Commotion on the Ocean

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Commotion on the Ocean
Commotionoceanonesheet.jpg
Directed by Jules White
Produced byJules White
Written by Felix Adler
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Gene Roth
Harriette Tarler
Joe Palma
Emil Sitka
Charles C. Wilson
Cinematography Ray Cory
Henry Freulich (stock footage)
Edited by Harold White
Henry DeMond (stock footage)
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 8, 1956 (1956-11-08)(U.S.)
Running time
16:34
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Commotion on the Ocean is a 1956 short subject directed by Jules White starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard in his final starring role). It is the 174th entry in the series released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 shorts for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

Contents

Plot

The Stooges play janitors who work at a newspaper office, begging to be given a chance to become reporters. The managing editor (Charles C. Wilson) promises to think about it over dinner. The phone rings while he is out and Moe answers. The person on the other end is one of the boss's reporters, Smitty (Emil Sitka), who relays a scoop to Moe that some important documents have been stolen by foreign spies. Coincidentally, the spy with the microfilmed documents, Mr. Borscht (Gene Roth) lives next door to the Stooges. He and the boys wind up as stowaways on an ocean liner. Stranded on a freighter on the high seas, and sustained by eating salami, the boys eventually overtake Borscht, recover the microfilm, and are thrilled with their newspaper scoop.

Production notes

Commotion on the Ocean is a remake of 1949's Dunked in the Deep , using ample stock footage. In addition, the newspaper room scenes were borrowed from 1948's Crime on Their Hands . [1] Commotion on the Ocean was the last of four shorts filmed in the wake of Shemp Howard's death using earlier footage and a stand-in. It marked the final film to feature Shemp as a stooge. He would be replaced by Joe Besser.

The film's plot device of hiding microfilm in watermelons is an allusion to an actual event that occurred in 1948. Time Magazine's managing editor Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist spy-turned government informer, accused Alger Hiss of being a member of the Communist Party and a spy for the Soviet Union. In presenting evidence against Hiss, Chambers produced the Pumpkin Papers: four rolls of microfilm of State Department documents, which Chambers had concealed in a hollowed-out pumpkin on his Maryland farm. [1] [2]

"Fake Shemp"

Fake Shemp comic.jpg

As Shemp Howard had already died, for his last four films ( Rumpus in the Harem , Hot Stuff , Scheming Schemers and Commotion on the Ocean), Columbia utilized supporting actor Joe Palma to be Shemp's double. Even though the last four shorts were remakes of earlier Shemp efforts, Palma's services were needed to link what few new scenes were filmed to the older stock footage. [1]

For Commotion on the Ocean, Palma appears in one new shot during the newspaper office scene. After Larry says, "Oh, I know Smitty: 'Under the spreading chestnut tree, the village smitty stands'," Moe slaps him. Palma gets involved in the slapstick exchange and shields himself in defense, obstructing his face. [1]

All other new footage consists of Moe and Larry working as a duo, often discussing Shemp's absence aloud:

This new footage was shot on January 17, 1956, six weeks after Shemp's death and one day after the previous film, Scheming Schemers . [1]

Quotes

See also

Related Research Articles

The Three Stooges American comedy team

The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best known for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures that have been regularly airing on television since 1958. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick. Six Stooges appeared over the act's run : Moe Howard and Larry Fine were mainstays throughout the ensemble's nearly fifty-year run and the pivotal "third stooge" was played by Shemp Howard, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard again, Joe Besser and "Curly" Joe DeRita.

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Moses Harry Horwitz, known professionally as Moe Howard, was an American actor and comedian, best known as the leader of the Three Stooges, the farce comedy team who starred in motion pictures and television for four decades. That group originally started out as Ted Healy and His Stooges, an act that toured the vaudeville circuit. Moe's distinctive hairstyle came about when he was a boy and cut off his curls with a pair of scissors, producing a ragged shape approximating a bowl cut.

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Samuel Horwitz, known professionally as Shemp Howard, was an American actor and comedian. He was called "Shemp" because "Sam" came out that way in his mother's thick Litvak accent. He is best known as the third stooge in the Three Stooges, a role he played when the act began in the early 1920s (1923–1932), while it was still associated with Ted Healy and known as "Ted Healy and his Stooges"; and again from 1946 until his death in 1955. Between his times with the Stooges, he had a successful solo career as a film comedian.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Solomon, Jon. (2002) The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion, p. 481; Comedy III Productions, Inc., ISBN   0-9711868-0-4
  2. Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness . Random House. pp.  751–755. ISBN   0-89526-571-0.
  3. Lenburg, Jeff; Howard Maurer, Joan; Lenburg, Greg; (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook, p. 263, Citadel Press. ISBN   0-8065-0946-5