Beer Barrel Polecats (1946) starring the Three Stooges – Moe, Larry, and Curly
Beer Barrel Polecats is set during Prohibition, when purchasing beer in the U.S.A. was illegal. But it was still legal to make your own beer for your own personal use. The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, and Curly) in Curly’s first short film made after his initial stroke proceed to do that. And the first half of the film is quite funny, as all three of them add yeast to their batch of beer – with explosive results. They finally manage to bottle all of their beer, and all’s well. Until Curly tries to sell a bottle to an undercover police officer at black market prices. And the Stooges end up going to jail.
Adding insult to injury, Curly tries to smuggle a small keg of beer into the jail with them (“Goiter!”). But as the Stooges are having their prison photos taken, the hot lights cause the beer to expand and eventually explode. Causing the warden (Three Stooges regular Vernon Dent) to greatly extend their sentences. It’s at this point that the short film becomes rather disappointing.
This was the first Three Stooges short film to be made after Curly Howard’s first stroke. He didn’t have the energy or the stamina to be working. So director Jules White decided to re-use footage from earlier Three Stooges short films (So Long, Mr. Chumps and The Sweet Pie and Pie) – and the editing is clumsy at best, and the film doesn’t flow very well. The ending, however, is quite funny, with the Three Stooges finally being released 40 years later. And the aged Curly saying that the first thing he wants is a beer. Resulting in Moe and Larry throwing him back into the prison.
Guard: Hey, what’s the matter with you?
Curly: (with keg of beer hidden under his coat) Goiter!
Curly: Let a guy who can saw, see! See? Saw.
Curly: Speak to me, Warden! Say a few syllables! Utter a few adjectives!
Trivia for Beer Barrel Polecats
- A colorized version was released as part of the DVD collection Hapless Half-Wits.
- The idea of producing and selling their own beer during Prohibition was borrowed from Laurel and Hardy‘s film, Pardon Us.
- When the Stooges drop their iron balls chained to their legs, we hear the NBC Chimes, a recurring gag
- The title Beer Barrel Polecats is a pun of the song title “Beer Barrel Polka”.
Cast of characters
- Curly Howard … Curly
- Larry Fine … Larry
- Moe Howard … Moe
- Robert B. Williams (Uncivil War Birds) … Guard #1
- Vernon Dent (Matri-phony) … Warden
- Bruce Bennett (How High is Up?, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) … Prison Guard (archive footage)
- Lynton Brent (Gents Without Cents) … Guard (archive footage)
- Eddie Laughton (Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise) … Pomeroy (archive footage)
- Eddie Dunn (The Great Dictator) … First Prison Guard
- Joe Palma (Uncivil War Birds) … Convict
- Al Thompson (A Plumbing We Will Go) … Al–Police Photographer
- Blackie Whiteford (Grips, Grunts and Groans) … Guard