Hula-La-La

Hula-La-La is the 135th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1951 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

Hula-La-La
Directed byHugh McCollum
Produced byHugh McCollum
Written byEdward Bernds
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Jean Willes
Kenneth MacDonald
Emil Sitka
Joy Windsor
Maxine Doviat
Heinie Conklin
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byEdwin H. Bryant
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 1, 1951 (1951-11-01) (U.S.)
Running time
16:06
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Plot

The Stooges are choreographers at B. O. Pictures who are assigned to teach island natives how to dance. The studio's president, Mr. Baines (Emil Sitka) has purchased the fictional Pacific island of Rarabonga (parody of Rarotonga, one of the Cook Islands) for his next musical extravaganza, but learns that the local natives have never heard of dancing.

When the Stooges arrive at Rarabonga, they soon learn that the natives are cannibalistic head hunters under the control of powerful evil Witch Doctor Varanu (Kenneth MacDonald). Shemp makes it clear he does not want the "hair cuts down to my neck!" and the Stooges try to flee with the help of the Tribe King's daughter Luana (Jean Willes). She wants them to rescue her boyfriend from the witch doctor, who plans to behead him in the morning—along with the Stooges. In one of the huts, the Three Stooges try to get their hands on a box of surplus World War II hand grenades guarded by a living Kali type four-armed totem idol (Lei Aloha). After getting the daylights beat out of them by the fierce idol, the boys grab the box of grenades, and fool the Witch Doctor into proving his expertise with his sword by slicing the box of grenades with his huge sword, and the grenades promptly explode, blowing him out of the atmosphere.

With Witch Doctor Varanu gone, the Stooges commence with their choreography lessons and teach the natives to dance.

Production

Hula-La-La was filmed on May 25–29, 1951.[1] It was the only Three Stooges film directed by producer Hugh McCollum, who gave the medium a shot while Edward Bernds was busy directing feature films. Bernds described McCollum's directing style as "gentle and tasteful", like McCollum himself. However, film author Ted Okuda believed this hurt his films, not allowing them to reach their full potential. Hula-La-La was cited as an example of suffering from moments of restraint, resulting in several scenes lacking their comedic punch.[2]

The standard "Three Blind Mice" theme is replaced during the end titles with a hula composition entitled "Lu-Lu." The tune was written by Columbia Pictures composers Ross DiMaggio and Nico Grigor.[3]

References

  1. Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 151. ISBN 9781595800701.
  2. Okuda, Ted; Watz, Edward (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 21. ISBN 0-89950-181-8.
  3. Finegan, Richard (Winter 2000). "The Three Stooges Film Music Identified, 1950-1954". The Three Stooges Journal. Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania: The Three Stooges Fan Club, Inc. (96): 5. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
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