The Three Stooges

film 17 of 26

The Sitter Downers

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 29, 2015

Very farcical—a ridiculous scenario about three sisters and their three suitors has nudging and winking implications, and is at the same time very sweet and innocent. Chaucer? Life itself? The facts of life are up front, and by not hiding them, or hiding from them, we end up having a healthy, balanced, unforced/unfetishized relationship with them. Or, they like really dumb stories. Notice that the individual Stooges hadn’t really decided which of the individual girls they actually wanted to marry. This sit-down strike is funny, and a real variation on the old/standard bossy father character, from the commedia tradition. The nation wide support they get as they announce this strike is quite delightful; it’s not exactly Frank Capra’s fault, but it’s definitely reflective of some kind of populist impulse.

The house building angle is right out of the great Buster Keaton short, One Week (q.v.). The idea at the root of it couldn’t have been vaudevillian, could it? Even with the Stooges’ background? That kind of design comedy can only be filmed. With this variation we get none of Keaton’s precision, because these guys have other rows to hoe. We do have August Strindberg’s eternal battlefield between men and women (c.f. The Father, 1887; also The Dance of Death, 1890). But you kind of suspect that this may not be their heart’s message either. Maybe they’re just devoted to blowing Curly up into that tree, or to hitting the already unconscious Dorabel one more time with that cement block (fabulous!). Once in a while films like these are wholes, but when they are not, then the more general parts are still plenty satisfying.