Disorder in the Court

What with the Thanksgiving holiday, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to watch films the past few days, but there’s always time to catch a short film. In the mood for some classic stupidity, I decided to check out Disorder in the Court, starring the Three Stooges — in the classic Moe, Larry, and Curly configuration. Released in 1936, Disorder in the Court is one of the most readily available Stooges shorts, due to a lapse in updating its copyright status putting it into the public domain. The short was directed by Jack White, under the pseudonym Preston Black.

Gail Tempest (Suzanne Karen), a night club dancer, is on trial for the murder of her boyfriend. The defense attorney (Bud Jamison) is certain he can get her acquitted, though, due to the strength of eyewitness testimony from the the night club musicians: the Three Stooges, naturally.

Taking courtroom antics to a whole other level.

The story is quick, simplistic, and to be honest has enough plot holes that it wouldn’t hold up in court. But that’s all right; nobody watches a Three Stooges film for logical plot anyway. We’re here to see Moe, Larry, and Curly provide some laughs, and they do that quite well. Their timing is spot on in this short, with some decent physical gags and some good verbal routines — Curly gets the best of those when trying to follow the instructions of the judge and court clerk (Edward LeSaint and James C. Morton respectively). All three of the Stooges get their moment in the spotlight, however.

The supporting cast, of course, is there primarily to provide the Stooges with somebody to act crazy in front of. The actors playing defense attorney, judge, clerk, and district attorney all do a good job of playing serious roles with varying degrees of stuffiness to be put off by the Stooges’ antics. Suzanne Kaaren, as the defendant, mostly serves to provide a sympathetic supporting character for the Stooges to play hero to, and to show off her legs in an impromptu dancing session (in a recreation of the events of the night in question.) The Stooges are the undisputed stars of the short, and the rest of the actors do what they need to get them started and get out of the way when they aren’t needed.

It’s a fun little film, and has some good laughs. It may not be particularly memorable, especially among the sea of quality Three Stooges films, but it’s still a pretty good one on its own.

Rating: 4 Stars

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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4 Responses to Disorder in the Court

  1. ruth says:

    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, Morgan. I actually had a lot of time to watch movies and TV shows, but hey shorts are fun too. I’m not a huge fan of the Three Stooges for some reason though, not sure why.

    • I did, thank you, Ruth. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving as well. Mine actually stretched over most of the weekend… went to my Aunt’s for Thanksgiving itself, and had my siblings over on Saturday. Hence the lack of time.

      It’s OK if you don’t like the Stooges; they’re not for everyone. I’ve heard it said that it’s definitely a guy thing… that sounds terribly sexist, yet with the exception of my sister, it does seem to hold true in my personal experience.

      • ruth says:

        I had a mellow Thanksgiving. I’m not from the US so I don’t exactly celebrate this, so we just went to a Thanksgiving buffet with some friends and watched a lot of movies at home.

        I just never watched the Stooges growing up, more Laurel & Hardy, so I never really get the appeal.

        • You have to be a fan of slapstick to really enjoy them, as the bulk of the appeal is that these guys were masters of comic timing. But it also has to be the right Three Stooges. Moe Larry & Curly are the classics, Moe Larry & Shemp are also very good. But when they replaced the third Stooge with Curly Joe DeRita, or Little Joe Besser, it just didn’t work as well.

          Laurel & Hardy are great as well, of course. Great dynamic between those two. It makes me wonder why we don’t really see great comic groupings like those anymore when those used to be the mainstay of comedies.

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