"A Dictator? Why, he makes love to beautiful women, drinks champange, enjoys life and never works. He makes speeches to the people promising them plenty, gives them nothing, then takes everything! That's a Dictator."
— Mr. Amscray
This was, literally, the first movie ever
to mock the Nazis.
Set in the country of Moronica, three men plot to overthrow their king and appoint a dictator. Their choice is a paperhanger named Moe Hailstone. With Curly as his Field Marshal and Larry as his Minister of Propaganda, the boys take control of the country. The citizens are unhappy and drive Hailstone out of power.
This film provides examples of:
- Adolf Hitlarious: Moe as Moe Hailstone.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: A quite memorable (and hilarious) example of faux-German
- Balcony Speech / Rousing Speech
- Bilingual Bonus: Moe's Rousing Speech is full of Yiddish phrases and colorful insults that only fellow Yiddish speakers - the Jews - would get.
- Chest of Medals: Curly's impression of Hermann Goering.
- Comic Trio
- Downer Ending: Short ends with the Stooges being eaten by lions (although they come back for a sequel...They die in that film too!)
- The Empire: Moronica (for Morons!).
- Evil Chancellor: Moe Hailstone
- Evil Is Hammy: The famous balcony scene.
- General Failure: All three: Hailstone, Gallstone, and Pebble.
- The Generalissimo: Field Marshal Curly.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "Giva Dam". Not bad for 1940
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Moe takes Curly's "little red book". "Oh a bookkeeper!"
- Mata Hari: Mattie Herring
- No Swastikas: Averted with the criss crossing snakes.
- Punny Name: The map
- Ripped from the Headlines: Several lines make references to current events, particularly the "Blitzkrieg" line.
- Reality Subtext: With the little moustache, Moe Howard lookes eerily like Hitler.
- Stock Footage: During the balcony speech
- This Is a Work of Fiction: Parodied; the film begins with the notice: "Any resemblance between the characters in this picture and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle".
- Those Wacky Nazis: The Ur Example
- Villain Protagonist: The Stooges, for obvious reasons.
- Visual Pun: The Moronica symbol is the criss crossing, swastika like snakes.
- Written-In Infirmity: Larry injured his foot before shooting and had to walk around with a limp. Fortunately, Larry was lucky for this film since he was parodying Josef Goebbels, who himself had a limp due to a club foot.