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Commotion on the Ocean

The Three Stooges short film Commotion on the Ocean (1956) starring Moe HowardLarry FineShemp Howard

Synopsis of Commotion on the Ocean

Moe, Larry and Shemp are working as janitors at a newspaper, but they aspire to be reporters.  After the standard slapstick while cleaning the office, Moe answers the editor’s phone and gets a tip (from Three Stooges regular Emil Sitka) on missing atomic documents being in the hands of a foreign spy.  They visit their neighbor, Bortch, for help with foreign languages, not realizing that Bortch is actually the spy, hiding microfilm copies of the documents in three watermelons, which he has the Stooges carry to his ship, as he’s leaving for his home country.  Soon the Three Stooges are stuck on the boat as well, and after fighting hunger, seasickness and Bortch, they recover the microfilm and get the scoop they need to become reporters.

Review of Commotion on the Ocean

Dunked in the Deep - promotional photo for the Three Stooges short film, with Gene Roth, Larry Fine, Shemp Howard, Moe Howard, and the watermelonsIn addition to being a remake of Dunked in the DeepCommotion on the Ocean is one of four Shemp Howard’s Three Stooges shorts that were released after his death.  Columbia Pictures used footage from existing Three Stooges short films (Dunked in the Deep, Crime on their Hands), as well as new footage that Shemp had filmed before his death.  There are moments where it’s apparent, such as an extended scene where Shemp is missing, supposedly looking for food while Moe and Larry try to steal a fish from a female passenger only to get a wooden fish instead, with Moe, Larry and Bortch trying to eat the wooden fish, coughing up sawdust.

All in all, Commotion on the Ocean is a funny Three Stooges short film, but many of the best moments are taken from Crime on their Hands.  I rate it 2 clowns out of 5.  Commotion on the Ocean is available on DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection volume 8.

Funny movie quotes from Commotion on the Ocean

Larry (Larry Fine): Who was that?
Moe (Moe Howard): [hanging up phone] That was Smitty!
Larry (Larry Fine): Smitty, oh I know him! [recites] Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village Smitty stands!  That’s him.
[Moe slaps Larry]


Moe (Moe Howard): You know, Porcupine, for a guy without brains you’re a genius!


Larry (Larry Fine): [accidentally hitting Moe while taking off his shoe] I’m sorry, Moe!
Moe (Moe Howard): Think nothing of it, kid.
Larry (Larry Fine): You’re broad-minded.
Moe (Moe Howard): [hitting Larry with shoe] You’re narrow-headed.


Larry (Larry Fine): On fish, I’m a common-sewer!


Shemp (Shemp Howard): Why didn’t you let me sleep so I wouldn’t know how hungry I am?


Shemp (Shemp Howard): [opens the porthole, gets hit with mud] Land! Land!

Trivia for Commotion on the Ocean

  • Commotion on the Ocean is a remake of 1949’s Dunked in the Deep, using ample stock footage. In addition, the newspaper room scenes were taken from 1948’s Crime on Their Hands.
  • Hiding microfilm in watermelons is an allusion to an actual event that occurred in 1948. Time Magazine’s managing editor Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist spy-turned government informer, accused Alger Hiss of being a member of the Communist Party and a spy for the Soviet Union. In presenting evidence against Hiss, Chambers produced what became known as the Pumpkin Papers: four rolls of microfilm of State Department documents, which Chambers had concealed in a hollowed-out pumpkin on his Maryland farm.

 

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