Disorder in the Court

For the TruTV television program, see Disorder in the Court (TV series).
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
Eddie Laughton
Cinematography Benjamin H. Kline
Edited by William A. Lyon
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • May 30, 1936 (1936-05-30) (U.S.)
Running time
Country United States
Language English
Disorder In The Court, full movie

Disorder in the Court is the 15th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1936 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard). The comedians released 190 short films for the studio 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?").

The Stooges harass the defense attorney (Bud Jamison) in Disorder in the Court

When Curly is called to the witness stand, he is nowhere to be found. The defense attorney (Bud Jamison) goes out into the hall only to find the Stooges playing jacks and tic-tac-toe simultaneously 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 on violin, Moe harmonica, and Curly on 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. The note also said that Buck Wing will disappear. Just when they are going to get their picture taken at the front page, the water hose (which had to be tied in a knot to stop the flow of water when the bail officer broke the fixture trying to turn it off) explodes, causing everyone to get wet.

Production notes

Disorder in the Court was filmed over six days on April 1-6, 1936.[1] The film title is a play on the stereotypical judge's cry, "Order in the court!"[2]

A colorized version of this film was released in 2006 as part of the DVD collection "Stooges on the Run."

Sol Horwitz, the father of Moe, Curly, and Shemp Howard, makes an uncredited appearance as a member of the public audience.[2]

Disorder in the Court was the first Stooge short to give Curly Howard top billing over costars Larry Fine and Moe Howard.

This is the first Stooge short in which Curly is spelled "C-U-R-L-Y" in the opening titles instead of the previous "C-U-R-L-E-Y." 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.[2]

Disorder in the Court is one of four Stooge shorts that fell into the public domain after the copyright lapsed in the 1960s (the other three being Malice in the Palace, Brideless Groom, and Sing a Song of Six Pants). As such, these four shorts frequently appear on cheaply produced DVD or video compilations.[2]

Gail Tempest (Suzanne Kaaren) dancing in the courtroom.

The presumed perpetrator is a dancer named Buck Wing, a reference to the buck-and-wing dance common in vaudeville and minstrel shows.[2]

The classic 'swearing in' ('Take off your hat!,' 'Raise your right hand,' 'Judgy wudgy') routine was borrowed nearly verbatim from Buster Keaton's 1931 film Sidewalks of New York, directed by Stooge veteran and producer Jules White.[2]

A shot of the trio performing in court was used by Hershey's in an 1980's ad campaign.


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