The Three Stooges

film 3 of 26

Punch Drunks

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 29, 2015

I like the early scenes in the diner the best. We find Larry—who is a very good looking man, by the way—appearing briefly as an itinerant Jew, right down to the persecution. Did William Dieterle and Bernard Hermann and company hear or think about this film when they were getting their Daniel Webster movie (1941) ready? The idea is that Curly goes crazy every time he hears “Pop Goes the Weasel.” The transformation effected by this dumb tune makes for some superb cartoon nonsense. Moe’s desire to profit from this inexplicable phenomenon looks forward, a little bit, to One Froggy Evening. You see, film rationalists and party poopers in general? Not everything in life needs to make any sense at all.

The training interlude (“I slipped,” the lady in the ditch) is, again, happily reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy. The extended fight sequence grates a little. It’s going to take some time before they get this down, and they may never be completely consistent with it. That’s what happens when the unleashed Id is in the vicinity, I guess. Toward the end Larry sure goes to admirable, even heroic lengths to procure the proper accompaniment for Curly, and enable him to fulfill the measure of his creation.