Back to the Woods is the 23rd 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.

Plot Edit

Set in colonial times, the Stooges are convicted criminals who are banished from England to the American colonies. When they arrive (and after a dancing fling with the governor’s daughters), they find that the colonists are starving because the local Indians will not let them use their hunting grounds without a fee of 5,000 shekels. A down payment was made, but it was not enough. The Stooges decide to go hunting anyway to help out the colony.

Outside of Plymouth, they exchanged their pilgrim hats with coonskin caps, except Curly, who wears a skunk hat. An accidental discharge by Curly’s blunderbuss yielded a turkey, which gave them hope. Then, they spotted what they thought were a group of turkeys and fire their rather overcharged long blunderbusses at the group. The “group” turned out to be Indian headdresses, which agitated the hit Indians. Attempts at retaliatory fire failed as their guns were destroyed by the powder overcharge, and they are chased by the Indians.

The Stooges do all their might to thwart the Indians in a wild goose chase, using a rock, a mudpack, a fish, a hornet’s nest, and a log as ammunition in their tree branch catapult in one instance. But in their escape, Larry is left behind, captured and tied to a tree, ready to be scalped. A passing woodpecker adds to his misery. Curly and Moe eventually rescue him, helped with pieces of hot coals on the Indian’s butts, and they escape in a canoe, “motorboat” style, having accidentally reviving the bopped Indians with water.

Notes Edit

  • This is the last of the Stooges' films directed by "Preston Black", pseudonym of Jules White's older brother and fellow producer/director Jack White.
  • Near the beginning of the short when the Stooges are prisoners, each Stooge drops the metal ball that is being used to restrain him, in succession. When each ball hits the ground, a chime rings. The notes are the G-E-C chime sequence that was (and still is) the same as the NBC Chimes used for NBC radio and later NBC television. This is followed by Curly imitating a radio announcer. The "NBC chimes" gag would eventually be recycled in the team's 1941 short So Long Mr. Chumps.
  • Larry refers to the WPA, which he identifies as the "Willing Pilgrims Association". This is a reference to the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal program that was prominent in the 1930s.
  • Curly and Larry refer to Whopper and Rosemont, two very popular racehorses of the era.
  • The shot of the Stooges leaving in their high speed canoe was recycled from Whoops, I'm an Indian!, making it's the first Stooge film to employ stock footage. This practice would become more common in future productions.
  • Back to the Woods is the second-longest Stooge short filmed, running at 19 minutes, 27 seconds. The longest is A Pain in the Pullman, clocking in at 19 minutes, 46 seconds.
  • "Hysterical" pilgrim governor has daughters named Faith, Hope, and Charity. Historical pilgrims William and Mary Brewster of The Mayflower had children named names such as daughters Patience, Fear, and sons Love and Wrestling.

Sources Edit

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