Punch Drunks

Infobox Film
name = Punch Drunks



caption = "Punch Drunks" title card
director = Lou Breslow
writer = Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Jerry Howard (story)
Jack Cluett (screen play)
starring = Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Chuck Callahan
William Irving
Jack "Tiny" Lipson
Dorothy Granger
Al Hill
Billy Bletcher
Arthur Houseman
Larry McCrath
George Gray
A.R. Heysel
Dorothy Vernon
cinematography = Henry Freulich
editing = Robert Carlisle
producer = Jules White
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = flagicon|US July 13, 1934
runtime = 17' 29"
country = USA
language = English
imdb_id = 0025688
amg_id = 1:228943
preceded_by = "Woman Haters"
followed_by = "Men in Black"

"Punch Drunks" is the second short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.

Plot

Moe finds that Curly Howard can be a boxing star when Larry plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" on the violin. When he hears the tune, Curly blacks out and goes crazy, uttering his classic "Woo-woo-woo-woo!" cry (already firmly established by the time this film was made) and knocking out a group of people. Instantly Moe knows that Curly would be a good fighter. So the three join together and create a team. Curly succeeds as a fighter with several knockouts, leading to the world championship fight. But things go awry when, at the first round of the fight, the champion boxer hits Curly and falls out of the ring onto Larry, breaking the violin in the process. Larry leaves the fight-venue and searches outside for anything playing "Pop Goes the Weasel," while Curly is being battered by the boxer.

Larry encounters a "cathedral" style radio playing the tune, brings it to the stadium and positions it at the ring, agitating Curly in the process. But then, the tune ends and the radio host begins chatting up a story. In frustration, Moe smashes the radio over Larry's head, and Larry is forced to go out again to find another source, with Curly being battered again. Larry finally finds one, an advertising sound truck. He drives the truck fast until he smashes the entrance of the stadium. The tune agitates Curly who knocks out the champion boxer. At the end, everyone congratulates Curly for the deed, but as the truck begins to play "that 'Weasel' tune again" (as Moe refers to it), Curly goes into his agitated "Woo-woo-woo-woo!" act again, knocks out Larry and Moe and advances comically menacingly toward the camera as the film irises out.

Production and significance

The script for "Punch Drunks" was written by the Stooges themselves, their only on-screen writing credit for the Columbia shorts—as Jerry Howard, Larry Fine, and Moe Howard. According to Moe, the initial treatment of the script was originated by Moe; on its strength, the studio decided to produce the Stooges' next film sooner than scheduled.cite book
last = Howard
first = Moe
authorlink = Moe Howard
coauthors =
title = "Moe Howard and the Three Stooges"
publisher = Citadel Press
date = 1977, rev. 1979
location =
pages = 73
url = http://www.amazon.com/Moe-Howard-Stooges-Pictorial-Entertainment/dp/0806507233/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206817654&sr=1-2
doi =
id =
isbn = 0806507233
]

In 2002, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Notes

*This film was originally called "A Symphony of Punches" but was changed before its release. The title "Punch Drunks" comes from the expression "punch drunk," referring to any fighter who has been hit so many times he is unsteady on his feet.cite book
last = Solomon
first = Jon
authorlink = Jon Solomon
coauthors =
title = "The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion"
publisher = Comedy III Productions, Inc
date = 2002
location =
pages = 45
url = http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Three-Stooges-Filmography-Companion/dp/0971186804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201570359&sr=1-1
doi =
id =
isbn = 0971186804
]
*A colorized version of this film was released in 2004. It was part of the DVD collection entitled " [http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002A2WFY Goofs on the Loose.] "
*The short is notable as being one of the very few in which the Stooges are not an established trio at the beginning of the film, but rather meet up through happenstance.
*Jerry Howard's natural voice was rather lower than the high-pitched voice he effected for his "Curly" character. Early in this film, his voice is not so high-pitched as in later films.
*Early in this, the Stooges' second film, Curly also utters his eventually oft-used comment, "I'm a victim of soycumstance!" (circumstance).
*The "Pop Goes the Weasel" gag was later reused by the Stooges (with Curly-Joe DeRita) in their 1963 feature film "The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze".
*The short ends with the playing of the song "Pop Goes The Weasel", which would become the opening theme for the short "Pop Goes the Easel", as well as its closing, and sounding like the same recording used in this film.
*The world championship is between Killer Kilduff and K.O. Stradivarius. The fight lasts four rounds. There is a running gag with a kid throwing pieces of hard candy at the timekeeper's bell to make it ring; the timekeeper gets suspicious and even sticks his tongue out a time or two at the kid.
*This is the first of several Stooge shorts in which a normally passive Curly sees, hears, or smells something that triggers a violent reaction in him.
*The "Boxing" option in the Three Stooges video game was based on this short.
*This was also the first of nine shorts that featured Larry Fine playing his violin.
*In the stock crowd footage used for the boxing scenes, two men in the audience can be seen "flipping the bird" by holding up their middle fingers. This happens relatively early on in the match.
*During the fight, when Larry is seen running down the street, Moe's voice can be heard in the distance saying, "Run! All the way!" This happens twice in the film.
*Larry's running down the street is sped up for comic effect, with post-production sounds of rapid footsteps added. His frantic driving of the van, with its speakers booming out "Pop Goes the Weasel" (the same recording as on the radio earlier), is also sped up.
* The title music uses a unique jazzy 'big band' 30's melody. The first part was also used as part of the score from their musical short " Woman Haters ". The second part was later used in the succeeding "Men In Black" short.

References

Further reading

*"The Three Stooges Scrapbook"; by Jeff Lenburg, Joan Howard Maurer, Greg Lenburg [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0806509465] (Citadel Press, 1994).
*"The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History, From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons"; by Michael Fleming [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0767905563] (Broadway Publishing, 2002).
*"One Fine Stooge: A Frizzy Life in Pictures"; by Steve Cox and Jim Terry [http://www.amazon.com/dp/1581823630] , (Cumberland House Publishing, 2006).


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