Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Three Stooges--Half Shot Shooters

Half Shot Shooters has the stooges back in uniform.  This time around, they start out as doughboys an re-enlist years later during the Great Depression.    This short features one of the rare occasions when the Stooges do not survive the ending. 

The Stooges are caught napping in the trenches moments before the armistice ending world War I is signed.  They receive a beating from their sergeant as punishment.  After their discharge, they meet up with the sergeant and work him over in revenge free rom any consequences since they no longer take orers from him. 

Seventeen years later, the Stooges, who are completely broke, are tricked into re-enlisting in the army by a cafĂ© patron from whom they attempted to steal a meal.    They wind up back under the command of the same sergeant.  He puts them through the ringer for the beating he received.  Later, the Stooges are assigned to man coastal artillery.  While practicing their incompetence with the cannon, they destroy a smokestack, a brige, and a house before hitting the admiral’s flagship.  In response, the sergeant lines them up in front of the cannon and fires, leaving behind nothing but three smoking boots. 

Moe declares himself to be a Democrat at one point.  Curly responds that he most certainly is not.  Whether that makes Curly a Republican is up to you to decide.   Moe did more or less say he was a New Deal advocate a couple shorts back, so the revelation he is a Democrat is not a surprise.   He is the only one of the trio to die a millionaire, however, so he may have changed his mind later in life when those tax bills started coming due. 

Half Shot Shooters is funny enough, but it is its uniqueness that makes the short worth watching.  I have already mentioned the Stooes die in it, but they also suffer visible injuries at the hands of the sergeant when they usually appear impervious to their own fisticuffs.  Stock footage of war scenes and explosions add something to the short, as well.  It is clearly the best short of the 1936 batch thus far.

Rating: *** (out of 5) 

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