Who Done It? (1949 film)

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Who Done It?
384 whodoneit lobbycard.jpg
Directed by Edward Bernds
Produced by Hugh McCollum
Written by Edward Bernds
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Emil Sitka
Christine McIntyre
Ralph Dunn
Duke York
Charles Knight
Dudley Dickerson
Cinematography Ira H. Morgan
Edited by Henry DeMond
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 3, 1949 (1949-03-03) (U.S.)
Running time
16:33
Country United States
Language English

Who Done It? is the 114th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1949 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.

Plot[edit]

The Stooges are private eyes at the Alert Detective Agency who are called upon by the wealthy Mr. Goodrich (Emil Sitka). Goodrich reports that the Phantom Gang, of which his own niece (Christine McIntyre) is a member, has been murdering socialites, with Goodrich as their next target. By the time the Stooges arrive, Goodrich is out cold and locked away, with the butler (Charles Knight) (also a member of the Phantom Gang) greeting the trio. Goodrich's niece flirts with Shemp, ultimately trying to poison him. Finally, a towering goon named Nikko (Duke York) chases the Stooges from room to room. After Shemp knocks Nikko cold, he literally bumps into an unconscious Goodrich, who spills the Phantom Gang's plot. A fight then ensues with the lights out, and the Stooges ultimately get the baddies.

Production notes[edit]

Director Edward Bernds had completed the script for Who Done It? in 1946 and was ready to shoot the film after Half-Wits Holiday, Curly Howard's last starring film with the Stooges. Howard's untimely stroke rendered him unable to continue with the act, so Bernds jettisoned his original script and hastily rewrote it for Columbia Pictures comics Gus Schilling and Richard Lane. Schilling's part was written as a combined Curly/Larry role, while Lane's was as Moe. Schilling & Lane's version of Who Done It? was called Pardon My Terror, which also included Emil Sitka, Dudley Dickerson and Christine McIntyre in its cast.[1]

Bernds later admitted that the rewritten script was not a good fit for Schilling & Lane and was determined to have the Stooges film Who Done It?. He took his original script, substituted several lines meant for Curly with lines fitted for Shemp's brand of comedy. Stooge expert Jon Solomon, author of The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion commented that "this well-balanced mixture of physical abuse, verbal banter, and emotional surprise is particularly vibrant even for a Stooge film." He added that "the scene in which...Christine McIntyre and Shemp point out their favorite painting while switching the drugged drink elegantly builds to a climax unparalleled in all of Stoogedom with forty seconds of Shemp wheezing, 't-k'ing, meeping, shuttering, flipping, flopping, chicken-with-its-head-cut-off-ing, and then slamming his legs on the ground in near rigor mortis."[1]

On the last day of production, while shooting the scene in which the Stooges crash through a door, Moe sprained his ankle. Since production could not be delayed, he taped it up and kept going. During the scenes filmed in the hallway, he is noticeably limping.

Who Done It? was remade in 1956 as For Crimin' Out Loud, the last film Shemp made before his death in November 1955.[1]

References[edit]

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