Disorder in the Court

Disorder in the Court
Disorder in the Court
Directed by Preston Black
Produced by Jules White
Written by Felix Adler
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Bud Jamison
Harry Semels
Suzanne Kaaren
James C. Morton
Edward LeSaint
Al Thompson
Cinematography Benjamin H. Kline
Editing by William A. Lyon
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) May 30, 1936 (U.S.)
Running time 18' 01"
Country United States
Language English

Disorder in the Court is the 15th short subject starring American slapstick comedy team the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.



The Stooges are key witnesses at a murder trial. Their friend and colleague, Gail Tempest (Suzanne Kaaren), is a dancer at the Black Bottom cafe where the Stooges are musicians. She is accused of killing Kirk Robin (a play on "Who Killed Cock Robin?").

When Curly (Curly Howard) is called to the witness stand, he is nowhere to be found. The defense attorney (Bud Jamison) goes out into the hall and finds the Stooges playing jacks AND tic-tac-toe on the floor. After considerable mutual frustration, the court finally swears in Curly, who begins to describe the events that took place on the night of the murder. He offers to show the court exactly what happened, and the Stooges break into their musical routine, with Larry (Larry Fine) playing the violin, Moe (Moe Howard) playing the harmonica, and Curly playing the spoons. Gail Tempest shrugs off her coat and reveals her dancer costume, to the great surprise of the jury.

The act ends when Larry mistakes a toupée for a tarantula; Moe subsequently takes the guard's gun and starts shooting the toupée, causing pandemonium in the court. After everything is brought under control, Moe and Curly re-enact the actual murder (with Curly on the receiving end). Moe then looks at the parrot, who was at the murder scene, and sees a note tied to the parrot's foot. He opens the parrot cage, and the parrot flies out. The Stooges eventually capture the bird by shooting water at it through a fire hose. Moe then reads the letter out loud and reveals that it is a confession from the real murderer, Buck Wing, which proves Gail's innocence.


From left to right: Larry, Moe, Curly, Gail, and the defense attorney.
  • The title Disorder in the Court is a play on the stereotypical judge's cry, "Order in the court!"[1]
  • A colorized version of this film was released in 2006; it was part of the DVD collection entitled "Stooges on the Run."
  • Sol and Jenny Horwitz, the parents of Moe, Curly, and Shemp Howard, make uncredited appearances as members of the public audience.[1]
  • This is the first Stooge short in which Curly is spelled "C-U-R-L-Y" in the opening titles as opposed to "C-U-R-L-E-Y," as it was in previous shorts. The title card also has the Stooges inverted, reading from left to right, Curly-Larry-Moe, as opposed to Moe-Larry-Curly in previous shorts, effectively giving Curly "top billing." This change in the title card coincides with the refined and more familiar Columbia Pictures "torch lady" image, with a shimmering light instead of the primitive animation of light rays in the previous version. In addition, the "Columbia" theme now uses a more upbeat theme, featuring a brass introduction.[1]
  • Disorder in the Court is one of five Stooge shorts that fell into the public domain after the copyright lapsed in the 1960s (the other four shorts being "In the Sweet Pie and Pie", Malice in the Palace, Brideless Groom, and Sing a Song of Six Pants). As such, these five shorts frequently appear on cheaply produced DVD or video compilations. (It is the only Stooge short in addition to "In the Sweet Pie and Pie" to feature Curly; the other three feature Shemp instead.)[1]
  • Footage from this episode was seen in a Really Wild Animals episode, "Dinos and other Creature Features".

References to popular culture

Gail Tempest dancing in the court.
  • The perp is a dancer named Buck Wing, a reference to the buck-and-wing dance common in vaudeville and minstrel shows.[1]
  • The classic 'swearing in' ('take off your hat!,' 'raise your right hand,' 'judgy wudgy') routine was borrowed nearly verbatim from Buster Keaton's Sidewalks of New York, which was directed by Stooge veteran and producer Jules White.[1]


External links

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