Saved by the Belle is the 40th 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 traveling salesmen in the South American country of Valeska. The lazy town is only slightly stirred awake by its frequent earthquakes, though there is a quiet revolution on the horizon. The Stooges are unsuccessfully trying to sell winter clothing in this tropical setting, and Joe, the owner of the hotel, is closing it down for the winter and asks the Stooges to pay their hotel bill. Moe was hoping to get an advance from the front office, and a letter arrives from the office stating that they will not give them anymore money until they "get rid of present wardrobe". This does not work in their favor, as Valeska has strict laws about not paying one's expenses, which is punishable by death. Springing into action, Moe leads the owner to their room and locks him before they run off.
With nothing left to lose the Stooges start selling their Earthquake Shock Absorbers and doing rather well until they end up arrested for selling wares on the street without a license. They are taken to the head general who believes them to be spies, though his associate Señorita Rita (Carmen LaRoux) believes them to be innocent, obviously showing some sort of affection for Curly. He confiscates Moe's letter from the front office and reads it, misreading it and believing they are to "get rid of President Ward Robey". They are then arrested and thrown in jail, set to be executed the following morning.
The Stooges lament their fate in prison, but, through a stroke of luck, they are able to escape from their cell and return to Ward Robey's office with Rita in tow to find a map. It turns out that Rita is one of the revolutionaries and had been gaining the General's trust. She finds the map and hands it to Moe, but another earthquake hits and causes Moe to lose his footing and drop the map under a couch. He reaches down under it and grabs what he thinks is the map, and Rita tells them to head to the revolutionaries' camp in the mountains.
The Stooges run out of the office and head to the hills, where the revolutionaries are staying. They are then taken to the leader of the revolutionaries, who turns out to be Joe the hotel manager. Recognizing them, he demands they be shot for their inability to pay their hotel bill, but when Moe tells them that they have a map from Rita, he grants them leniency. However, he opens the map and finds that it is actually a bawdy advertisement. Enraged, he again orders the Stooges to be shot, but Rita comes in with the real map in her hand. She attempts to placate the leader's anger at the Stooges with kind words, and the leaders seems to relent, giving the Stooges paperwork to grant them "commissions in the army".
Relieved, the Stooges take him up on his hospitality and take the paperwork to the officer outside, who leads them to a wall covered in holes. They are then told to stand in a line, and the officer walks up to three men holding rifles. After a while it dawns on the Stooges that they are standing in front of a firing squad and they are to be executed, but another earthquake hits the country and tears the wall down. The Stooges escape and hijack a truck full of weapons and explosives, making a fast getaway. As they escape, Curly lights a cigar, but Moe tells him not to through the burning match outside as it could "start a forest fire", so Curly throws it in the back of the truck, inadvertently lighting a fuse on a stick of dynamite. The truck then explodes, sending the Stooges flying onto the back of the horse. Moe gets it to go, but they end up falling off it onto the ground, thereby ending the film.
- This was the final Three Stooges short to be directed by veteran comedian Charley Chase. Chase died of a heart attack on June 20, 1940.
- When the Stooges are in front of the firing squad, believing they are to get their picture taken, Curly poses and says to Moe "I'm gonna send one home to Elaine". This is a reference to his then-wife Elaine Ackerman, whom he was married to from 1937 to 1940.
- The title is a play on the boxing expression, "saved by the bell."