Nobody calls Judge Patrick Bromley a Shemp-lover. Nobody.
Our reviews of The Three Stooges Collection: Volume One (1934-36) (published November 26th, 2007), The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Four (1943-45) (published October 7th, 2008), The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Six (1949-51) (published June 26th, 2009), The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Three (1940-42) (published August 26th, 2008), and The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Two (1937-39) (published July 2nd, 2008) are also available.
"Eeenie, meenie, minee, moe. See, you can't go wrong with Moe!"
The final Stooges shorts starring Curly Howard make it onto DVD, clearing the way for Shemp, Joe Besser and (gasp) Curly-Joe.
Facts of the Case
The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Five collects 25 more slapstick shorts made between 1946 and 1948. These were the last films to star Curly, who suffered a stroke on the set of "Half-Wits Holiday." He was replaced by original Stooge Shemp Howard, though did return to make a cameo appearance in "Hold That Lion."
Here are the films contained in Volume Five:
• "Beer Barrel Polecats"
• "A Bird in the Head"
• "Uncivil Warbirds"
• "Three Troubledoers"
• "Monkey Businessmen"
• "Three Loan Wolves"
• "G.I. Wanna Go Home"
• "Rhythm and Weep"
• "Three Little Pirates"
• "Half-Wits Holiday"
• "Fright Night"
• "Out West"
• "Hold That Lion"
• "Brideless Groom"
• "Sing a Song of Six Pants"
• "All Gummed Up"
• "Shivering Sherlocks"
• "Pardon My Clutch"
• "Squareheads of the Round Table"
• "Fiddlers Three"
• "The Hot Scots"
• "Heavenly Daze"
• "I'm a Monkey's Uncle"
• "Mummy's Dummies"
• "Crime on Their Hands"
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who love The Three Stooges, and people who don't. One group doesn't understand the other. So it has been, so it shall be.
The Stooges all but define what it means to be critic-proof. A debate as to whether or not they are funny is a waste of time; either you appreciate them or you do not. They are the masters of literal slapstick, demonstrating with every eye-gouge and nose-twist that pain can be funny. Though they could be written off as lowbrow—and theirs is the basest of comedy—one has to recognize that they elevate lowbrow laughs to the level of high art.
That's about as much dissection as I care to afford The Stooges. I love them. I think they're hilarious. I can't wait to raise my son on them the same way I grew up watching them on Saturday afternoon TV. Anyone who doesn't appreciate them has little business buying, watching or even reading a review of this, the fifth volume in a collection. If you don't like The Stooges, you'd have been better off giving up four volumes ago.
Sony has done a bang-up job of issuing these mini-masterpieces of comic violence in chronological order (you don't have to take my word for it; just go back and read DVD Verdict's glowing reviews of the previous four releases). Here, they've included 25 (25!) shorts, spread out over two discs. The films look nearly flawless, making them the best versions of any Stooge films we've seen. The mono audio track is faithful without being muddy. Technically, there are no complaints to be had with these discs.
If I have any issue with The Three Stooges Collection: Volume Five, it's entirely one of preference. I am not really a Shemp fan, so it's sad to see him step in and take over about halfway through the set. At the same time, it makes Vol. 5 all the more necessary, as it completes the run of films starring Curly Howard. If you've been collecting these releases so far, you could conceivably quit after this set. The Stooges were never the same.
That's not to say that the films starring Shemp aren't any good; they're just not as good. Others may disagree with me. They're the Shemp-lovers. And, let's face it: the Shemp shorts are still vastly superior to what would follow when Joe Besser and, later, Curly-Joe DeRita joined the group.
Sony continues an incredible job giving The Three Stooges the treatment they deserve, making Volume Five a must-have for any self-respecting Stooge fan. Even the ones that don't respect themselves ought to pick this set up. They're the Shemp-lovers.
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