Hokus Pokus (1949) Poster

(1949)

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"You are now in Sing Sing!"
angus_dei30 April 2007
Classic. Our opening shot of the Stooges has them snoring in harmony. Soon, Moe attempts Morse Code on Shemp's head, which differs from a steam pipe only in that a steam pipe hasn't got ears! Shemp, performing the Australian crawl on the living room floor, gets grappled by fisherman Moe. All this, and the Stooges haven't even gotten warmed up yet. Things really get going when they start shaving each other. Moe shouts football signals and they execute some tricky plays here (Shemp: "Your face is too sharp!"). Larry takes the opportunity to disengage himself from a huge tuft of chest hair while we learn that Shemp's tongue makes a natural razor strop. The refrigerator keeps the hot towels piping hot while Moe sneezes Schlemiel #8 talcum powder all over the place (and we know where Woody Allen in "Annie Hall" got that bit from, don't we?). We see Moe apply his sixteen-parts-lard-to-one-part-egg formula for cooking breakfast while Shemp loses a battle with a folding table, thus keeping Mary (the "hopeless cripple") waiting for her nice cold pancakes smothered in vinegar. Yes, so far so good, but then . . . enter Vernon Dent! Here, Shemp "gets tough" with Vernon, and this bit is the highlight of the film. The scene then shifts to the Great Svengarlic, who stealthily observes Shemp hypnotize Moe into thinking he is in New York, Los Angeles, and then Sing Sing (whereupon Moe grabs the rungs of a chair back, thus simulating jail cell bars). Another great highlight of the film ensues after Larry observes that Shemp's attempts to extricate Moe from Sing Sing have been met with utter futility. The film's climax is breathtaking. I wonder how Svengarlic's agent was able to get a permit to allow three guys to dance on a flagpole several stories above a city sidewalk, and so quickly, too? Of course, such trivial details matter for naught in a Stooges short. We see that justice prevails in the end, but the scheming Mary, although defeated, has the last say, namely, the famous three-tone NBC gong as played out on the Stooges' heads, courtesy of the large ball that was attached to the end of the flagpole. All in all, a must-see for all you saps!
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4/10
Like "Svengarlic," This Has A Bad Odor To It
ccthemovieman-123 February 2007
This couple is pulling off an insurance scam where the woman ("Mary") is faking being a wheelchair-bound victim. Today is the day the crooks get interviewed and then, hopefully, their money: $25,000, which was a lot of loot back then. The lady says she has "three saps who will testify what a hopeless cripple I am." Guess what "saps" she means?

The first seven minutes of the "movie" are the boys - Moe, Larry and Shemp - getting up in the morning, shaving each other and cooking Mary's breakfast. Nothing that funny in all that, maybe because most of the gags are re-hashed material from the "Curly" days.

Finally, the claims adjuster from the "Calamity Insurance Company" (series regular Vernon Dent) comes to Mary's apartment. The boys give him a piece of their mind, the only funny thing being Shemp's amazing footwork, and then leave to do their shop - putting up posters.

The poster they are plastering on the wall reads, "Here This Week - The Great Hypnotist SVENGARLIC! He'll Steal Your Breath Away" The hypnotist, looking for publicity to help his show, spots the Stooges and hypnotizes them. That leads to justice prevailing in the insurance scam. Overall: weak.
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9/10
Underrated stooge comedy....
simeon_flake30 August 2015
I've always thought of this one as perhaps one of the more underrated or perhaps I should say "overlooked" stooge shorts-- especially considering the great short that preceded it (the all time great Who Done it?).

But, this is a great short in its own right--a great mix of big belly laughs and little small moments that add up to 16 minutes of pure fun. And when I think of the "big laughs," my mind goes immediately to Shemp's smackdown with Vernon Dent (shoot one that way, shoot one this way, whoa).

I also enjoyed Larry's moment with the mixing bowls. Overall--if you're a Shemp fan--or just a stooge fan in general, then give this one a few looks.

9 stars
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10/10
Good Three Stooges short!
Movie Nuttball7 August 2004
The Three Stooges has always been some of the many actors that I have loved. I love just about every one of the shorts that they have made. I love all six of the Stooges (Curly, Shemp, Moe, Larry, Joe, and Curly Joe)! All of the shorts are hilarious and also star many other great actors and actresses which a lot of them was in many of the shorts! In My opinion The Three Stooges is some of the greatest actors ever and is the all time funniest comedy team!

This is a fair Three Stooges short with Shemp. The beautiful Mary Ainslee, David Bond, Vernon Dent, Jimmie Lloyd, and Ned Glass are in it. The scenes when the Stooges are getting out of bed and ready is funny. Bond is good as the hypnotist, The Great Svengarlic. There is another Three Stooges short similar like this one called Flagpole Jitters and its just as good as this one. Three Stooges fans, check this one out!
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6/10
Eye Witnesses
bkoganbing31 March 2019
In this short subject the Three Stooges have a sweet little racket going. Mary Ainslee has taken them in because they are three dumb clucks who will go into court and swear she's a cripple due to an automobile accident. They believe it and of course they're too stupid to lie.

Naturally for their room and board they have to help around the house. Seeing them cook and do the household chores has a bunch of laughs for the audience.

But come the big day they get hypnotized by mesmerist Svengarlic and they do a bit of Harold Lloyd type high wire act on a flagpole.

Very good stuff. One of the best Shemp features for the team.

As for Ainslee, she should have hired Whiplash Willie Gingrich.
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4/10
No movie magic really in this one
Horst_In_Translation13 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Hokus Pokus" is an 16-minute comedy short from 1949, so this one will have its 70th anniversary next year. White and Adler like so many other times worked with the Three Stooges here shortly after Shemp took over from Curly and the title is not really typical for a Stooges work because the "Three" is missing and there also is no play on words included in here. The most interesting component is maybe the approach to justice as we see that good always prevails when the woman is demasked as healthy at the very end, even if she is a friend of the Stooges. Well, in fact, she really isn't and the Stooges may be clumsy fools, but they are still the good guys. Comedy-wise, it is the typical physical slapstick approach the gang always offered and they were trying to get Shemp to the center of it all like Curly was. But Larry has more material than usual too, even if sadly it's quantity for him and not quality. All in all, not one of the best or worst Three Stooges shorts, not among their most or least known. It probably isn't good enough to justify this being remade in the 50s, but hey at least it made it into Breaking Bad. I give it a thumbs-down though. Not recommended.
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I thought it was spelled "Hocus Pocus".
slymusic4 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by Jules White, "Hokus Pokus" is a good Three Stooges short featuring Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Shemp Howard. The Stooges' neighbor Mary (Mary Ainslee) pulls a scam on the Calamity Insurance Company by pretending to be crippled, and she has the unsuspecting Stooges as witnesses taking care of her. The major criticism of this film is the excessive slapstick. (Don't read any further if you have not yet seen this short.)

My favorite sequences from "Hokus Pokus": As the Stooges grab onto the flagpole for their lives, it snaps and tumbles into a lower floor; the accident causes Mary to jump out of her wheelchair just as her insurance adjuster (Vernon Dent) hands her a whopping $25,000 check. As Svengarlic (David Bond) hypnotizes the Stooges on the flagpole, a bicyclist bumps into the hypnotist and knocks him unconscious. The table with the trick legs gives Shemp a hard time. The boys create some hilarity in merely pasting up a poster. As Shemp does his swimming exercises on the floor, he spits water at Moe and Larry. And I really like Larry's and Shemp's cat and monkey impersonations.

"Hokus Pokus" was remade some years later as "Flagpole Jitters" (1956), with ample stock footage, and I tend to believe that the remake is better than the original, possibly because the gratuitous slapstick has been toned down a bit in the remake. Plus, I find it interesting how the motives of Mary and Svengarlic are exactly the opposite in both films: In "Hokus Pokus", Mary is a crook and Svengarlic is not, and in the remake, the reverse is true.
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