Malice in the Palace is the 117th short subject starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.
This is one of four Stooge shorts that exist in the public domain (the others being Disorder in the Court, Brideless Groom, and Sing a Song of Six Pants). As such, these four shorts frequently appear on cheaply-produced VHS and DVD compilations.
This short was reworked in 1956 as Rumpus in the Harem, using ample stock footage from the original.
It aired as part of the TBS Halloween special "Three Stooges Fright Night" during the 1990s.
The Stooges, while running the Cafe Casbah Bah (a Middle Eastern restaurant) and attempting to prepare a meal for customers Hassan Ben Sober (Vernon Dent) and Ginna Rumma (George J. Lewis), discover a plan that their hungry customers are hatching. These two thieves are attempting to rob the tomb of King Rootintootin, which contains a priceless diamond, but they discover that the emir of Schmow (Johnny Kascier) has already gotten his hands on the diamond. The two plotters start wailing and are thrown out of the restaurant. The Stooges then attempt to retrieve the diamond themselves, as there is a $50,000 reward at stake.
The Stooges arrive at the emir's palace, all three dressed as Santa Claus. They then manage to acquire the diamond and make a quick exit, but not before dealing with a burly guard.
According to The Three Stooges Journal, a part was written for Curly — a lobby card photo shot for this film features a slim and mustachioed Curly as an angry chef. However, his scenes were cut and ultimately Larry assumed the role as the chef. Had Curly been able to appear, this would have been the second short — after Hold That Lion! — in which all four of the original Stooges appear in the same film. Curly would not work after this, as his health declined until his death in 1952.
- The Santa Claus in the desert gag used previously in the Stooges 1938 short Wee Wee Monsieur.
- The actor, George J. Lewis later portrayed Don Alejandro de la Vega on Disney's television Western series "Zorro".