American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

Click to Print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of Nov./Dec. Schedule!

Click to Print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of Dec./Jan. Schedule!

Series compiled by:  Dennis Bartok, Gwen Deglise & Chris D with extra special thanks to Michael "Shemp" Schlesinger for his enormous help!!.

 

 

Special Thanks to:

 

 

 

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The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
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<<< December 23, 2004 - January 2, 2005 >>>

Too Much Monkey Business: The Marx Bros., Abbott & Costello and The Three Stooges!!

 

So many wonderful things have regrettably disappeared from pictures today, but perhaps the most baffling one is The Comedy Team. As thick as thieves from the ‘30s to the ‘50s, they’ve been all but extinct from movie screens since the Eisenhower Administration (not exactly a big bundle of yuks itself). So, to celebrate that golden age of hilarity—and provide a welcome Holiday respite to all those depressing Oscar-wannabes showing everywhere else—we present for your big-screen pleasure, three of the best: one duo, one trio, and one quartet, with nothing in common but their flawless abilities to reduce you to a helpless puddle of guffaws. (Perhaps a result of their differing roots: the Marx Bros. came from Broadway, the Stooges from vaudeville, and A&C from burlesque.) And because these movies were meant to be seen in theatres with an audience, their immaculate timing frequently seems off when watched alone on TV. So forsake your DVD player, come to our all-you-can-laugh buffet and load up your plate…and be sure to bring the kids: they’re probably starved for some real comedy!

 

Thursday, December 23 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: ANIMAL CRACKERS, 1930, Paramount (Universal), 97 min. Dir. Victor Heerman. The Marx Bros.’ second film finds them running amuck at a swanky Long Island estate where a priceless painting has been stolen. This invaluable record of their last Broadway show features Groucho’s immortal theme song, "Hooray For Captain Spaulding," the classic bridge game and dictating-a-letter routines, and delightful support from the legendary Lillian Roth, plus Louis Sorin, Robert Greig, and of course, Margaret Dumont.

BUCK PRIVATES, 1941, Universal, 84 min. Dir. Arthur Lubin. Abbott and Costello’s first starring vehicle was a certifiable blockbuster that made them instant superstars and triggered a wave of service comedies. Packed with some of their greatest routines, including the drill, the crap game, and "You’re 40, She’s 10," plus the Andrews Sisters singing their smash "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B." With Lee Bowman, Jane Frazee, Nat Pendleton and Shemp Howard.

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "A-Plumbing We Will Go," 1940, Columbia, 18 min. Dir. Del Lord. Fleeing the cops, The Stooges hide in a mansion—where they’re mistaken for plumbers. "Come in, Niagara Falls!" With Bud Jamison, Dudley Dickerson, Monte Collins and Symona Boniface.

 

Saturday, December 25 - 5:00 PM

Double Feature: DUCK SOUP, 1933, Paramount (Universal), 68 min. Dir. Leo McCarey. What better way to spend Christmas than with the AFI’s #5 Funniest Film (and #1 among movies made before 1959). Groucho is newly-appointed Prime Minister Rufus T. Firefly, who promptly declares war on a neighboring country for no particular reason. (Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar.) This absolutely merciless satire was a flop in its day, but by the 1960s had taken its place as one of the unconditional giants of film comedy. Written by Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby (who also wrote the songs), Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin. With Louis Calhern, Raquel Torres, Charles Middleton, Edgar Kennedy, and of course, Margaret Dumont; it was also Zeppo’s last film.

IN THE NAVY, 1941, Universal, 86 min. Dir. Arthur Lubin. Abbott and Costello give equal time to our boys in blue as they perform more of their choicest routines, including "7x13=28," "The Lemon Bit" and "Sons of Neptune" (watch closely as Bud and Lou crack up during this one). With Dick Powell, Claire Dodd, Dick Foran, Shemp Howard and The Andrews Sisters.

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "You Nazty Spy!" 1940, Columbia, 18 min. Dir. Jules White. Anticipating Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR, The Stooges introduce us to Moe Hailstone, supreme dictator of Moronica. Perhaps their most critically-acclaimed short, this has a slightly surrealist feel that’s rare for the boys; it was the personal favorite of both Moe and producer/director White. With Lorna Gray, Richard Fiske and Don Beddoe.

 

Sunday, December 26 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature: HORSE FEATHERS, 1932, Paramount (Universal), 68 min. Dir. Norman Z. McLeod. The Marx Bros.’ zaniest film finds Groucho as the new president of Huxley College, where his son (Zeppo!) is romancing Thelma Todd and Harpo and Chico have to kidnap the star football players from rival Darwin. Co-written by S.J. Perelman, whose literate wordplay makes this a special treat, and containing the classic speakeasy and singing lesson routines. With David Landau, Nat Pendleton and Robert Grieg (for once, not cast as a butler).

ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, 1948, Universal, 83 min. Dir. Charles Barton. The apex of their career, and the finest horror-comedy ever made (at least until YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN). The boys are baggage clerks who accidentally set loose Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula; werewolf Larry Talbot (in a relatively heroic mode) tries to convince them that the Count intends to give Lou’s brain to the Monster! (Like that’d be an improvement.) The baddies play it straight in this truly exceptional spoof, which also stars Bela Lugosi (in his second and final appearance as Dracula), Lon Chaney Jr. (fifth and final as Talbot) and Glenn Strange (third and final as the Monster), as well as Jane Randolph, Lenore Aubert and Frank Ferguson.

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "Violent Is The Word For Curly," 1938, Columbia, 18 min. Dir: Charley Chase. The Stooges are gas-station attendants mistaken for the new professors at an all-girls school; they begin class by teaching their students the erudite "Swingin’ The Alphabet" ("B-A-Bay, B-E-Bee…"), which Chase also wrote. Photographed by no less than Lucien Ballard!

Plus: An unbelievably rare kinescope of Abbott & Costello performing their immortal "Who’s On First?" routine on live TV in the early ‘50s! You won’t see this anywhere else! (Courtesy of Sabucat Prod.)

 

Monday, December 27 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: MONKEY BUSINESS, 1931, Paramount (Universal), 77 min. Dir. Norman Z. McLeod. The Marxes’ first original screenplay—by S.J. Perelman and an uncredited Ben Hecht, among others—is perhaps their most bizarre (and the only one in which they have no character names). They’re stowaways on an ocean liner, wreaking havoc and getting mixed up with rival gangsters as well as Thelma Todd. Includes the famed scene where all four try to get through customs by pretending to be Maurice Chevalier. With Rockliffe Fellows, Harry Woods, Ruth Hall and Tom Kennedy (no relation to Edgar).

PARDON MY SARONG, 1942, Universal, 84 min. Dir. Erle C. Kenton. In one of their most lavish vehicles, Abbott & Costello are bus drivers helping Honolulu playboy Robert Paige win a big yacht race—until they’re blown off course to an island lorded over by an evil scientist (who else but Lionel Atwill?). Hilarious bits include "Go Ahead And Back Up" and "The Tree of Truth," but frankly, nothing tops that jaw-dropping table dance by Tip, Tap and Toe. Also on board: Virginia Bruce, Leif Erickson, William Demarest, Charles Lane and The Ink Spots (who sing "Shout, Brother, Shout!").

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "Oily To Bed, Oily To Rise," 1939, Columbia, 19 min. Dir. Jules White. The Stooges let loose a gusher on the farm of a little old lady—who’s just been swindled out of the property by crooks. Curly’s timing in this one is nothing short of astounding. With Richard Fiske, Eddie Laughton, Lorna Gray and Dorothy Comingore (in her "Linda Winters" days).

 

Tuesday, December 28 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, 1935, MGM (Warners), 92 min. Dir. Sam Wood. The Marxes’ first film for MGM, first without Zeppo, and their biggest box office hit. Heck, you know the plot, so just enjoy the stateroom scene, the contract routine, and tons of great one-liners. And remember: there ain’t no sanity clause! Numerous writers (many uncredited) include George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Al Boasberg and even Buster Keaton. With Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones, Sig Rumann, Walter Woolf King, and of course, Margaret Dumont.

WHO DONE IT?, 1942, Universal, 75 min. Dir. Erle C. Kenton. Abbott & Costello’s first film without musical numbers is one of their absolute best; they play soda jerks pretending to be detectives in order to solve a murder at a radio network. The menace is very real, the deco sets are fabulous, and the supporting cast is unbeatable: William Bendix, Patrick Knowles, Mary Wickes, Don Porter, Louise Albritton, Thomas Gomez, William Gargan, Jerome Cowan and Ludwig Stossel.

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "Micro-Phonies," 1945, Columbia, 18 min. Dir. Edward Bernds. Considered by many Stooge fans to be their greatest short; Curly is somehow mistaken for an operatic diva, and is forced to attend a ritzy party in drag—and perform! With Christine McIntyre (as the real singer), Gino Corrado, Fred Kelsey, Chester Conklin and Symona Boniface.

 

Wednesday, December 29 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: A DAY AT THE RACES, 1937, MGM (Warners), 111 min. Dir. Sam Wood. The Marxes’ second (and most expensive) MGM film serves up Groucho as Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, who arouses all sorts of suspicion as the new head of a posh sanitarium—and with good reason: he’s actually a veterinarian! Includes the celebrated "tootsie-fruitsie" and examination routines, and a tremendous cast including Maureen O’Sullivan, Allan Jones, Douglass Dumbrille, Sig Rumann, Esther Muir, and of course, Margaret Dumont.

HOLD THAT GHOST!, 1941, Universal, 86 min. Dir. Arthur Lubin. Arguably the finest of Bud and Lou’s early films; they’re left the "haunted" roadhouse of a dying gangster, who hid all his loot in there…somewhere. The first of their beloved "scare" comedies features the riotous (and oft-repeated) moving-candle and changing-room scenes, plus one of their finest supporting casts: Richard Carlson, Joan Davis, Evelyn Ankers, Ted Lewis (who sings "Me and My Shadow"), Marc Lawrence, Mischa Auer, and the inevitable Shemp Howard and the Andrews Sisters—not together, of course. Great animated titles, too!

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "Playing The Ponies," 1937, Columbia, 18 min. Dir. Charles Lamont. The Stooges’ restaurant (with Curly as the chef) isn’t cutting the mustard, so they trade it to a couple of con artists for a racehorse inappropriately named Thunderbolt. With Lew Davis, William Irving and renowned cartoon voice-man Billy Bletcher.

 

Thursday, December 30 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature: THE THREE STOOGES’ 70TH ANNIVOISARY! Columbia, 106 min. We know, we know, just one at a time ain’t enough, so to commemorate their signing with The Torch Lady in 1934, here are six more Stooge epics to keep you nyuking through the holidays!

"Men In Black" (1934, Raymond McCarey) brought them their only Oscar nomination and gave the world "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!" "Horses’ Collars" (1935) sends them out west to help a sweet young thing recover the stolen deed to her ranch; their only short directed by the legendary Clyde Bruckman. In "From Nurse To Worse" (1940, Jules White), the only way Curly can get health insurance is if he’s mentally ill, so he acts like a rabid dog! "Squareheads Of The Round Table" (1948, Edward Bernds) finds them as medieval troubadours helping blacksmith Jock Mahoney elope with King Arthur’s daughter…or at least trying to. "An Ache In Every Stake" (1941, Del Lord) is a gag-crammed masterpiece in which they play icemen recruited to cook a last-minute birthday dinner for Vernon Dent. And the quintessential "In The Sweet Pie and Pie" (1941, Jules White) concludes with one of the screen’s all-time colossal pie-fights; there’s also a bunk-bed gag later swiped for THE GREAT ESCAPE. Spread out, knuckleheads!

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KILLER, BORIS KARLOFF, 1949, Universal, 84 min. Dir. Charles Barton. Probably the only film to contain three stars’ names in the title! A diverting whodunit spoof (originally conceived for Bob Hope) with Bud and Lou as a hotel detective and bellboy who discover a murdered bigwig in his room—and Lou’s the main suspect, despite seven other guests with actual motives! Karloff, who missed out on A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN, plays a swami who tries to hypnotize Lou in one of the film’s most side-splitting scenes. Also on hand are Lenore Aubert, Alan Mowbray, Roland Winters (who was concurrently playing Charlie Chan at Monogram) and Percy Helton.

 

Saturday, January 1 -- 5:00 PM

Double Feature: ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN, 1951, Universal, 82 min. Dir. Charles Lamont. Ring in the New Year with an A&C movie you probably haven’t seen (get it?). They play new graduates from detective school hired by boxer Arthur Franz to prove him innocent of murdering his manager. And yes, there’s an invisibility serum that someone will eventually take! Splendid special effects and a terrific boxing match (Lou had been a club fighter in his salad days.) spark this clever farce, as do those always marvelous comic tough guys, William Frawley and Sheldon Leonard.

THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT, 1962, Columbia, 90 min. Dir. Edward Bernds. Newly Restored 35mm print! In their final film with long-time collaborator Bernds, the trio rents a room in a castle owned by nutty scientist Emil Sitka, who’s developed a combination helicopter-submarine-tank. Then the Martians show up. Wacky nonsense written by Elwood Ullman, who was likewise with the team from almost the beginning. And see if you can spot the stock footage from Ray Harryhausen’s EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS!

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "The Ghost Talks," 1949, Columbia, 18 min. Dir. Jules White. New 35mm print! While moving furniture out of a creepy old house, Moe, Larry and Shemp encounter a talking suit of armor that claims to be the ghost of Peeping Tom—and he’s waiting to be reunited with the ghost of Lady Godiva! This rare title hasn’t been seen theatrically in decades.

 

Sunday, January 2 – 5:00 PM

Double Feature: ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY, 1955, Universal, 79 min. Dir. Charles Lamont. In their last picture for Universal (and penultimate movie anywhere), Bud and Lou tangle with two bands of cutthroats vying for the remains of "Klaris" and the medallion which functions as a map to The Treasure. (There’s always treasure hidden somewhere in a Mummy movie.) Includes the memorable "The Shovel Is My Pick" routine; this is also the only feature film in which Lou yells his signature, "Hey, Abbo-o-ott!" With ace support from Marie Windsor, Michael Ansara, Dan Seymour, Kurt Katch, Mel Welles and a very young Richard Deacon—and some of the music cues are by an equally young Henry Mancini!

THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES, 1962, Columbia, 89 min. Dir. Edward Bernds. Newly Restored 35mm print! The boys are druggists in Ithaca (New York), where pal Quinn Redeker has constructed a time machine—which promptly whisks them all back to Ithaca (Greece). From the Ben-Hur take-offs to the two-headed Cyclops to the droll ribbing of sporting events, this is one of their most consistently amusing features (and Larry’s favorite, despite being knocked unconscious during the chariot chase!), with another solid script by Elwood Ullman.

Preceded by the Three Stooges short: "We Want Our Mummy," 1939, Columbia, 18 min. Dir. Del Lord. The Stooges are detectives sent to Egypt to recover the mummy of King Rutentuten and the treasure therein. (There’s always treasure hidden somewhere in a Mummy movie.) With Bud Jamison, James C. Morton, Dick Curtis and Ted Lorch.