Nutty But Nice (1940) starring the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard), Vernon Dent
Synopsis of Nutty But Nice
Working as singing waiters, the Three Stooges are enlisted by a doctor to try and cheer up a little girl. Her father, a banker, was kidnapped with $300,000 worth of bonds. Failing to cheer the girl, the Stooges decide to look for the father and wind up in the bad guysâ hideout. The villains return and, after a wild fight, the boys free the missing man.
Review of Nutty But Nice
Nutty But Nice is frankly one of my very favorite Three Stooges short film, if not my personal favorite. It combines my favorite elements of the Three Stoogesâthe Stooges showing their good nature to help someone in need, their verbal and slapstick comedy, their frenetic fast-paced comedy, etc.
Nutty But Nice begins with the Three Stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly) working as singing comedy waiters in a restaurant – they wait on two regular customers, both doctorsâone of them is played by Three Stooges regular Vernon Dent, who suggests to his colleague that the Three Stooges might be exactly what they need to help one of their patientsâa little girl. Her father, a bank employee, has been kidnapped by gangsters along with 300,000 dollars worth of bonds, and the little girl is depressed. The Three Stooges dress up as little girls, and visit her in the hospital, trying to cheer her up with a short slapstick routineâitâs very funny, but nothing will make the little girl better but the return of her father. So the Three Stooges volunteer to find him, and off they go!
The search for the little girlâs father is one of the funniest parts of the film, as Curly yodels (listening for the manâs yodeling reply), and Moe and Larry use the other clues to look for the manâsince he has an anchor tattooed on his shoulder, they rip the sleeves off strangersâ shirt, and since heâs five feet ten inches tall in his stocking feet, the measure random men on the streetâtaking their shoes off by force. Thereâs a very funny running gag as they keep running over a man leaving a tavern carrying buckets of beer (yes, thatâs how people could actually purchase beer back in 1940), using the Rule of Three to repeat the joke only three times, ending with the frustrated man stamping on his pails, only to have a disheveled police detective (who the Stooges have attacked and stolen his shoes from) arrest him for public intoxication!
Despite their utterly inept attempts at tracking down the man, they actually succeed when Curly hears an âanswering yodelâ from the radio that the gangsterâs turned on. After an upstairs neighbor drops a potted plant or two on Curlyâs yodeling, they make their way to the gangsterâs apartment, overpower him and rescue the girlâs father and his bondsâa very funny scene as they unintentionally keep hitting that poor gangster into unconsciousness. Soon, the other members of the gang return, and they try to escape via the roomâs dumbwaiter, but make the mistake of sending Curly down first, ruining the dumbwaiter and having Moe and Larry drop down the shaft, landing on Moe and the banker. Soon theyâre trying to make their way in the darkened basement, with several laugh-out-loud moments, such as Curly unscrewing a lit light bulbâthat stays lit. Eventually the gang tracks them down, and after another wild fight, the Three Stooges stand triumphant, and the film ends with the doctors, banker and the little girl at the Stoogesâ restaurant, as Moe, Larry and Curly sing a silly song about their deserts, ending with Curly wanting custard on his pieâand Moe and Larry comply, hitting him with pies.
Nutty But Nice is a personal favorite Three Stooges short film, and I hope that you enjoy it as well. Itâs available on DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection volume 3.
Editorial review of Nutty But Nice courtesy of Amazon.com
Nutty but Nice (1940, number 47) has the boys trying to help a melancholic girl by finding her kidnapped father. It starts interestingly with the boys as a team running a musical restaurant, but it turns to more familiar material as they try to escape from an apartment using the dumbwaiter. (They will never learn not to send Curly down first.) What makes this entry more interesting is that Vernon Dent gets to play a straight, sympathetic part that calls upon him actually to laugh at the Stoogesâ routines.
Funny movie quotes from Nutty But Nice
Moe (Moe Howard): Hiya, doctor.
Dr. Walters (Vernon Dent): Hi, what have you today boys?
Moe (Moe Howard): Tell him what we have.
Curly (Curly Howard): Well, doc Iâve a terrific pain right here. Every time I squeeze my Adamâs Apple I can taste cider.
Curly (Curly Howard): This soup is a marvelous accomplishment! Itâs a prodigious achievement! Youâre gonna love it! Itâs putrid!
Curly (Curly Howard)â: Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, and one measly petunia.
Moe (Moe Howard): What?
Curly (Curly Howard): Petunia! Petunia!
Moe (Moe Howard): Donât you mean chrysanthemum-mum-mum-mum-mum?
Curly (Curly Howard): I mean petunia!
Moe (Moe Howard): I heard you the first time. [smacks Curly with a balloon]
[The Stooges are looking for a man who measures 5â10â in his stocking feet]
Moe (Moe Howard): That canât be him.
Curly (Curly Howard): Why not?
Moe (Moe Howard): He ainât got no stockings on!
Gangster: Whoâs there?
Curly (Curly Howard): Termites!
Larry (Larry Fine): Weâre trapped like rats.
Moe (Moe Howard): Speak for yourself, rodent!
Moe (Moe Howard): Hey, the dumbwaiter!
Curly (Curly Howard): I resent that!
Moe (Moe Howard): Not you, the other dumbwaiter!
Curly (Curly Howard): Iâm not gonna walk around in the dark any longer, Iâm gonna take this with me! [unscrews light bulb, which stays lit as Curly carries it off]
Moe (Moe Howard): Heâs haunted.
Curly (Curly Howard): [Curly seems to have an arrow through his stomach] Iâm dead. Iâm murdered. Iâm killed. Iâm annihilated. What will the world do without me? What will I do without myself?
[Moe has a closer look to see thatâs a curved-in- the-middle fake arrow thatâs around his waist, he pulls it off]
Curly (Curly Howard): Iâm slaughtered. Iâm annihilated. Iâm destroyed. Iâm barbecued. Iâm done for!
Curly (Curly Howard): Can you think of anything else?
Moe (Moe Howard): No. You covered it all.
Curly (Curly Howard): Iâm not even wounded?
Moe (Moe Howard): Thatâs what you think.
[strikes him in the gut with the fake arrow]
Trivia for Nutty But Nice
- The title Nutty but Nice is a play on the old expression, “naughty but nice”.
- Curly was first called “Swiss Cheese” in this episode.