movie review of Crime on their Hands starring the Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, Shemp)âoriginally released December 9, 1948
In Crime on their Hands, the Three Stooges are janitors at a newspaper officeâwho desire to be reporters. They have their chance, when the big story of the day is the theft of the Punjab Diamond by Dapper Malone (played by Three Stooges regular Kenneth MacDonald), his moll (Three Stooges regular Christine McIntyre) and âRuntyâ who gets angry at Dapper, and decides to get even by calling the newspaper office and snitching on Dapper. The Stooges are there to take the call, and get their big breakâwhile Runty âgetsâ his, courtesy of Dapperâs gun.
Moe, Larry and Shemp begin snooping around at the place where Dapperâs hiding, and soon they’re questioning Christine McIntyre, who wrongly assumes that theyâre the police. While talking with her, Shemp begins tossing candies from a bowl into the air and swallowing themâunknown to him, the missing diamond is in the bowl, and he unintentionally swallows it.
Once the Stooges reveal that they’re not police, Dapper and another confederate come out of hiding, and decide to perform and impromptu surgery on Shemp to retrieve the diamond. Moe and Larry attempt to retrieve the diamond in a non-fatal way (well, non-fatal for them, anywayâusing an ice tong down poor Shempâs throat), but they fail. Dapper tosses them into a closet, and ties Shemp down as he prepares for the âsurgeryâ.
Moe and Larry decide to not give up without a fight, however, and using a bag of tools they conveniently find in the closet, they try to cut their way out the back wall of the closet, into the next room where they can call for help!
Unfortunately, there are two things in the way of this planâone is the fact that Moe and Larry get more in the way than out of the closet, and the other is that thereâs a gorilla in a cage on the other side of the wall! Larry goes through the opening first, and the gorilla beats him up worse than Moe typically doesâand Moe gets his just desserts next. The gorilla then goes through the hole, subdues the bad guys, and releases his âbuddyâ Shemp. I love the endingââWell, I helped.â Itâs a very funny short film, one of the best of the Shemp era, and highly recommended.
Crime on their Hands is available on DVD as
Shemp (Shemp Howard): Moe, Stop the presses.
Shemp (Shemp Howard): [tossing candy into the air and swallowing it] With oranges, itâs much harder.
Moe (Moe Howard): [trying to pull the diamond out of Shemp’s throat with ice tongs] It must be caught on something.
Larry (Larry Fine): Maybe itâs his appendix.
Moe (Moe Howard): We’ll soon find out!
Shemp (Shemp Howard): 50 carats! What an icecube!
Originally published at Clown Ministry