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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Three Stooges: Stooges and the Law (1935-1946)

"No, I'm too young to die. Too young and too handsome. Well, I'm too young. Nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk."
- Curly

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: March 01, 2004

Stars: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard
Other Stars: Bobby Burns, Dick Curtis, Lynton Brent, Dorothy Appleby, Mary Ainsler, Ethelreda Leopold, Christine McIntyre, Vernon Dent
Director: Del Lord, Jules White, Edward Bernds

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (comic violence)
Run Time: 01h:26m:16s
Release Date: March 02, 2004
UPC: 043396031494
Genre: comedy

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

DVD Review

Where Larry, Moe and Curly are involved, the law is sure to be close behind. This disc features five shorts with the unifying theme of the Stooges either in trouble with the law or ineptly trying to enforce it. All five shorts feature Curly, giving an overview of his career as a Stooge from the beginning until shortly before his untimely stroke that ended his career.

Pop Goes the Easel (1935) is one of the earlier Stooges shorts, and is notable for being the first one where Curly used his signature move of snapping his fingers, then drumming them against his throat with a distinctive popping sound. The out-of-work Stooges inadvertently get into trouble for stealing brooms and hide out in an art school. The climactic clayslinging fight is a full-blown prototype for the later pie-throwing extravaganzas. The boys also don drag and Curly does his Mae West imitation. Four pokes to the eye, seven slaps and four head conks decorate this outing.

The Stooges are keeping a saloon in Yes, We Have No Bonanza (1939) but decide to become gold prospectors. When their boss robs the local bank, he makes the mistake of burying the loot where the gold-diggers are about to dig. Ten blows to the head, seven slaps and two pokes to the eye make this one of the more violent on the disc. The pies really start flying in the first of the huge pie fights, In the Sweet Pie and Pie (1941). The Stooges are on death row, which is convenient for three heiresses who need to marry in order to collect their inheritances. But before the execution can be completed, the Stooges are pardoned and go to perform their spousal duties. The girls, unhappy about this turn of events, try to cook up grounds for divorce by giving the boys every opportunity to embarrass them at a fancy party. But that's mainly just an excuse for the pies to land on faces, really. A single eye poke, eight slaps and a massive 17 bonks on the bean.

Idiots De Luxe (1945) finds Moe on trial for attempted murder of his roommates (who else?), the Original Two-Man Quartet. Moe's nerves are shot and they decide to take a camping trip, which involves bears and the usual shenanigans, complete with five slaps and eleven thumps on the noggin. Finally, Curly turns sheriff in The Three Trouble Doers (1946) as he has to rescue Nell (Christine McIntyre) from the clutches of Badlands Blackie (Dick Curtis). This is the least violent of the quintet, no doubt in part due to Curly's failing health, so only two slaps and five conks on the head (most of them to non-Stooges).

These shorts aren't really among the Stooges' best, but Curly fans will certainly be pleased at all the good moments he gets.

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


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame picture generally looks quite good, even on the oldest short. The prints are attractive, with only mild speckling. Black levels are very nice, with acceptable detail and texture. Edge enhancement is, as usual, an issue, with rings around high contrast elements. Some segments of Trouble Doers are very dupey and seem to be spliced in from an inferior print.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Pop Goes the Easel has a fairly noisy soundtrack, but that's not too surprising considering its age. The rest of the shorts have fairly clean tracks. Dialogue is always quite clear, though the opening and closing music is typically somewhat distorted. About as good as expected.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Though there are zero extras, Columbia again thoughtfully provides a "Play All" button for a hearty helping of legally-challenged Stooges. Chaptering is about as thin as it gets, with one stop for each short.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Dial 911 because the Stooges are on the loose again. Columbia's transfers on these shorts keep improving, but still nothing for extras.


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