THIS IS A FULLY VIEWED REVIEW FROM AN ADVANCED COPY I RECEIVED FROM SONY PICTURES ON 8/5/08.
Fans of the Three Stooges have much to rejoice about as Sony unveiled its plans to release the entire oeuvre of 190 shorts the Boys made for Columbia Pictures from 1934-1958. Volume 3 has been eagerly awaited, for it includes the historical (and hysterical) "You Nazty Spy" and fan favorite "A Plumbing We Will Go".
Relax, Stoogephiles! The quality displayed in the first two volumes of chronological shorts continues here. Actually, these films look even BETTER than many on the previous sets. By the 1940's, the technology was consistently better than the 1930's. These shorts have a beautiful contrast of rich black and white; no pops; no major hissing on the soundtrack; no dust; no scratches and any splices or jumps have been fixed. These shorts have never looked or sounded better and I've seen all of these titles numerous times over the years.
As with all performers, the Stooges had their share of shorts that missed their mark. Let's face it-with 190 titles in their filmography, there were some bad apples in the barrel. However, weaker efforts like "Even As I.O.U" still have some gonzo scenes (Curly and the bassoon) to make it a watchable outing.
This volume of theatrical shorts contains several films released during wartime and some great titles like "Sock-A-Bye, Baby" have a few un PC bits of dialog that the unfamiliar viewer may find shocking. During the time these films were made, America was at serious odds with the Japanese and that sentiment is displayed here (also on future shorts like "No Dough Boys" to be featured on Volume 4 releasing October 7).
All in all, the collection of shorts hit the comedy bullseye (with only a few weak efforts such as "Rockin' Thru The Rockies" and the earlier mentioned "Even As I.O.U."). It's the last volume to feature Curly Howard (easily, the most popular Stooge) in his prime, before his career suffered from declining health.
So, what are ya waitin' for, ya mallethead? Grab Volume 3 on August 26th and get your N'yucks on!