Monday, December 28, 2009

Four Reasons to Buy the new Three Stooges DVD set

1.) Get up close and personal with Larry. Larry took a larger role in the series during this period. After many years, the long-suffering middle Stooge was allowed to deliver his flaky character front and center. Larry even gets to do Brando.

Moe expresses his growing appreciation of Larry on screen. "You're getting to be a smart little imbecile," he tells him. While that's good news for some of Larry fans, other fans might understandably prefer Larry in smaller doses.

2.) Get to see tireless comedy veterans hard at work. You won't find any classic films in this latest batch, but the Stooges are still knocking themselves out and they are still able to be funny when the material is right. The better shorts in the collection are Gents in a Jam (1952), Three Dark Horses (1952), Loose Loot (1953) and Tricky Dicks (1953). Three Dark Horses has a funny scene where the Stooges accidentally tear off a man's toupee and then attempt to glue it back on his head. A wacky chase occurs backstage at a burlesque theater in Loose Loot. A particularly funny moment occurs when the villain catches up to Moe and bites his ear.

Tricky Dicks, which depicts a routine day at a police precinct, is a cross between a Three Stooges comedy and an episode of Barney Miller.

In He Cooked His Goose (1952), Shemp takes on a drenched dog in a routine that originated in silent films. The earliest known version of the routine was performed by Lloyd Hamilton in The Simp (1920) and a less subtle, "go for broke" version was performed by Billy Dooley in The Briny Boob (1926).

Unfortunately, a number of the films, including Cuckoo on the Choo-choo (1952) and Income Tax Sappy (1954), are more strange than funny.

3.) Get to see the Stooges in 3-D. The highlight of the collection is 3-D versions of Spooks! (1953) and Pardon My Backfire (1953). You cannot call yourself a true Stooges fan until you have experienced Moe's finger poke in 3-D.

4.) Get to see clever pre-CGI effects. Little money was spent to show the Stooges leaping into a painting in Loose Loot. The cost of putting Ben Stiller into Eisenstaedt's V-J Day photo for A Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) was probably more than what the Columbia short subject department spent on special effects in twenty-five years.

Look at this effect. A dummy stand-in was used for a scene where Shemp falls through a roof. The camera speed was accelerated to a degree where the dummy became undetectable to the human eye. It was cheap effect but it worked. This is truly a fake Shemp.

All in all, I recommend the collection for Stooges fans.

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