Start Cheering (1938) starring Jimmy Durante, Walter Connolly, The Three Stooges
I recently saw this classic romantic comedy/musical, Start Cheering, on Turner Classic Movies, and I was pleasantly surprised — I didn’t even realize initially that the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard) were in the film, but I was happy to find out that they did.
The basic plot has a movie/singing star, Ted Crosley, who is tired of his life, and goes back to college under an assumed name, accompanied by his friend, Willie Gumbatz (played by Jimmy Durante – the actual star of the show, and very funny in his role as dim-witted pal). The college that he attends, however, is on the verge of bankruptcy after the Dean has built a new football stadium (named after himself), and he intends to make money by ticket sales once word has leaked out (courtesy of Ted’s manager, who wants him drop out of college) that the famous Ted Crosley will be playing football there. Unfortunately, in real life, Ted’s not that good on the football field … and he falls in love with the Dean’s daughter, and the various romantic complications arise, as well.
The Three Stooges are on screen for only 2 major scenes, one on the football field where they’re effectively tackling dummies ( a very funny scene), and later on in the dorms where they play the part of firefighters and campus police. They’re funny, but I frankly wouldn’t have sat through the movie for those two scenes. Jimmy Durante, however, is a different story — he plays his role of none-too-bright sidekick to the tilt, and is very funny, and a pleasure to watch.
The songs and musical numbers are enjoyable, as well. At this time, Start Cheering isn’t available on DVD.