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You Nazty Spy!

Oh, I haven’t really seen any Three Stooges movies. Well, OK, this is a short — 18 minutes. But still!

This is trenchant social commentary! But it’s from 1940, so I’m not quite sure which side this is on — these warmongering dudes are from the kingdom of Moronika, which I guess could be a substitute for Germany…

Oh, they’re short!

OK, perhaps this is really anti Nazi.

DING DING DING! Making anti Nazi movies in 1940 was problematic, because the US was officially neutral, and you could be pulled before a pro British tribunal at the Senate if you weren’t careful. But I guess Columbia didn’t care.

Hey, the bald guy is Mussolini.

Heh heh. This is very subtle.

Mattie Herring.

You can never have too many medals.

I’ve never seen one of these before, but was it customary for the bald guy (I googled him — he’s Curly?) to mouth the other guys’ lines? You can see his lips move here in this clip along with their lines before he has to deliver his own line. It’s kinda amazing.

Wow, this is exquisitely silly and random.

Wow, this is amazing. It’s a pure FUCK YOU to Hitler — it ends with Hitler and Mussolini being eaten by lions, and the final shot is this lion belching. It’s the best short movie ever!

So now I have to do some research, because I didn’t think that the Three Stooges were this political:

The film is often recognized as Hollywood’s inaugural anti-Nazi comedy, predating Charles Chaplin’s The Great Dictator by several months


You Nazty Spy! satirized the Nazis and the Third Reich and helped publicize the Nazi threat in a period when the United States was still neutral about World War II and isolationist sentiment was prevalent among the public. During this period, isolationist senators such as Burton Wheeler and Gerald Nye objected to Hollywood films on grounds that they were anti-Nazi propaganda vehicles designed to mobilize the American public for war.


The Hays code discouraged or prohibited many types of political and satirical messages in feature films, requiring that the history and prominent people of other countries must be portrayed “fairly”. Short films such as those released by the Stooges were subject to less attention than feature films.

Ah; that explains how they got away with doing something like this in 1940.

Anyway, I’m mostly being dazzled by the historical significance of this — are the gags funny? Yeah, pretty funny. The routines aren’t tight, but that lends a certain charm to the proceedings. It’s not a perfect short, but it’s fantastic, so:

You Nazty Spy!. Jules White. 1940.

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