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STOP! LOOK! AND LAUGH!(director/writer: Jules White; screenwriters: written by eleven contributors; cinematographer: Glen Gano among many others; editors: Charles Nelson/Jerome Thoms; music: Sid Kuller; cast: Paul Winchell (Himself), Moe, Larry and Curly Howard (The Three Stooges), Officer Joe (Joe Bolton); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Romm; Columbia Pictures; 1960)
“The film is fit for the kiddies, who are more apt than adults to take to the Stooges’ silly slapstick routines.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Longtime Stooge writer and director Jules White is credited with the overall direction. Stop! Look! And Laugh! is a compilation of scenes lifted from some of the best Stooges’ shorts of the 1930s and 1940s, all featuring the original and inimitable Curly Howard–he died some eight years earlier than the release date. It was designed to make a quick buck on the Stooges renewed popularity, as in 1959 their old Columbia two-reelers were released to television.

The film is framed around ventriloquist Paul Winchell dealing with his wooden dummy “son” Jerry Mahoney and his school adventures. Paul answers Jerry’s questions about school and the film then responds by showing a short on how the Stooges handle it.

It opens with Paul telling Jerry a brief history of the world: civilization develops as chimpanzees evolve into man. The creativity of man is illustrated by the Stooges as riveters working at a construction site of a high-rise building. The film continues in this vein (The Stooges’ in other skits being car mechanics, doctors, plumbers, bullfighters and many other characters, causing their usual havoc), with Paul doing a ventriloquist skit with either Jerry or the other dummy Knucklehead Smiff, a school friend of Jerry’s who lives with them.

Hardcore fans of both The Three Stooges and the television performer ventriloquist Paul Winchell might be satisfied with such an uninspiring film that was put together without care (the Stooges’ shorts were chopped up and not complete), but others might find it disappointing. I can take the Stooges on their own terms (I think!), but combined with Winchell’s soft comedy act was enough to turn me off this film. But the film is fit for the kiddies, who are more apt than adults to take to the Stooges’ silly slapstick routines.

The stock footage of the The Three Stooges includes the following: Men in Black (1934), Goofs and Saddles (1937), Violent is the Word for Curly (1938), Calling All Curs (1939), Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise (1939), A-Plumbing We Will Go (1940), How High Is Up? (1940), Sock-a-Bye Baby (1942), What’s the Matador (1942), Higher Than a Kite (1943), Micro Phonies (1945) and Half-Wits Holiday (1947).

There’s also the Marquis Chimps (a troupe of performing monkeys in costume) on hand to perform a rendition of “Cinderella.” Some may prefer the chimps to either Winchell or The Stooges.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”