‘Back From The Front’ (1943) is the 70th short film made by The Three Stooges for Columbia Pictures. It was photographed from Friday, July 24th through Tuesday, July 28th 1942 and was released on Friday, May 28, 1943. It’s a World War 2 entry complete with dumbkoff Nazi’s (actually quite unusual to be depicted at the time in a comedy) and an inside Hitler joke–they only use the name ‘Shickelgruber’ which was Hitler’s fathers real name, and one that was considered absurd even by Germans. Curly is at his fattest here and one worries for his health. Moe is unusually cruel–he dips Larry’s face into boiling water–and there’s an amusing kitchen sequence where Curly ‘cleans’ a large slice of ham. Curly and the kitchen usually make a nice combo–his best kitchen stuff is in ‘An Ache In Every Stake’ where he quite literally shaves some ice. Direction is by Jules White, who seems only moderately interested in the goings-ons, but a couple of nice appearances by Stooge regulars Bud Jamison and Vernon Dent serve to up this one’s rating from a C to B-minus in my Stooge-a-pinion. Perhaps the most notable thing about this short–aside from the fact that the Stooges wear beards–has to do with the sound effects. Wikipedia helpfully informs us that:
It was the first Stooge film to feature an accompanying sound effect for the eye poke gag. A TWANG is heard when Moe pokes Lt. Dugen in the eyes. Different sounds were used with varying rates of success throughout 1943 and 1944 — a nose honk is inappropriately used in ‘Higher Than A Kite’, a xylophone in ‘Crash Goes The Hash’. The sound of a ukulele or violin string being plucked was used regularly after 1945.