‘Ants In The Pantry’ (1936) is the 12th short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Wednesday, December 11 through Saturday, December 14 1935 and was released on Thursday, February 6 1936. In my opinion, this is the film in which the pacing that becomes the norm for the 1930s Stooge comedies finally finds its groove, with dialogue, jokes and physical humor connecting without the strange, often deadly pauses that one finds in the earlier 1934-35 efforts. The plot has the Stooges–as exterminators–intentionally infesting a house with all kinds of vermin and then arriving propitiously to clean them out while a house party is going on. The entire idea is revolting–mice, rats, bugs, ants etc. being intentionally placed in clothes, on food, in pianos is squirm inducing to me as an adult, though it was non-stop hilarious to me as a child. In addition to acts of animal cruelty (those cats jumping out of the top of the piano couldn’t have had a good time of it) the film also traffics in some workplace sexual harassment as Moe puts the moves on the French maid AKA ‘Toots’. Just when you think the movie’s coming to an end the whole thing starts over with a bizarre Foxhunting (more animal cruelty) scene…which climaxes with a horse collapsing dead next to Curly. Jesus!


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