Hoi Polloi (1935) starring the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard)
Hoi Polloi starts with two college professors arguing over environment versus heredity, with one betting the other than he can turn any random three men into gentlemen. Leaving the restaurant, they encounter the Three Stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly) working as garbage men, where Larry and Curly are accidentally pelting Moe with garbage. Moe returns the favor, but hits the professors, who use this to blackmail them into becoming their three guinea pigs. As they are about to leave, Curly goes back to the truck to retrieve his coat, accidentally pulling a lever and emptying the contents of the garbage truck on Moe, Larry and the two professors!
Learning to be gentlemen
At the professor’s home, their schooling begins with a lesson on table etiquette, pretending to eat imaginary food, and still managing to fight over it and drive the professor to distraction. A reading lesson has the same result, with the professor starting to lose his temper.
A dancing lesson is next, with a fly going down the dress of the dance instructor, and the Stooges try to copy her frenetic ‘dancing.’ A favorite line is the instructor reciting “1-2-3, dip” with Curly replying “It ain’t the dipping that’s got me, it’s the counting!” Since the instructor has told the Three Stooges to do exactly what she does, when she starts dancing spasmodically, Moe, Larry and Curly do the same, with them all eventually jumping out of the window and landing in a small pool.
At the party
Later, the professor wakes the Stooges up. It’s the day of their debut in society. Moe gives a warning to Larry and Curly to behave, and Curly innocently tries pulling a thread from Moe’s tuxedo jacket, only to keep pulling, causing Moe’s jacket to fall apart when he attempts to do a graceful bow. Moe pulls Curly aside and takes his jacket, and Curly reciprocates, stealing the too-small jacket from another guest at the party. Then Curly then begins dancing with a homely girl, while Larry loses his shoe on the dance floor, and causes mayhem while trying to retrieve it.
Dancing the night away
Curly sees his homely “date” using a pocket mirror to fix her makeup, and decides to emulate her by shaving with a shaving brush and razor while waiting. And then Curly then manages to get his hand caught in a vase while trying to retrieve a cigar. But he gets free with eye-poking assistance from Moe. He then tries to sneak a bottle of champagne under Moe’s watchful eye, resulting in a funny scene where it’s revealed that he’s been stealing silverware, similar to Harpo Marx‘s routine.
While talking with a young lady at the party, Moe gets a cushion spring caught on his hand which he throws away. The spring ends up on Curly’s posterior, leading to some very funny physical clowning on the dance floor.
The professor has clearly lost his ten thousand dollar bet, but even so, the ‘dignified’ society people began slapping and eye-poking each other, while the Stooges attempt to leave like gentlemen. Before they can leave, the two professors and the butler (Three Stooges regular Bud Jamison) hit them on the head with champagne bottles to “thank” them for ruining their party.
Hoi Polloi is a very funny short film, and highly recommended. Hoi Polloi is available on The Three Stooges Collection volume 1. Enjoy more photos from the short film in the Hoi Polloi photo gallery.
Funny movie quotes from Hoi Polloi
Moe Howard: [the Stooges reluctantly agree to be gentlemen] You know it’ll break the old man’s heart but you got the drop on us.
Larry Fine: It’ll disgrace us for life.
Curly Howard: I won’t be able to look at my children in the face.
Prof. Richmond: Can you spell cat?
Curly Howard: Soitenly!
Prof. Richmond: Spell it!
Curly Howard: Cat. K-I-T-T-Y, pussy.
Moe Howard: [reading] “See the deer. Has the deer any doe?”
Curly Howard: Yeah, two bucks!
Larry Fine: Oh, see the cat. Does the mouse see that cat? Yeah, the dirty rat!
Dance Instructor: 1-2-3, dip. Can you do it?
Curly Howard: It ain’t the dippin’. It’s the countin’ that’s got me!
At the party
Moe Howard: Now then gentlemen. Remember your etiquette. [Slaps Larry and Curly]
Larry Fine: What’s that for?
Curly Howard: We didn’t do nothin’!
Moe Howard: That’s in case you do when I’m not around.
Girl: Your dancing is atrocious!
Larry Fine: Thank you, I couldn’t dance a step last year.
Curly Howard: Thanks for the dance … and cut yourself a slice ‘a throat!
Prof. Richmond: Well here’s your check Professor Nichols, you certainly won the wager.
Prof. Nichols: Oh that’s very nice. Please forgive me Mrs. Richmond, annoying you with these rowdies.
Mrs. Rich: What do you mean rowdies? Spread out![Slaps him on the face]
Trivia for the Three Stooges short film, Hoi Polloi
- There is a still photo from the film that implies a possible deleted scene. The photo shows Moe Howard, Curly Howard and Larry Fine arriving for their big ‘debut in society’ out front of Prof. Richmond’s house . . . in their rubbish truck. This scene would’ve taken place in between Richmond prepping the Stooges in the morning of the event and the establishing interior shot of Richmond’s house.
- The rubbish truck scene was filmed on location on Larchmont Street south of Hollywood. The Larchmont Theatre, then showing Mississippi (1935) is visible in this scene. Also the (then) HOLLYWOODLAND sign can briefly be glimpsed in the upper right corner of the screen.
Cast of characters
- Moe Howard … Moe
- Larry Fine … Larry
- Curly Howard … Curley
- Robert Graves … Prof. Nichols
- Harry Holman (Meet John Doe) … Prof. Richmond
- Bud Jamison (Dutiful but Dumb) … Butler
- Phyllis Crane (Three Little Pigskins) … Nichols’ Daughter
- Betty McMahon (Dizzy Doctors) … Nichols’ Daughter
- Geneva Mitchell (In the Sweet Pie and Pie) … Dance Instructor
- Gail Arnold (Slippery Silks) … Party Guest
- Gino Corrado (Micro-Phonies) … Maître d’ (archive footage)
- Harriett De Busman … Party Guest
- Mary Dees … Blonde Party Guest
- Celeste Edwards (Uncivil Warriors) … Party Guest
- George B. French … Man with cigar
- Grace Goodall (Pardon My Scotch) … Mrs. Richmond
- William Irving (Dizzy Doctors) … Larry’s dance partner
- Jack ‘Tiny’ Lipson (Dizzy Doctors) … Party Guest
- Billy Mann … Party Guest
- Kathryn McHugh … Duchess
- Robert McKenzie (Grips, Grunts and Groans) … Party Guest
- James C. Morton (A Pain in the Pullman) … Party Guest wearing toupée
- Blanche Payson (An Ache in Every Stake) … Curley’s burly dance partner
- Arthur Rankin (Men in Black) … Party Guest
- Don Roberts (Woman Haters) … Party Guest
- Poppy Wilde (All the World’s a Stooge) … Woman with cigar smoker
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