Production Information
Title: Husbands BewareStudio: ColumbiaShort Number: 167
Release Date: January 5, 1956
Running Time: 16:00

Short Take

Moe and Larry marry Shemp’s plump sisters and discover to their horror after the vows that the girls are a couple of battle axes. The new bridegrooms vow revenge on Shemp for introducing them. Shemp is a music teacher who discovers that he has to marry a woman within 7 hours to receive $500,000 from his dead Uncle’s will. After some searching, the Stooges finally find an ugly crone, one of Shemp’s students. Several of Shemp’s old girlfriends, golddiggers all, arrive at the Justice of the Peace’s office, wrecking havoc in an attempt to marry Shemp for his money.

Refurbished Brideless Groom

Husbands Beware is the first release of 1956, the only year in which all the releases were refurbishings. The first four films maintained the usual balance between stock and new material, but after Shemp’s fatal heart attack midway through the production schedule, the remaining four necessarily contained little new footage. Most of the refurbishings were of the 1949 releases since all the 1947-1948 films had already been reworked except Mummy’s Dummies and Brideless Groom. Mummy’s Dummies, with its exotic sets, was never refurbished.

Husbands Beware refurbishes Brideless Groom, the delightful 1947 film in which Shemp has to get married to inherit $500,000. Jules White now turns it into a slightly different but equally dynamic tale of three romantically (and gustatorially) disastrous marriages and supreme revenge. The mayhem of the original, highlighted first in the mid-stream beating Shemp takes from Christine McIntyre and then in the final Bassarid riot, is maintained intact, but to it is added a complementary battle between two absolutely titanic wives and their defenseless Stooge husbands.

The Nuptial Kiss

The film opens with Moe and Larry marrying Shemp’s “lovely sisters,” a new addition to the uncles and cousins of Shemp’s extended family. These brides are nearly twice the size of Moe and Larry, and no sooner do the grooms say “I do” and prepare for their nuptial kisses than the wives deck them with right crosses shouting. “That’s just to show you who’s gonna be boss around here!” Belly bumping and kicking them into the kitchen, they reverse gender roles completely by putting the men into the kitchen to cook for them, a comic cultural paradox in the 1950s. Little do the wives know what kind of cooks The Stooges are, though. Earnest as ever, the trio does genuinely try to produce a fine turkey dinner, but of all the Stooge-prepared meals this one turns out the most undelicious with more than a hint of such flavorings as soap, aftershave. powder, turpentine, and fire extinguisher. The Stooges have served many bad meals to many people, but usually, their victims cough feathers, smile politely or pucker their lips. This time is different: the wives throw all three of them out of the house.

New Footage

The addition of the two bossy, physically dominant wives was a stroke of genius. To make room for the new footage White dropped the dressing scene and the Shemp-in-the-piano sequence; the latter was recently reprised in Gypped in the Penthouse, and both would have interfered with the woman-beats. Stooge theme of the new version. Now the film begins, continues. and ends with women that beat the Stooges. The Stooges who regularly hammer each other, gangsters, and beast-men now find themselves socked, manhandled, thrown, belly bumped, and kicked by their wives, shoved, slapped, and shaken by the woman across the hall, and beaten, rifle-butted, and bear trapped by the gold diggers in the finale.

Reversal of Physical Humor

What this film demonstrates is how Stooge physical humor can depend not only on the Stooges hitting each other but on their being hit by other people, especially ‘poor, weak, helpless’ women and “lovely” new brides. If there was ever a time for the Stooges to join the Woman Haters Club, this was it.

Cast & Crew

Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written byFelix Adler
Clyde Bruckman
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Shemp Howard
Lou Leonard
Maxine Gates
Christine McIntyre
Dee Green
Emil Sitka
Doris Houck
Nancy Saunders
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byAnthony DiMarco

Husbands Beware Trivia

  • 1956 was the only year where all Three Stooges releases were refurbishings.
  • The second half of Husbands Beware is stock footage from 1947’s Brideless Groom.
  • A standout scene added is a battle between two absolutely titanic wives and their defenseless Stooge husbands.
  • In the new footage of the wedding sequence, a double stands in for Dee Green (Fanny Dinkelmeyer).

Production Notes

  • The new scenes were filmed on May 17, 1955.