|Directed by||Edward Bernds|
|Produced by||Hugh McCollum|
|Written by||Clyde Bruckman|
|Cinematography||Vincent J. Farrar|
|Edited by||Henry DeMond|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Brideless Groom is the 101st short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1947 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.
Shemp plays a voice instructor and the object of affection to tone-deaf vocal student Miss Dinkelmeyer (Dee Green), with Larry his musical accompanist. After an excruciating session, Moe enters his classroom to tell Shemp that his uncle had died and left him an inheritance of $500,000. However, Shemp cannot collect the money unless he is married (which horrifies Shemp) within 48 hours after the reading of the will, leaving him only a few hours. Shemp uses his filled-up black address book to propose to any and all women he has ever known, with unsuccessful results. With time running out, Moe and Larry lead Shemp through a series of disastrous situations including the destruction of a phone booth and Shemp being beaten silly by a woman named Miss Hopkins (Christine McIntyre), who had just moved into the building and mistook Shemp for her cousin Basil.
Upon recovering from his bruising, Shemp unintentionally proposes to his unattractive and tone-deaf student Miss Dinkelmeyer. She happily accepts and the two of them, with Moe and Larry in tow, head over to the Justice of Peace (Emil Sitka) to get married. Shemp pulls out the wedding ring but accidentally loses it in the piano. Moe forces him to look, and in doing so Shemp wrecks the piano completely. Eventually he finds the ring, and he is hustled to get married right away. However, the Stooges' landlord calls Moe to tell him that news of Shemp's inheritance was printed in the newspaper and all of Shemp's ex-girlfriends that he called and proposed to found out about it and are out looking for him. They all arrive at the Justice of Peace's office looking to marry Shemp to get his money, whereupon chaos ensues. The women start fighting, taking out their aggressions not only on themselves but upon the Stooges as well. Both Moe and Larry are repeatedly kicked in the shins while standing among the crowd of battling women, trying to break them up. In a later scene Moe sets a bear trap in a chair awaiting any of the women who are continually pushing one another into it, but the plan backfires as he tries to antagonize a combatant who grabs him by the hair, spins him around and shoves him backwards into the chair, causing the trap to painfully snap shut on Moe's rear end. Nonetheless, Shemp, in a dazed state, ends up marrying his student, just in time to collect the money. Shemp comes to, is told what happened, and is frightened beyond reproach. The viewer, however, will see that the student has a heart of gold, unlike the superficially attractive, but hard and shallow gold-diggers, and will likely conclude that Shemp is better off with her.
Brideless Groom was filmed from March 12–13, 1947. The plot theme of Brideless Groom is not unique, having been used in (among others) Buster Keaton's 1925 comedy Seven Chances (remade in 1999 as The Bachelor starring Chris O'Donnell). Writer Clyde Bruckman was also partially responsible for Seven Chances.
The film features longtime Stooges supporting player Emil Sitka's best-remembered line "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" (the line is actually engraved on Sitka's headstone). The shot where Sitka has a birdcage smashed on his head was worked into the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction when Eric Stoltz is watching television. Brideless Groom would be recycled in the second half of 1956's Husbands Beware.
Brideless Groom is one of four Stooge shorts that fell into the public domain after the copyright lapsed in the 1960s (the other three being Malice in the Palace, Sing a Song of Six Pants, and Disorder in the Court). As such, these four shorts frequently appear on cheaply produced VHS or DVD compilations. In 2005 Brideless Groom was colorized and included as one of the featured shorts on a Legend Films DVD compilation called The Three Stooges In Color, featuring wraparounds from The Film Crew. Sony/Columbia Pictures also colorized a restored version of this film that was released in 2007 as part of the DVD collection "Hapless Half-Wits."
The version of "Voices of Spring" during Shemp and Miss Dinkelmeyer's singing lesson was sung by frequent Stooge co-star Christine McIntyre, who appears in this short as "Miss Hopkins". This version of "Voices of Spring", along with McIntyre herself, were previously used in the Three Stooges short "Micro-Phonies".
Brideless Groom features a sequence with Christine McIntyre who portrays Miss Hopkins, a woman whom Shemp actively pursues for his wife. Unfortunately, she mistakes him for her cousin Basil. After learning her mistake, she takes it out on poor Shemp by slapping him silly, then finally punching him through her door. During the filming of the scene, when Christine threw her punch, she leaned too far into it, and hit Shemp for real and broke his nose. This mistake was left in the film, and when watched in slow motion, Shemp can be seen falling down and opening his mouth like he was yelling in pain after the punch. Director Edward Bernds remembers getting McIntyre to give Shemp the blows:
|“||In the story, Shemp had a few hours in which to get married if he wanted to inherit his uncle's fortune. He called on Christine McIntyre, who mistook him for her cousin (Basil), took him to her apartment and greeted him with hugs and kisses. Then the real cousin phoned and she accused Shemp of kissing her, as it were, under false pretenses. At this point, she was supposed to slap Shemp around. Lady that she was, McIntyre couldn't do it right; she dabbed at him daintily, afraid of hurting him. After a couple of bad takes Shemp pleaded with her. "Honey," he said, "if you want to do me a favor, cut loose and do it right. A lot of half-hearted slaps hurt more than one good one. Give it to me, Chris, and let's get it over with". She got up her courage and, on the next take, let Shemp have it. It wound up as a whole series of slaps — the timing was beautiful; they rang out like pistol shots. Shemp was knocked into a chair, bounced up, met another ringing slap, fell down again, scrambled up, trying to explain, only to get another stinging slap. Then Chris delivered a haymaker — a right that knocked Shemp through the door. When the take was over, Shemp was groggy, really groggy. Chris put her arms around him and apologized tearfully. "It's alright, honey," Shemp said painfully. "I said you should cut loose and you did. You sure as hell did!"||”|