‘Half Shot Shooters’ (1936) is the 14th short subject made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Wednesday, March 18, through Saturday, March 21 1936 and released a scant five weeks later on Thursday, April 30th 1936 (the 121st day of the year on the Gregorian calendar). The film features the debut appearance of longtime Stooge regular Vernon Dent and is one of only three Stooge films in which they die at the end. It contains one of my favorite Moe lines–when Curly says he was thinking, Moe slaps him and says: ‘Every time you think you weaken the nation.’ (I feel like this joke was repeated in a few other Stooges shorts of the period but it will take a geekier geek than I to say which ones). The World War One intro and the ensuing ‘brother can you spare a dime’ time lapse are very much of the films period and I find Moe’s timing to be very sharp and assured here, more so than in earlier shorts. All in all a very good early outing and one that clearly points the way pacing-wise for the approaching middle-phase of Curly shorts (1937-42), which are arguably the best set of films the team made in their 25 years at Columbia.


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