>> Monday, April 16, 2007
USA/B&W-16m./Dir: Jules White/Wr: Felix Adler /Cast: Moe Howard (Moe), Larry Fine (Larry), Shemp Howard (Shemp), Christine McIntyre (Katrina), Yvette Reynard (Fifi), Marie Monteil (Maria)
The Three Stooges used alcohol as a plot device in a handful of their 190 Columbia short subjects--delivering barrels of beer, tending bar, and even fermenting their own brew. However, there were only a few precious moments in which the boys appeared in a state of dizzy drunkenness. The 1950 two-reeler Love at First Bite (not to be confused with the George Hamilton Dracula spoof) is a notable example, presenting the Stooges at their most stewed.
As the short begins, Moe, Larry, and Shemp are merrily decorating their apartment in preparation for a visit from their brides to be. After a series of brief flashbacks in which each Stooge explains how he met his fiancée (it seems a girl can’t resist a man in uniform, even a Stooge), the boys decide to drink a toast to their upcoming nuptials. Unfortunately, Stooges do not hold their liquor well, and within seconds the boys are fully plotzed and itching for a fight. This sets in motion a seltzer duel between Moe and Shemp; and when Shemp passes out, Moe mistakenly believes he’s killed him. Rather than mourn the passing of their pal, Moe and Larry stick Shemp’s feet in a tub of cement with plans to sink his body in the river.
As you can likely tell from the plot description, this is not one of the best Stooge shorts. It suffers from an anemic script and an over-reliance on violence to elicit laughs--a criticism that is true of most of the later comedies directed by Jules White. The only reason Love at First Bite works at all is due to Moe, Larry, and Shemp’s well-timed ad-libs and physical comedy skills. That said, the Stooges’ drunken antics are hilarious, and that alone makes this short a must-see.
Drinks Consumed--Beer, Wine, Old Panther (likely whiskey-100 proof)
Intoxicating Effects--Hiccups, slurred speech, staggering, stumbling, brawling, passing out, memory blackouts, and hangover
Potent Quotables--LARRY: Oh, my head! What’d we drink?
MOE: I don’t know, varnish…
Video Availability-- On DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 6: 1949-1951 (Sony)
Similarly Sauced Cinema--Shemp has to stay stewed in order to see Carrie, the imaginary canary with whom he is in love, in the worst Stooge short ever made, Cuckoo on a Choo Choo (1952). You’ll have to stay stewed in order to watch it.
Three 3 Stooges LEGALIZE SHEMP Adult Tshirt