THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT (1962)
Article 2170 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-23-2007
Posting Date: 7-22-2007
Directed by Edward Bernds
Featuring The Three Stooges, Carol Christensen, Edson Stroll
When the Three Stooges are on the verge of having their animated TV show axed, they hook up with a scientist who can save their show with a machine designed to create a new type of animation. In return, they help him to demonstrate his new machine that can run on land, in the sea, in the air or in outer space. They also help him to defeat invading martians.
The Three Stooges honed their talents with shorts; by the time they finally graduated to features, they were past their prime and had lost both Curly and Shemp. Yet, considering these handicaps, there features were pretty decent. They don’t really spend much of the time in orbit, but there are some good gags here; I like the “old dark house” parody of the early scenes in particular. It’s positively surreal at times, especially with some of the bits surrounding the new type of animation, which, for some reason, requires that they dress up like refugees from a rock group from PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE and do the twist (the “new animation process” looks suspiciously like rotoscoping). Still, despite the presence of the Stooges, my favorite work in this movie comes from two other sources. One is Emil Sitka, who is simply delightful as the scientist. The second is Edwin H. Bryant, the editor, who does a bangup job of maintaining comic momentum with the creative use of stock footage; for once, it’s highly amusing to see scenes lifted from other sources (especially from EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS). The martians, with their big square heads, look like bizarre variations of the Universal Frankenstein monster. All in all, this one is fun and actually quite bizarre at times, especially during the sequence in which the head martian is convinced that it would be better to destroy the Earth rather than invade it.