Three Stooges 70th Annivoisary Blowout | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Three Stooges 70th Annivoisary Blowout


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Now that Cineaste has published an appreciation of the Three Stooges, we can all flock to the Film Center to ponder a mise-en-scene where a swung crowbar bends into a silhouette of the head it bashes. From 1934 to '59 the Stooges cranked out 190 two-reelers for Columbia Pictures, and for the first five or six years they did terrific work, aided by such silent-comedy veterans as Del Lord (one of the Keystone Kops) and Clyde Bruckman (Buster Keaton's right-hand man). After that their budgets began to contract and they ran out of ideas, though Curly Howard's crazed persona kept them afloat well into the 40s. This program of seven newly struck 35-millimeter prints omits many of their best bits but does include Men in Black (1934), which was nominated for an Oscar; An Ache in Every Stake (1941), in which they try to deliver ice up a 147-step staircase in the middle of July; and Micro-Phonies (1945), with Curly impersonating a classical soprano as he mimes to a record of Strauss's "Voices of Spring." Also screening are Violent Is the Word for Curly (1938); In the Sweet Pie and Pie (1941); You Nazty Spy (1941), with Moe impersonating Hitler; and Brideless Groom (1947), with Shemp Howard. 140 min. Reviewed this week in Section One. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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