The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962)

72% – Critics
72% – Audience

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules Storyline

Three druggists travel with a Milquetoast inventor, Schuyler, and his girlfriend, Diane, to ancient Greece on a newly invented time machine. There, the evil tyrant, Odius, takes a shine to the woman and has the guys enslaved as galley rowers using the excuse of the three druggists helping a rebel leader, Ulysses, escape. The rigors of the rowing pump Schuyler up into a muscleman with strength comparable to Hercules himself, who is in the employ of Odius. The threesome get the idea of raising money by promoting Schuyler as Hercules for a series of physical contests. Using a combination of his great strength and, a judicious use of a large supply of potent tranquilizers Curly-Joe brought with him, Schuyler is a success. However, this leads to trouble when the real McCoy learns about the imposter.—Kenneth Chisholm

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The Three Stooges Meet Hercules Movie Reviews

Send in the clowns!

All the Stooges films set in past historical eras intentionally spoof historical genres with anachronisms (ancient Egyptians comment on baseball, a Civil War general makes a reference to a radio show, Medieval knights worry whether Lady Godiva might offend the censors, etc.). But anachronisms are tossed about so gleefully here, you begin to realize that this is what the film is really all about – how movies set in the past pull the wool over the eyes of their innocently romantic audiences with a few spangles, a bit of flash, the inevitable tear-jerk scene, and a good dose of beefcake/cheesecake. In fact, the recipe for this film could make for pretty heavy satire if the Stooges weren’t so clearly making a light-hearted (and light-headed) romp of it all.

Those who complain that the boys are looking pretty old in the film pretty much miss the point. An aging clown looks bad when he tries to play it young; but by working one’s whiskers into the act, the clown regenerates himself as a new personality. These are not the old Stooges who bounced their way through the madcap shorts of the ’30s; but they are a heck of a lot more fun than the Stooges of the ’50s, trying to pretend that age had never happened. True, in their later features, they were very dependent on their scripts, which frequently let them down. But here the script is really not bad at all, and the Stooges are having a grand time, and we should, too. Just set your critical mind at rest and enjoy the show.

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962) ***

This is one of the best of all the later ’60s feature films to star the enduring comedy trio. It succeeds admirably because Moe, Larry and Curly Joe are kept up front of the proceedings and it doesn’t hurt at all (except perhaps for them when they get smacked around) that the comedy is consistent and faithful to what we expect from seeing all those old Stooge shorts. Despite their advancing ages, the “boys” hit all their marks perfectly and never do we get the impression that we’re dealing with men well into their sixties. The Stooges are pharmacy workers who get a hold of a time traveling device (it doesn’t matter how or why) and find themselves in ancient times where they face a lot more than just Hercules. For such a film, the production looked more expensive than it probably was, and I had to smile at the winks to BEN-HUR. *** out of ****

Truly funny

I came to this film NOT a big fan of the stooges. Having said that I laughed myself silly at it. Unlike a typical Stooges short, it has a plot, actual jokes, and some interesting casting. Though they are long in the tooth in this film, they perform admirably. Keeping their fine physical humor (which doesn’t usually send me, but it is well used here) and adding some fun word play and situational humor.

The supporting cast is quite able and the production qualities are higher than I normally associate with the stooges work.

I ran across this while waiting at my doctor’s office for some paperwork and stayed around to see how it all worked out. I laughed out loud in public several times. I will seek it out, as I own, nor have been interested in owning anything by the Stooges. This may be among their best work. This is one I’ll buy.

Good stuff.