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 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: Moe as Moe Hailstone. The Ur-Example, Trope Maker, and Trope Codifier.
- 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 and Benito Mussolini (even having a similar build to the latter).
- Comic Trio
- Downer Ending: Short ends with the Stooges being eaten by lions (although they come back for the sequel...They die in that film too!)
- The Empire: Moronica (for Morons!).
- Evil Chancellor: Moe Hailstone
- Evil Is Hammy: The famous balcony scene.
- Femme Fatale Spy: Mattie Herring.
- 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!"
- No Swastikas: Averted with the criss crossing snakes.
- Punny Name: The map and Mattie Herring, an expy of Mata Hari.
- 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.
- 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 Moronica. 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.
- 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.