Movie Maniacs (1936) starring the Three Stooges (Moe Howard Larry Fine, Curly Howard)
Synopsis of Movie Maniacs
Movie Maniacs, the Three Stooges’ 13th Columbia short, spoofs movie-making and, as Moe puts it, the thousands who know nothing about making them. It also gives us a wonderful chance to see a vaudeville routine with Curly in drag and Larry as the debonair suitor. Not to mention Moe’s method of teaching acting by having Larry and Curly manipulate a couple of actors like hand puppets.
Stooges on a train
Moe, Larry and Curly are stowaways in a boxcar filled with furniture heading for Hollywood. After a short sleeping sequence (where they break the bed), Curly cooks breakfast – with his disastrous pancake flipping. While Larry presses Moe’s white trousers, with equal disaster. And “paints over” his mistake. It’s a very funny slapstick routine.
Breaking into show business
Soon, they arrive at a Hollywood studio, Carnation Pictures (“from contented actors …”). Fuller Rath (Bud Jamison) is the studio manager, who receives a telegram. It announces that “Mr. Smith” and his two assistants will be arriving, to take over the studio. Moe, Larry, and Curly arrive in time to … be thrown out by the studio guards. But, after a moment, they use a clever bit to get past them – and get chased inside the studio.
They burst into Fuller Rath’s office, just in time to be mistaken for the studio executives. After Curly’s three large pencils routine, they toast to their success — and soon start destroying movies being filmed. First, they “help” shoot a love scene. After a funny bit of “actor puppetry”, the suffering director quits! And the actor. And actress. Which suits Moe just fine!
Roll that film!
With Moe directing, Curly in drag as the lady, and Larry in a tuxedo, they shoot the “improved” scene. However, Fuller Rath receives another telegram, realizes that the Stooges aren’t the executives, and the chase is on! The Three Stooges hide in a “danger, keep out” room – what could go wrong?
The lions in the den that the Stooges have stumbled into let them know! They escape into a nearby car, but one of the lions jumps in, and we can see it’s posterior hanging out the window as their getaway car careens down the street!
In short, Movie Maniacs is a good Three Stooges short, with them in their prime, and highly enjoyable.
Funny movie quotes from Movie Maniacs
Moe: [in bed with Larry and Curly] You suppose that puddin’ head kicked us?
Larry: How could he? He’s sound asleep.
Curly: [pretending] Soitenly I’m sound asleep.
Moe: Then how come your talkin’?
Curly: I’m talkin’ in my sleep!
Curly: How are we gonna get in pictures? We don’t know nothin’ about makin’ movies!
Moe: There’s a couple of thousand people in pictures now who know nothing about it. Three more won’t make any difference.
Fuller Rath (Bud Jamison): Go and prepare an office, and see they have everything they may possibly want!
Assistant: Yes, sir. I’ll order three blonde secretaries.
Moe: Boy, this picture business is tougher to get into to than I figured.
Larry: Don’t worry, a bad beginning is a good ending.
Curly: Soitenly! If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ til you do suck seed.
Moe: Cut, cut, cut. You ain’t shooting the picture right.
Director Cecil Z. Sweinhardt (Harry Semels): Why, what’s the matter with it?
Moe: There’s no action. It was no good from the first kiss.
Director Cecil Z. Sweinhardt (Harry Semels): Kiss? What do you know about kisses?
Moe: [turns to Curly] Tell him what we know about kisses.
Moe: That’s enough!
Leading Man (Kenneth Harlan): I quit!
Moe: Oh yeah, you’re fired!
Curly: You can’t fire him
Moe: Why not?
Curly: Cause he quit!
Director Cecil Z. Sweinhardt (Harry Semels): I quit!
Moe: You can’t quit.
Director Cecil Z. Sweinhardt (Harry Semels): Why not?
Moe: You’re fired.
Curly: Hey, you can’t fire him.
Moe: Why not?
Curly: He quit.[Moe slaps him]
Trivia for Movie Maniacs
- The “Leading Lady” was played by Mildred Harris, who had been married to Charlie Chaplin.
- There’s a very funny scene cut from some prints. When the Stooges attempt to show a believable on-screen kiss. Moe initially tries to show how to give a good-looking kiss to a showgirl. However, he becomes shy, and barely pecks her on the cheek, calling it the “hit-and-run” kiss. Larry then tries the dramatic bend-over technique, but the more he bends forward, the more the girl’s head pulls back. Then, it’s Curly’s turn to go. He calls his kiss a “sacrifice”. However, before he can give said kiss, the showgirl grabs him and says “Oh, Mr. Howard!” and pulls him over and gives him a huge kiss, making Curly pass out. Moe and Larry then pull him up, hit him, and the scene resumes. Thankfully the scene was kept intact when Columbia/Sony restored the shorts in high definition.
Cast of characters
- Moe Howard … Moe
- Larry Fine … Larry
- Curly Howard … Curley Howard
- Mildred Harris … Leading Lady
- Kenneth Harlan (The Corpse Vanishes) … Leading Man
- Bud Jamison (A Ducking They Did Go) … Fuller Rath
- Harry Semels (Three Little Sew and Sews) … Cecil Z. Swinehardt – Director
- Heinie Conklin (Even as IOU) … Guard (uncredited)
- Lew Davis (Goofs and Saddles) … Studio Employee (uncredited)
- Charles Dorety (Dizzy Doctors) … Studio Employee (uncredited)
- George Gray (Higher Than a Kite) … Studio Employee (uncredited)
- Althea Henley (Ants in the Pantry) … Sound Stage Girl (uncredited)
- Jack Kenney (Pop Goes the Easel) … Studio Employee (uncredited)
- Eddie Laughton (Cactus Makes Perfect) … Grip (uncredited)
- Lois Lindsay … Sound Stage Girl (uncredited)
- Jackie the Lion (You Nazty Spy!) … Lion (uncredited)
- Charles Phillips (Matri-phony) … 2nd. Assistant Cameraman (uncredited)
- Eve Reynolds (Goofs and Saddles) … Sound Stage Girl (uncredited)
- Antrim Short … Cameraman (uncredited)
- Tanner (Hold That Lion) … Lion (uncredited)
- Harry Tenbrook (3 Dumb Clucks) … Lighting Technician (uncredited)
- Hilda Title (Ants in the Pantry) … Script Girl (uncredited)
- Elaine Waters (Grips, Grunts and Groans) … Marie – Studio Employee (uncredited)
- Blackie Whiteford (Three Hams on Rye) … Guard (uncredited)
- Bert Young (Malice in the Palace) … Assistant Cameraman (uncredited)