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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Three Stooges: G.I. Stooge (1938-1946)

"Foreign Legion. That's probably the French branch of the American Legion."
- Moe Howard in Wee Wee Monsieur

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: October 09, 2002

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard
Other Stars: Richard Fiske, Evelyn Young, Bud Jamison, Vernon Dent, Doris Houck, Judy Malcolm, Etheldera Leopold, Christina McIntyre
Director: Jules White, Del Lord

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (slapstick comedy violence)
Run Time: 01h:43m:05s
Release Date: October 08, 2002
UPC: 043396077843
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B-B-B- D-

DVD Review

Like baseball, movie comedy was deemed to be essential to the war effort during World War II. As Abbott & Costello would soon learn, the military offered ample material for humor. In these six shorts, all featuring Curly, the Stooges join the armed services but it's not clear which side they'll defeat first.

Boobs in Arms (1940) starts off with the boys doing a stretch as greeting card salesmen. When they make time with a jealous man's wife, they hide out in a recruiting office. Only after they've enlisted do they find out that the jealous man will now be their sergeant. There's plenty of comic business from the drill ground to Curly getting his head stuck in a cannon. Five face slaps, one set of eye pokes and six conks to the head.

It's off to sea in Back to the Front (1942) as the Stooges join the merchant marine. After the predictable seasickness gags (ow!), the boys manage to sink their own ship. Rescue appears to be at hand, until they find out they've climbed aboard the S.S. Schickelgruber, and then there's no holds barred as they fight the Ratzis, including Moe's imitation of Der Fuehrer. One face slap, three pokes to the eye and a mighty fourten blows to the head.

G.I. Wanna Go Home (1946) takes a comic look at the life of the returning veterans after the war. They intend to marry Jessie, Tessie and Bessie (Doris Houck, Judy Malcolm and Etheldera Leopold), but can't do so until they find a place to live in the midst of a housing shortage. The Stooges' solution is suitably inept, but unfortunately they fall back on the tired gag of a parrot in the turkey. The short just stops without ever quite resolving the central notions, making it seem half-finished. Three face slaps, one eye poke and six bonks on the head for a below-average installment.

Jumping back before the war, we find the boys as artists in Paris, "somewhere in France" in Wee Wee Monsieur (1938). They accidentally enlist in the French Foreign Legion, and are given an espionage assignment. When sent in disguise to an Arab stronghold, they are variously dressed in Santa suits and harem outfits, giving the short a weird surrealism that's pretty entertaining. The standard two face slaps, one eye poke and six thumps to the bean.

Taking on the Japanese as well as the Germans, the Stooges in No Dough Boys (1944) are ad agency models dressed as Japanese soldiers. When they go out for lunch after a Japanese sub is sunk, they're mistaken for the real thing and taken in by a group of Nazis (including regular Stooge straight man Vernon Dent). The climax is a series of irritating blackouts, but the costume idea is a fairly different one for the Stooges and provides a little different perspective on their work. Satisfyingly violent, with four face slaps, a poke to the eye and eight full smacks to the melon.

Wrapping up the package is Dizzy Pilots (1943), where the boys are dodging the draft of Moronica through the promise of the invention of a new warplane. Their efforts go awry, however, and Moe finds himself launched as a hot air balloon among other mishaps. The disc comes full circle as about three minutes from Boobs in Arms is lifted to provide the conclusion to this short. Although there are a decent five face slaps, three eye pokes and four conks on the noggin, most of them are in the swiped segment.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: For the most part, these shorts look quite nice indeed. Wee Wee Monsieur is overly dark and lacking in detail. A number of the shorts have minor visible compression artifacts and shimmering; when Larry is wearing plaid pants it's a nightmare of moiré effects.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono track is decent, with minor hiss evident on some of the shorts. As usual, the dialogue is clear enough, and there isn't much of anything to demand much in the way of range or depth.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than subtitles, there's nothing here for extras. There's still no Play All function, either, which is irritating. Who wouldn't want to watch them all? And why aren't they in chronological order?

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Six rarely seen wartime Stooge shorts, with six, count 'em, six Curly classics. The usual nice transfer, though some compression artifacts are visible this time out. Still no extras, but a must for Stoogeophiles nonetheless.


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