Crime on Their Hands (1948)


Crime on Their Hands (1948)

The stooges are janitors working in a newspaper office. When an anonymous caller phones in a tip about the theft a famous diamond, the boys decide to become reporters and go after the crooks. They find the crooks, but Shemp accidentally swallows the diamond which was hidden in a bowl of candy. The crooks want to cut the diamond out, but the boys foil them with the help of a friendly gorilla.
IMDb   7.9 /10
TheMovieDb    7.0 /10
Director Edward Bernds
Writer Elwood Ullman
Release Date1948-12-09
GenreShort, Comedy, Crime
Content Rating
CompanyColumbia Pictures
Shemp (as Shemp)
Larry (as Larry)
Moe (as Moe)
Christine McIntyre
Christine McIntyre

Crime on Their Hands

Crime on Their Hands is a 1948 short subject directed by Edward Bernds starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp Howard). It is the 112th entry in the series released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 shorts for the studio between 1934 and 1959.


The Stooges are janitors at a newspaper who stumble on a hot story about the priceless Punjab diamond being stolen by a crook named Dapper (Kenneth MacDonald). With dreams of becoming genuine reporters, the trio head for Squid McGuffy's cafe asking for the whereabouts of Dapper. They manage to convince everyone at the restaurant that they are actually police.

While searching several rooms above the cafe, the Stooges stumble on Dapper's moll (Christine McIntyre), who hastily hides the Punjab diamond in a candy dish. The boys refuse to leave, suspecting Dapper will eventually show his face. While killing time, Shemp starts to flirt with the moll, and manages to swallow the ice along with some mints from the candy dish. The gal nearly has a nervous breakdown but quickly discovers the Stooges are nothing more than reporters. She calls in Dapper and his henchman Muscles (Cy Schindell) and frantically try to pry the diamond out of frazzled Shemp.

After all else fails, Dapper decides to cut him open by performing some surgery on Shemp in the office. Moe and Larry are locked in a closet by Muscles while Shemp is tied down on a close by desk-turned-operating table. As luck would have it, there happens to be a bag of tools in the closet, which Moe and Larry use to saw their way out of the closet, and right into a gorilla's cage on the other side of the wall. The gorilla knocks Dapper and Muscles cold. The beast, however, befriends and saves Shemp, and helps him cough up the diamond.



  • Moe Howard as Moe
  • Larry Fine as Larry
  • Shemp Howard as Shemp
  • Kenneth MacDonald as Dapper Malone
  • Christine McIntyre as Bee
  • George C. Wilson as J. L. Cameron
  • Lester Allen as Runty


  • Cy Schindell as Muscles (final film)
  • Ray "Crash" Corrigan as Harold the gorilla
  • George Lloyd as Squid McGuffey
  • Jimmy Aubrey as Hawkins
  • Heinie Conklin as Bartender
  • Blackie Whiteford as Seaman
  • Joe Palma as Barfly

Production notes

Crime on Their Hands was filmed on September 9–12, 1947. The title Crime on Their Hands is a parody of the expression "time on their hands." The press room scene was recycled in 1956's Commotion on the Ocean, while the remaining portion of Crime on Their Hands was utilized in 1955's Hot Ice. It is a partial remake of the 1942 Andy Clyde short All Work and No Pay.

Crime on Their Hands marked the final appearance of longtime Stooge supporting actor, the late Cy Schindell. Drafted into the Marines during World War II, Cy Schindell developed a severe case of jungle rot while on Guadalcanal, which eventually developed into terminal cancer. Knowing he was dying, Schindell worked constantly during his illness to assure his family would be financially secure after his death. Excessive makeup was used during the filming of Crime on Their Hands to mask Schindell's cancer-ridden face.