Hoi Polloi (1935 film)
|Directed by||Del Lord|
|Produced by||Jules White|
|Written by||Felix Adler
James C. Morton
|Edited by||James Sweeney|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Hoi Polloi is the 10th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1935 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.
In an adaptation of Pygmalion, Professor Richmond (Harry Holman), certain that environment and not heredity dictates social behavior, bets one of his peers, Professor Nichols (Robert Graves) $10,000 that he can take a common man and through environment and proper training turn him into a gentleman. Naturally, the Stooges, who are garbage men, are discovered and made the subjects of the wager. After many attempts to teach them proper etiquette (including a dance class punctuated by an errant bee that flies down the back of their female dance instructor), the Stooges will decide the wager by their behavior at a fancy society party.
The party does not go well: Curly pulls Moe's jacket threads until it splits. Moe then hijacks Curly's oversized jacket. Larry and Moe dance with stomped feet and bumps galore. Curly, as usual, gets most of the faux pas: he shaves in front of a guest; he gets stuck on a spittoon; he picks a "maraschino" cherry from a punch bowl; he hides a bottle of champagne, which Moe sees. Frustrated, Moe kicks Curly in the pants, resulting in the champagne popping open and spraying a guest. Also, Curly has stolen the kitchen wares, when Moe hits him, causing the kitchen ware to drop onto the floor.
Eventually, Professor Richmond loses the bet and gives the $10,000 dollars to Professor Nichols. Nichols in turn makes a comment to a lady guest concerning being pestered by a bunch of "rowdies". The remark does not go over well with her, and she slaps him in the face. Professor Richmond laughs, and the unfortunate fellow slaps him in turn. In quick succession, guests laugh at other guests' misfortunes, and slaps and gouges fly until the party becomes a melee of Stooge-born slapstick. The Stooges, disgusted by it all, realize that this is what they get for "associating themselves with the hoi polloi" and decide to leave, but Richmond and Nichols get the last laugh on them via champagne bottles crashed onto their heads.
The idea for Hoi Polloi came from Moe Howard's wife, Helen, who was offered either screen credit or money (she took the latter). Moe later stated that the plot of Hoi Polloi was so good that it bore repeating. The Stooges reworked the film twice more, as Half-Wits Holiday in 1947 (Curly's final starring role) and Pies and Guys in 1958. Filming for Hoi Polloi was completed May 2–6, 1935.
In the first street scene where the Stooges are rubbish sanitation workers, the original "Hollywoodland" sign is visible in the distance. On the street is a marquee advertising the film Mississippi featuring Bing Crosby. Coincidentally, this film also co-stars Fred Kohler who portrayed Double Deal Decker in the short Horses' Collars released the same year.
In the Three Stooges 75th Anniversary Special, hosted by Woody Harrelson, the dancing scene with Geneva Mitchell was voted by the fans as their favorite Stooge moment of all time. The dancing sequence would later be reused in In the Sweet Pie and Pie.
This is the first of three shorts in which Curly gets a sofa spring attached to his back. The spring gag would be used again in Three Little Sew and Sews, An Ache in Every Stake, with Shemp Howard in Hugs and Mugs and Joe DeRita in Have Rocket, Will Travel.
During the dance sequence, Larry loses his shoe. At one point actress Phyllis Crane, dancing with Moe, trips on the shoe and falls down, visibly striking her head on the floor; this was not scripted.
- Lenburg, Jeff; Howard Maurer, Joan; Lenburg, Greg; (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook, Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0946-5
- Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. pp. 135–141. ISBN 9781595800701.
- Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Glendale, California: Comedy III Productions, Inc. pp. 68–70. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.