‘Matri-Phony’ (1942) is the 63rd short comedy made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed over a period of three weeks, beginning on Thursday, March 5th and ending on Wednesday, March 25th, 1942, and was released on Thursday, July 2nd of that year (the 183rd day on the Gregorian calendar).

The three-week shooting schedule was unusual for a Columbia short film, as most were completed over four consecutive days. It is not known how many days it took to film, with six being an estimate. There were material script changes, reshoots and deleted footage, with most of the blame aimed at director Harry Edwards, who had developed a reputation at Columbia Pictures as the studio’s worst director. His poor directing skills are apparent throughout, with bad staging, awkward jump cuts and out of focus shots. In the closing scene when the Stooges are hanging upside down from the guards’ spears, Edwards inexplicably directed the guards to walk straight into a wall. His voice can also be heard loudly directing “Larry, grab the…..” (this happens at 16:50). Larry was the only one who was not holding onto his guard’s trousers: after receiving his direction, Larry quickly grabbed the pants. This type of exchange would normally be muted during post-production but perhaps by then every was sick of ‘Matri-Phony’ and it’s problems. After his next directoral effort with the Stooges (‘Three Little Twerps’), the trio requested to never work with him again. The Stooge short I posted last week, ‘Some More Of Samoa’, was co-written by Edwards. If you’d like to hear how the poor bastard met his maker simply click here. It’s tempting to blame a bad shoot for the poor result of a movie but honestly the material here would have defeated the slickest of comedy directors. I’ll give Edwards credit though; getting fired by The Three Stooges is no small accomplishment. Congrats, Harry.


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