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Three Stooges: Soup to Nuts (1930)

Cast: Ted Healy, Ted Healy, Stanley Smith, more...
Director: Benjamin Stoloff, Benjamin Stoloff
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Comedies, Pre-Code, Precode
Running Time: 71 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Popular Broadway comedian Ted Healy (sort of a Milton Berle without the charm) was tapped for potential movie stardom by Fox Studios, who cast Healy in the wacky semi-musical comedy Soup to Nuts. The film was written by comic-strip artist Rube Goldberg (who also appears in the film), utilizing several of Goldberg's zanier comedy notions, including his incredibly complex "inventions." Healy plays a fireman who comes to the rescue of Mr. Schmidt (Charles Winninger) when the latter's costume shop faces foreclosure. Our hero's get-rich-quick schemes generally come acropper, but all is resolved in the climactic scene wherein Healy and his fellow smoke-eaters rescue Schmidt's daughter Louise (Lucille Browne) and her millionaire sweetheart (Stanley Smith) from a roaring blaze. Only recently made available for reappraisal, Soup to Nuts is of inestimable historical value as the movie debut of Ted Healy's Three "Stooges" Moe Howard (billed as Harry Howard), Shemp Howard, and Larry Fine, here joined for the first and last time by a fourth stooge, the relentlessly unfunny Fred Sanborn. Though somewhat restrained throughout the film, the Stooges enliven several otherwise plodding scenes with their tried-and-true material. The best bits included the gruesome threesome's opening song ("You'll Never Know Just What Tears Are") -- in which they stand stock still and flinch not an inch as Sanborn drops heavy sandbags in their vicinity -- and a hilarious extended routine at a costume party, culminating with Larry's deadpan "elevator dance" ("No steps!"). ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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