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Film / You Nazty Spy!

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"Hail-hail Hailstone! Wahoo!"

"A Dictator? Why, he makes love to beautiful women, drinks champagne, 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 1940 short starring The Three Stooges was, literally, the first movie ever to mock the Nazis.

Set in the country of Moronika, 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 was followed by I'll Never Heil Again. Other Hollywood artists started attacking the Nazis in 1940: Charlie Chaplin did it with The Great Dictator and MGM did it with The Mortal Storm. But the Stooges did it first.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adolf Hitlarious: Total nobody who rises to a position of power? Check. Tiny mustache? Check. Yelling in totally-not-German? Check. The only difference is that Moe Hailstone is a paperhanger instead of a failed art student. This was the Trope Codifier.
  • Downer Ending: The short ends with the Stooges being eaten by lions (although they come back for the sequel... and they die in that film, too!)
  • 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: Made at a time when mocking the Nazis was, at best, a risky business, this is the Ur-Example. Yes, the Three Stooges were the first people to mock Hitler on film. The best part is that all three are Jews, the dictator's self-proclaimed enemies.
  • Villain Protagonist: Given that they're playing Nazis, the Stooges count in this short.
  • Visual Pun: The Moronika symbol is a set of criss-crossing, swastika-like snakes.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Mr. Ixnay, Mr. Amscray, and Mr. Onay all run a munitions factory that's going down the tubes due to peace times in Moronika. Their solution? They decide to start a war, the first step being to overthrow the king and appoint Moe as a dictator in his place.