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How High is Up? Three Stooges short film

review of the Three Stooges short film, How High is Up? (1940) starring Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard

Like most of the Three Stooges short films, How High Is Up? is broken up into two parts, beginning with the Three Stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly) as tinkers (workers who would make minor repairs to pots, pans, and the like) who are sleeping on a mattress underneath their vehicle, and once a worker drains water from a fire hydrant, and the Stooges float down the street, eventually being rudely awakened by a police officer.

The Three Stooges Collection, volume 3, including How High Is Up?Fleeing back to their vehicle, Moe tasks Curly with repairing a flat tire — which Curly attempts to do with a slice of salami.  Shortly after, Moe and Larry try to help Curly take off his too-small sweater – a slapstick affair.  After, they try to drum up business by sabotaging workers’ lunch pails with punctures.  While running away from the rightful wrath of the workers, the Stooges take refuge in a construction site, claiming to be “the best riveters that ever riveted a rivet!” … and leading to the second half of the short.

Curly wearing his rivet hat while Moe rivets in How High is Up?Soon, the Three Stooges are ascending to the 97th floor of the skyscraper being constructed, complete with Curly carrying a parachute due to his fear of heights.  They shortly begin various slapstick shenanigans with red-hot rivets and rivet guns, including Curly nearly eating a rivet and almost sliding off a girder due to spilled grease.  Eventually, the boss (Three Stooges regular Vernon Dent) arrives, sees the Escher-like job that the Stooges have done, and gets a red-hot rivet dropped down his shirt for his troubles.  The Stooges parachute to safety, landing in their car and driving away — with their parachute covering them, blinding all three and causing their car to veer madly.

In all, How High is Up? is a very enjoyable Three Stooges short film – I rate it 3 stars out of 5.  How High is Up? is available on DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 3: 1940-1942

Editorial review of How High is Up? courtesy of Amazon.com

How High Is Up?” (1940, number 48) is plotless and devotes far too much footage to trying to get Curly out of a tight sweater. Once they are up on the 97th floor of a building under construction, only Curly’s balletic skills save the film from utter predictability. Even Laurel & Hardy could not make gold out of this high-on-a-skyscraper situation. Actor spotters might notice Bruce Bennet (otherwise known as Herman Brix when he played Tarzan) as a bit player. –Frank Behrens

Funny movie quotes from How High is Up? starring the Three Stooges

Moe Howard: Hey, chucklehead! Did you get the tools?
Larry Fine: What tools?
Moe Howard: The tools we’ve been using for the last ten years!
Larry Fine: Oh, those tools!

Moe Howard: What’s the matter, little man?
Curly Howard: I can’t get outta my sweater!
Moe Howard: How’d you get into it?
Curly Howard: I didn’t have any trouble; but since then I might have put on a little weight.
Moe Howard: You might have!

Moe Howard: Give me a hand!
Larry Fine: Which one?

Larry Fine: Looks like a V-8!
Moe Howard: You ever hear of a V-5
Larry Fine: What’s that, a new car?
Moe Howard: No, an old sock! [slaps Larry]

Curly Howard: Ooh! A bonanza!
Moe Howard: Stop thinking of food and get to work!

Larry Fine: What’s the matter?
Curly Howard: I can’t stand heights!
Moe Howard: Why, was your mother frightened by something?
Curly Howard: Yeah, by me!

Moe: [sarcastically] Three of the best riveters who ever riveted. Why didn’t you tell them you were a groundhog?
Curly: Listen, you laugh when you say that!
Moe: HA, HA, HA. [slaps Curly]

Moe Howard: Let’s get to work.
Curly Howard: I can’t! Every time I look down, I get dizzy!

Larry Fine
: Don’t look down.

Curly Howard: I can’t help it! I belong down there!

Curly Howard: Hey fellas! How far is this first step?
Moe Howard: Only 97 stories.

Curly Howard: Did you see where I almost went?
Moe Howard: I know where you ought to go!

Curly Howard: Wait a minute! Do I look like a rivet?
Moe Howard: [threatening] How do you feel?
Curly Howard: Like a rivet.

Trivia for How High is Up?

  • In the scene in which Curly is hit on the head with a rubber hammer when he is stuck in the sweater, if you look closely, Larry cracks up and laughs at the last BONK! on Curly’s head. When Curly says, “Don’t mind ME! DON’T MIND ME!!” He stares up at Moe, in which Moe starts to crack up as well and hides his face from the camera. Then the scene is cut to a close-up.

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