Like many of the other "Three Stooges" fans who purchased the first "Three Stooges Collection" volume one (1934-1936) and the second "Three Stooges Collection" volume two (1937-1939) I wondered if Sony Pictures would continue to release these affordable sets with the same level of quality shorts found in the volume one and volume two sets and so far the answer is an overwhelming yes!
Stooge fans, Sony Pictures have done it again quickly releasing the third installment of 23 digitally restored and remastered stooge shorts. The "Three Stooges Collection" volume three from 1940-1942 continues to offer the same outstanding video and sound quality as found in the first two sets. Once again fans will be happy to find that all 23 shorts in this fantastic two-disc set are in chronological order and the laughs get better and better as the shorts continue. By 1940-1942 the "Three Stooges" were well into their act and the brand of hilarity and hijinks that made them famous. From the quality of their shorts it was clearly evident that fans couldn't get enough of them and they wanted more. In volume three some of the notable shorts are "You Nazty Spy", "I'll Never Heil Again" as well as "Boobs in Arms", "An Ache in Every Stake" and the hilarious "A Plumbing We Will Go" another personal favorite of mine.
Once again Sony Pictures has done an incredible job with the video remastering and sound restoration and they should be commended for their ongoing efforts. The digitally remastered video transfers have given new life to the all but faded comedy that was the "Three Stooges" and hopefully introduced them to a new generation of fans waiting to discover them in superior clarity and sound. These shorts look like they were made yesterday with modern equipment and not over 70+ years ago. The completely restored soundtrack is once again the best I've ever heard any of these shorts sound and fans will be delighted that the annoying hissing noises are gone. Also missing from the newly remastered shorts is the debris, grain, dirt, scratches and lines that used to plague these wonderful shorts. This set contains 23 shorts on two single sided discs packaged in slim cases. The disc artwork and packaging is fantastic and first class to say the least, making this third installment even more of a must have for fans to own.
"Three Stooges" Fans will rejoice that eight of the twenty three newly digitally remastered shorts are finally presented complete and uncut for the first time on DVD with all they're political incorrectness intact and still presented in beautiful Black & White. The only drawback to this set is that it doesn't include any bonus features or extras, although for me it's the quality of the shorts that really matters.
You Nazty Spy!
Rockin' Thru the Rockies
A Plumbing We Will Go
Nutty But Nice
How High is Up?
From Nurse to Worse
No Census, No Feeling
Boobs in Arms
So Long Mr. Chumps
Dutiful But Dumb
All the World's a Stooge
I'll Never Heil Again
An Ache in Every Stake
In the Sweet Pie and Pie
Some More of Samoa
Loco Boy Makes Good
Cactus Makes Perfect
What's the Matador?
Three Smart Saps
Even as IOU
on January 6, 2013
Here is the 1940-42 volume from the multi disc collection, which I am in possession of, and it shows the comics at their height. As I said before, and here the short episodes are referred to as "screenplays" and they are well written for the veteran vaudevillians and here as in silent film days, humor is seen in very ordinary things. Keep it simple it involves the viewer in, they identify with the comedic set up so well, and combined with this is vaudeville type stunts throughout and the center of the action is curly..and the two are just foils for his act, but all three do well nicely together. The humor is best went the stunts are related to the action, when the gags are in their daily stunts not some comic element brought in extraneously, so that it seems out of place? So building on the silent clowns, vaudeville and even Laurel & Hardy, they have awriting, production and dirrectorial talent to bring these comic sequences together and they are quite funny!
The best sequences are probably directed by Del LOrd and his producers(who are usually constant) but even Jules white does well since Curly's antics will cover up for the inexperience and lack of talent when a director is not as talented as other on the studio set? The writing direction and sequencing is situated on his lively talents. There is another element borrowed from the silent clowns, helping women or children in distress, many of the sequences also deal with marital problems, again drawing viewers in, and they are quite basic setups ripe for comic twists and turns. Memorable lines addressing a group of girls "your english is not so good looking"..attractions based on looks rather than talk; a lawyer "diggins" getting the boys out of jail; a sequence with curly and a bar of soap; and a sequence elaborating on his profile(Curly)..since he's piqued interest in his comedy, and who exactly he is?
So here we have comedy from the silent era to this day, brought up to date and specifically tailored to the talents of this set of stars. We will see how the act continues as these shorts progress..and the changes over the coming years.
So says Curly in the second to last short("Even as I.O.U") in this Volume Three of the Three Stooges Collection.The Stooges finally have hit their stride in these shorts and Curly is definitely front and center through most of them.The shorts span the dates of January of 1940 to November of 1942.
Ex-Keystone comics Vernon Dent and Bud Jameson are on hand through most of the shorts to give their usual superb back up to the Stooges.Featured also is Symona Boniface,playing the perfect dowager,who would become more and more visible in the shorts as time went on.
As I mentioned Curly is featured quite prominently and many of the shorts here contain some of his most beloved routines."A Plumbing We will Go" has the Stooges as plumbers and as usual Curly goes off by himself,into a bathroom on the second floor and before you can say "knucklehead" surrounds himself with piping and can't get out;with the pipe leak he originally set out to stop no where near taken care of.As the bathroom floor fills with water he has an idea and drills some holes to let the water escape and of course ends up crashing to the first floor on top of an unsuspecting Moe."An Ache in every Stake" is an excellent Stooges vehicle where they do a slight reworking of the famous Laurel and Hardy sequence in their Academy Award winning Short of /32"The Music Box".Here the Stooges are icemen who try to deliver ice up a long flight of stairs.Curly at first runs up the flight but finds at the top what was once a big ice block is now an ice cube.Another attempt,this time taking two blocks instead of one,just results in two ice cubes at the top.The Stooges then decide to hurry the process along by creating a relay team at certain points up the stairway.Curly is the last runner and this time makes it with block in tact only to drop and smash it rendering it useless.The Stooges then bring the icebox down and put the ice in it and bring it back up;here resembling "The Music Box" the most.Of course Vernon Dent comes up and tries to pass but gets chased down the stairs by the errant icebox which smashes into a million pieces.From here the Stooges end up helping to put on a birthday party for the ice customer and her husband;who else but Vernon Dent!It is hilarious from beginning to end and flows wonderfully.
Also prominent in a few of these shorts(and others in later volumes during the 1940-45 time period) are signs of the times.That is the war element and the Stooges takes on the Axis in such shorts as "You Nazi Spy" and "I'll Never Heil Again".Moe sure made a good double for Der Fuhrer,didn't he?
Again some of the shorts here contain footage that has been reworked from past shorts or will be reworked for future ones."A Plumbing We will Go" would be reworked into 'Scheming Schemers' and 'Vagabond Loafers';and "So Long,Mr Chumps" and "In the Sweet Pie and Pie" both contain footage from their older"Beer Barrel Polecats".The first part of the short "Boobs in Arms" is almost a scene by scene remake of Laurel and Hardy's Feb/35 "The Fixer Uppers".The Stooges play the Boys roles as cards for every occasion salesmen and try to make an unhappy woman's husband jealous in the process.The results are,as usual,catastrophic.
As a little bit of star-watching that passes by in a flicker,watch for a very young Lloyd Bridges in "Sock a Bye Baby" answering a telephone!
As is usual for this collection Sony/Columbia has given the high end treatment for these 23 shorts by remastering them into Hi-Def prints and the results are great to say the least.The Stooges have never been seen to this great advantage I daresay since they were first released in theaters over 60(!)years ago.The Stooges hit their collective stride and the set is highly recommended.
on September 17, 2008
I ordered the first three volumes of The Three Stooges collection all at once and I can honestly say it is one of the best DVD purchases I ever made. If there was a flaw, it was the menus on Volume 1 not being the greatest to navigate but that is a very small nitpick that was corrected on Volumes 2 & 3 anyway.
There are shorts I hadn't seen before that are contained on this collection and others that I had not previously seen in their entirety before. Needless to say, I was pleased.
Quite simply, I am very happy with this collection and look forward to Volume 4 and other subsequent volumes in the future.