satisfaction on her face as she crushes the hands of The Three Stooges in their team hand clutch, a nice reference to what Jock Mahoney did earlier. Speaking of him, he does a great job here, being likable and worthy of the girl. So many of these guys in the old movies seem so juvenile in these romantic lead roles, what I call the David Manners syndrome. Jock is likable like I said, and check out his smile as the boys leave the jail cell. I have trouble believing that smile was scripted, I want to believe he was enjoying himself here. Then there's Phil Van Zandt, no doubt thinking, "From Orson to this?" The former CITIZEN KANE actor would do a great job over the years playing slimy villains, as he does here.
The scenery comes from the movie BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST. Like I just outed in the "More Trivia" thread, this is only the third Shemp short filmed and HOT SCOTS the fourth, both using the same scenery. Both films were also released well over a year after filming, and my guess is because Columbia wanted some distance from the release of these films and BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST to avoid the obvious use of the same scenery being used. BANDITS was released the same month these two shorts were shot, December 1946.
No review would be complete without mentioning the classic balcony scene. The boys get to harmonize beautifully and light heartedly in a strange rendition of SEXTETTE FROM LUCIA (you opera experts can correct me if I butchered that title, Slayer didn't cover this song on their last album). You folks with an ear for melody will notice it's the same tune from MICRO-PHONIES. Christine McIntyre sings amazingly well, what a talented lady she was. There's a part of me that's shocked she didn't go on to bigger things.
The boys get to work with tools in this one, always a good thing. One of my favorite bits is kind of subtle, but when the boys take the tools out of the bread Princess Elaine slips them while in jail, notice the way Shemp at first tries to use the chisel on the bars without a hammer. He's using his bare hands! I also enjoy references that obviously post date the days of knights and roundtables, such as a radio, THE JOLSON STORY, and the boys dancing to SWANEE RIVER!
Overall, a fantastic short, one of the best the boys ever did.