Review: Pardon My Scotch (1935)

>> Saturday, October 6, 2007

USA/B&W-19m./Dir: Del Lord/Wr: Andrew Bennison/Cast: Moe Howard (Moe/McSnuff), Larry Fine (Larry/McSniff), Curly Howard (Curly/McSnort), Nat Carr (Mr. Martin), James C. Morton (J.T. Walton), Billy Gilbert (Signor Louis Balero Cantino), Al Thompson (Jones, the druggist)

In their first booze-centric short, Moe, Larry, and Curly portray carpenters who are asked to watch over a drug store when the owner leaves in a frantic search for liquor to sell in his pharmacy before the impending end of Prohibition. Of course, the Stooges are mistaken for the owners of the establishment when Mr. Martin, the local bootlegger, stops in to apologize for being unable to fill the pharmacist’s order. Stressed out, Martin asks the boys to fix him a drink, which they do by pouring everything they can find into an old boot, shaking it up, and straining the cocktail through a wicker chair. When Martin tastes the potent concoction, he’s convinced it’s Scotch; and he suggests a business partnership in which the boys produce the whiskey and he distributes it. The story ends with Moe, Larry, and Curly attending a dinner party, masquerading as Scottish distillers (McSniff, McSnuff, and McSnort) in an attempt to sell their “Breath of Heather” to the rich attendees. Naturally, the barrel of whiskey they brought along explodes, and the party is doused in foam.

Pardon My Scotch is one of the most memorable of the early Stooge comedies. Not only does it contain the first of many cocktail mixing scenes involving an old boot; it also contains some classic exchanges during the opening carpentry scenes--

MOE: Get the tools.
LARRY: What tools?
MOE: The tools we’ve been using for the last ten years!
LARRY: Ohhh, those tools.

The short is also notable for containing the sequence in which Curly saws through a table while Moe stands on top of it. Moe actually cracked a few ribs during the fall, but ever the trouper, he finished the scene before collapsing in pain.

As for the alky content of the short, there is very little actual drinking, but the whole film centers around obtaining liquor and making a quick buck off it before the repeal of Prohibition. This comedy was filmed just four months after the 21st Amendment put an end to the temperance movement for good, and although the material was very contemporary upon its release, this comic cocktail has held up remarkably well.

Drinks Consumed--Homemade Scotch

Intoxicating Effects--Hats flying off heads and insensibility

Potent Quotables--MARTIN (toasting the homemade cocktail): Toodle-loo.
MOE: Over the river.
CURLY: Skip the gutter.
LARRY: Ver g’harget. (Yiddish for “drop dead”)
MARTIN (recovering from the drink): Oh, boy! Where’d ya get this Scotch?!
MOE: We made it.
CURLY: All of us.

Video Availability--On DVD as part of The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 1: 1934-1936 (Sony)

Similarly Sauced Cinema--The Stooges also mixed a cocktail in a worn out boot in the shorts Three Sappy People (1939), Out West (1947), All Gummed Up (1947), Bubble Trouble (1953), and Pals and Gals (1954).

The Three Stooges Scrapbook (Paperback)

1 comments:

Paul December 4, 2007 at 11:50 PM  

Does anyone remember the short where they make beer? Unbeknownst to each other, all three Stooges put the yeast in. They discover it when the batch explodes. The quote: "We all put the yeast in."

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

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