Idiots Deluxe is the 85th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1945 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.
|Directed by||Jules White|
|Produced by||Jules White|
|Written by||Elwood Ullman|
|Edited by||Charles Hochberg|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Moe is on trial for assaulting Larry and Curly. Moe appeals to the judge (Vernon Dent), claiming he is a sick man who was instructed by his doctor to maintain peace and quiet. This peace is broken by Larry and Curly who are loudly rehearsing their "The Original Two-Man Quartet" routine. Moe cracks, and wraps Curly's trombone slide around the quartet's necks. Realizing Moe is in bad shape, Larry and Curly decide to take their ailing leader on a hunting trip to relieve his stress. Moe agrees, and the Stooges start packing.
No sooner do they arrive in an empty cabin when a hungry bear devours some eggs and potatoes while Moe has his back turned. His nerves double frayed, Moe asks Larry and Curly to pursue the bear. With a fear of bears, he uses his sickness as an excuse not to help. Larry and Curly set the bear trap, but Curly gets caught in the trap, thinking the bear is attacking him. Larry tells him that it was only the trap. They find Moe, thinking he is the bear, and shoot him. Then they find out it is actually Moe. Curly drives them to the bear's cave, and eventually, Moe helps them hunt the bear. Larry spots some boulders and decides to barricade the cave and suffocate the bear, but accidentally knocks Moe out. Larry and Curly take him back to the Stooges' car. Then, they get back to work, blocking the cave, unaware that the bear has gotten out. Larry accidentally throws a rock at the bear. Curly finds him knocked out, thinking he is dead and calls Larry, then they put him in the car. Moe has revived and is frightened to see the bear in the car, so he escapes. The bear attacks Larry and Curly, first thinking they are hitting each other, then they think Moe is hitting them, then they find out that the bear has been attacking them, then they too escape, and the bear ends up behind the wheel of the car, and ultimately wrecks it.
Back in the courtroom, Moe ends his story by concluding that he must go back to bed for six additional months. The judge takes pity on him, and finds him not guilty. The judge then returns Moe's axe, and Larry and Curly, who are disgusted with the verdict, are chased out of the courthouse by the axe-swinging Moe.
Idiots Deluxe was filmed on October 5-9, 1944, the last short film produced that year. The title is a satire on Idiot's Delight, a play by Robert E. Sherwood and later an MGM movie of the same title with Norma Shearer and Clark Gable. Idiots Deluxe marks a change in the title screens, most notably featuring the Greco-Roman comic mask of the Muse Thalia in the upper left-hand corner. This new format would remain in place for the remainder of the Stooges shorts run at Columbia Pictures. The film is a remake of Oh, My Nerves, starring Monte Collins and Tom Kennedy. It would be remade with the Stooges again in 1957 as Guns a Poppin, using minimal stock footage. The initial plotline of a person going on a retreat to heal an illness was originally done by Laurel and Hardy in the 1934 film Them Thar Hills.
One notable gag was the Stooges' unorthodox cuisine. Idiots Deluxe shows Larry and Curly putting almost every known condiment onto slices of bread but, not surprisingly, they are never shown actually eating the whole bread (partly because Moe interrupts them before they can). Moe then pours honey and ketchup on bread, declaring "If there's anything I like better than honey and ketchup, it's bologna and whipped cream—and we haven't got any!" Like Larry and Curly, Moe also does not eat his concoction, though he is seen biting a small piece of the crust off.
At Moe's insistence, Curly Howard entered a Cottage Hospital at Santa Barbara, California in January 1945 and was found to have serious hypertension, obesity and retinal hemorrhage. The next short film produced, If a Body Meets a Body, was shot five months after Idiots Deluxe in March 1945 shortly after he suffered a minor stroke. His remaining performances with the team were lackluster and displayed the effects of his illness.