Another Derita era feature, and at the very least, another interesting film. Not as good as Hercules, mind you, but good. Comparing this to Hercules, it strikes me how in Hercules, I find every character enjoyable, even the romantic couple, who actually play an integral part of that film. With THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT, the young couple is completely disposable, but at least they don't take up too much of the film. The aliens are nowhere near as cool as Hercules. Really, they were a one joke thing with the funny talk and subtitles, and it got old after a while. The Stooges reading subtitles at the end was at least a nice twist, so I'll give this film points on that.
The most interesting this about THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT is that this is the most risqué, relatively speaking, the boys ever got. 1962 was the waning days of the production code, so they got away with things you wouldn't see or hear in a 1940's film. Examples - Emil Sitka accidentally throwing out a "What the Hell" when describing his machine. The boys, now older men, hesitantly watching an attractive young naked woman, covered in soap, taking a bubble bath. The machine knocking down a wall, revealing young girls in a shower. Larry's immortal line, "Look out, you'll knock him on his brass." Finally, there is a bra landing from the sky on a general. The general then commands one of his men to put the bra back where it belongs.
The boys themselves are fine if you go in with the expectation that they're older and Derita is the third Stooge. Taken on their own terms, perfectly pleasant. Perfectly pleasant Stooges is better than no Stooges at all. Compared to old Stooges though, no dice. Compare the gag where Derita is hammering a nail into the wall, the nail pointing the wrong way. Done in the Curly era, Curly is a ball of energy when doing the task, and Moe is angry and quick to tell Curly what's wrong. It's that sudden burst of energy by both brothers that make the gag so funny. Here, the gag goes on longer and is patiently explained. Again, fine on its own terms, as is most of the film, but pales compared to the old days.
A few more notes in that yes, Emil Sitka gets a nice role and is in fine form in this one. The nuclear weapon theme is perhaps a bit too unnerving a theme for a comedy, especially with the shit going on today, so perhaps I long for the innocence of a Hercules and time travel. The pie gag, again, forced as Hell. I think they thought of the pies at this point as a signature that had to be pigeonholed in. So overall impressions, not as good as last week's film, but interesting for the somewhat risqué bits and just the pleasure of seeing the boys go out on top commercially. They're pleasant to watch for an hour and a half, can't ask for much more.