For the completist only
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 09/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This budget-priced DVD isn't going to appeal to the casual fan, but for people who want to see more than just the shorts, it does have some nice stuff to offer. However, as great as it is to see a lot of these rarities, I do wish that they had actually been labeled and given some background, instead of just shown as more or less a clip show that's a bit under an hour long. Not even the credits tell us the names of the shorts and features that we just saw clips of. We open with a clip of the aged Stooges explaining to a reporter why they no longer really engage in the violent onscreen antics they were famous for (afraid of some little kid at home imitating it and his or her mother getting upset, as though any intelligent child would think that this stuff were actually real), and explaining how they did the things they did and why it didn't really hurt, because it just looked real on camera. We then cut to clips from:
'Swing Parade of 1946,' where the boys are looking for a watch a man named Moose lost. It includes a scene reminiscent of the famous maze of pipes in 'A-Plumbing We Will Go.' The scenes included were very funny and made me want to see the entire film; I'm told they have quite a bit of the action, even though they weren't the stars. It's also surprising to find out that this was from Curly's ill period; I could never have guessed if I hadn't been told the name of the film these clips were taken from and the year, since he actually looks and acts quite healthy. Perhaps it's because this was a full-length feature and therefore not shot in a couple of days the way the shorts were, and he wasn't required to be in every scene, so he wasn't being worked past his limit the way he was by the slavedrivers at Columbia.
'Screen Snapshots #9' (1939), featuring them at a horse show, trying to get Curly onto the horse he's supposed to be riding. This was also pretty funny. Between 1933 and 1945 they were in a total of 7 of these one-reel 'Screen Snapshots,' part of a series Columbia put out showcasing the private and working lives of a number of their stars around Hollywood.
'Hollywood Party' (1934), a movie with an all-star cast, in which they appear with Ted Healy. They show up to the party as photographers, but end up as the subject of a debate between two professors, over their place in the evolutionary scale.
'Meet the Baron' (1933), another feature in which they appeared with Ted Healy. Here they're playing plumbers who get called to a girls' dormitory to fix their shower. I've heard that the full-length movie isn't that great, but that Healy and His Stooges steal every scene they're in.
'The Camel Comedy Caravan' (1950), hosted by Ed Wynn. The full-length episode is included as a bonus feature on 'The Men Behind the Mayhem,' although the print quality there isn't that stupendous either. This one is kind of funny, but not one of my favorites of the clips included here.
Generous excerpts from 'Disorder in the Court' (1936) and 'Heavenly Daze' (1948). Just about everyone has seen 'Disorder in the Court' countless times because of how it's one of the 4 public domain shorts, but at least here a decent print was used, and overplayed though it might be, it is one of their best. For awhile, 'Heavenly Daze' (one of my favorite Shemp shorts) was mistakenly thought to be PD as well, which might be the reason it was included here.
A bunch of the lame live-action wraparounds from those godawful cartoons from 1965. The fact that they're in color really underscores just how old and tired they looked by this late point in their career. They're mildly amusing and give an idea of how they would have been in shorts with DeRita as the third Stooge, but nothing really classic or hilarious. It's hard to believe they were directed by the usually fantastic Ed Bernds. By this point they were just too old and worn-out-looking for this stuff to really be funny or believable anymore. Although I really don't begrudge them anything they did in this late era (those awful cartoons, recording albums for children, toning down the violence to placate parents, working with a third Stooge who later went on record as saying he never found them funny and thought working with them was beneath him). They were finally getting paid real money after being taken to the cleaners for 25 years and deserved to take a victory lap and some final bows.
A 1959 appearance on 'The Steve Allen Show,' in which they reprise the famous nearsighted Maharajah routine they did earlier in 'Three Little Pirates' (1946) and 'Time Out for Rhythm' (1941). They're looking kind of old in this one, though at least the black and white doesn't make it as shockingly obvious as does the color in the live-action wraparounds. It's kind of entertaining, and DeRita doesn't get on my nerves as much as he usually does (besides the fact that he didn't have much of a personality anyway, I just lost a lot of respect for him after finding out how little respect he himself had for the company that wanted him and made him famous), but I just didn't find it as funny as the much-earlier clips, from when they were still in their physical prime and at their creative peak. I also couldn't help thinking of how much better the real Curly was in the role, esp. considering that the more famous of the two Maharajah routines was done just two, two and a half weeks before he had a major stroke.
Overall, it's certainly not anything someone who's just a casual or new fan will be interested in, but it is good to see some of these rarities finally available, particularly for such a low price. And as mentioned earlier, it was kind of lazy how they weren't shown in chronological order, given any background information, or even labeled so we would know just what we were seeing clips from instead of having to find out on our own. Apart from 'Disorder in the Court' and 'Heavenly Daze' (and the terrible live-action wraparounds), I don't think even most serious fans will be apt to know right off the bat what all the other things were drawn from."
Budget in price only
MoeHailstone | NY State, USA | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another rare collection of Stooge goodies that may be seen as junk due to the budget price:
- The Maharaja sketch (THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW April 1959)
- Clips from:
SCREEN SNAPSHOTS # 9, ON THE GO, SWING PARADE OF 1946, HOLLYWOOD PARTY, CAMEL COMEDY CARAVAN (Ed Wynn Show), MEET THE BARON, HEAVENLY DAZE, DISORDER IN THE COURT
- NEW 3 STOOGES Live Action Wrap-Arounds:
Janitors, Barbers, Sunbathers, Campers, Flat Tire, Golfers, Weighing In, Inheritance
The Allen clip is worth the DVD alone - won't get it anywhere else - and the rest is gravy."