Three Pests in a Mess is the 83rd 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.
The Stooges are inventors desperately trying to obtain a patent for their fly catching invention. Whilst learning they must catch 100,000 flies to get their patent, their conversation is overheard by several crooks across the hallway. Unfortunately, the crooks think Curly has $100,000. A flirtatious woman (Christine McIntyre) who is part of the nest of crooks corners the gullible Curly and tries to finagle the non-existent money out of him. When he confesses that the 100,000 are indeed flies and not dollars, she turns against him, and has the crooks go after the Stooges.
The trio take cover in a sporting goods store where Curly accidentally shoots a mannequin. In their infinite wisdom, the Stooges believe they have killed a real human, and go about trying to bury the "body" in a nearby pet cemetery. Unfortunately, the cemetery's night watchman (Snub Pollard) sees the Stooges prowling around and informs cemetery owner Philip Black (Vernon Dent), who happens to be attending a masquerade party with his partners. The owner arrives at the cemetery, replete in the spookiest outfits possible, and scare the bejesus out of the Stooges.
The syncopated, jazzy version of "Three Blind Mice", first heard in Gents Without Cents, makes its return with this film. This version would be used for the next two releases, as well as Three Loan Wolves, before being retired permanently. This version is played in the key of F, while the key of G was previously utilized.
- Three Pests in a Mess is a reworking of the 1941 El Brendel comedy Ready, Willing But Unable. The plot of men trolling through a cemetery will a dead body dates back to Laurel and Hardy's 1928 silent film Habeas Corpus.
- Curly's "Call for Philip Black" actually mimics the popular 'Call for Philip Morris' cigarette advertisements of the period.
- A prop man dug a hole and covered it with rubber to achieve the effect of Larry sliding under the door at the cemetery. They quickly pulled him under, and filmed the shot as a speed shot.
- The math is wrong: they calculate a penny a fly, and since they need $100, 10,000 flies would be needed, and not 100,000 as stated.