Spook Louder (1943)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Jules White, the head of the short subjects department at Columbia, steered quite a few Three Stooges comedies into propaganda territory during World War II. While not as forcefully patriotic as some of the others, this quirky short (directed by Del Lord) takes a few potshots at the Japanese. It opens in the offices of special investigator J.O. Dunkfeather, who is being interviewed by a high-strung young reporter. Dunkfeather proceeds to tell him the story of three traveling salesmen -- Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard, of course -- who wind up working as caretakers for Graves, an inventor, after they have no luck peddling their "Miracle Reducing Machine." Graves has to go to Washington with his Death Ray, and he leaves his spooky mansion in the hands of the salesmen. He warns them to be on the lookout for "Jap" spies, who show up as soon as he leaves. As disguises, the spies (who, incidentally, don't look at all Japanese) are wearing Halloween costumes and this is enough to terrorize the Stooges for the rest of the film. There's also another baffling dilemma -- pies come seemingly out of nowhere and hit various people in the face. The reporter anxiously demands to know who was throwing the pies -- he seems to care more about this than the fact that the Stooges manage to stop the spies (which is pretty miraculous, considering the boys' perennial ineptitude). Finally Dunkfeather admits he was the culprit... and promptly is slammed in the face with a pie.

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Keywords

caretaker [custodian], haunted-house, hypnosis, inventor, investigator, journalism, slapstick, spy