A must for any DVD player owning Three Stooges Fan
JAMES HERMRECK | Temecula, CA USA | 06/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have a DVD player and are a stooges fan, you must buy this. It has 7 classic episodes and all are in great quality."
Excellent collection of Stooge shorts
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 06/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All the World's a Stooge is an excellent DVD that contains several classic shorts. The DVD contains seven shorts, several of which are true classics. "Grips, Grunts, and Groans" follows the Stooges as they must replace a drunken wrestler, and while funny, not a great short. "All the World's a Stooge" is about a husband who adopts the Stooges to convince his wife not to adopt other children. "Three Dumb Clucks" has the Stooges trying to break up the engagement of their father which contains some very funny shots of Curly in a double role. "Three Little Pirates" has the classic "maha, aha" routine but the condition of the film is pretty bad. "Uncivil War Birds" has Moe and Larry joining the Union and Curly joining the Confederacy which is my favorite short on the DVD. The Three Stooges have a great rendition of "Dixie" in the short that is truly funny. "Back to the Woods" has the Stooges as prisoners sent to the colonies to help fight the Indians containing several good routines. "Violent is the Word for Curly" contains the famous Alphabet Song as well as "Super Service. This is a very good DVD that looks very good with the exception of "Three Little Pirates." A must have for Three Stooges fans!"
Laughter, the best medicine, and what better doctors
Anthony Paul | 09/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For us Three Stooges' fans, this newest rerelease on DVD is a welcome and overdue treat. The quality is very good on most and always satisfactory. The 7 selections presented here are highly enjoyable, some surprising choices, and all within the boys' best years. It is interesting to note that Curly was noticably ill and a tad sluggish during the filming of "Three Little Pirates" yet he still gives a highly enjoyable performance. It is oft regarded as his last great performance with the trio, as he suffered a stroke shortly after. If you are a Stooges' fan, you don't even need to read anyone's review to convince you...I'm sure you have already ordered this DVD !!!"
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 08/13/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I would easily have rated this with 4 stars instead of 3 had the A/V quality been up to snuff. At first glance it looks like Columbia were feeling unusually generous when they put a record 7 shorts on this disc, but that generosity didn't extend into assembling the best possible prints. I've seen better prints of these shorts, so it's not like these were the only surviving prints around and only so much could be done given their age. All 190 Stooge shorts have been on safety stock since 1974, so there's no excuse for using such shoddy prints and for a DVD to look worse than a VHS. It's true that one can overlook lesser quality prints to a point when the films themselves are great, but again, we're not talking about films from 90 years ago that were on the brink of disintegration when they were restored. Most films from the Thirties and Forties aren't in this bad of a condition!
The shorts themselves:
'Back to the Woods' (1937) easily gets my vote for one of the worst shorts of the Curly era, right down there with the likes of 'Restless Knights' and 'Beer Barrel Polecats.' Man, this short is DULL. It isn't helped by the poor picture quality and the crackling sound in the background, kind of like the surface noise on a worn vinyl record. The pace is slow, there's not a lot of funny stuff, there's no real spark to it, it's not memorable, the musical number goes on way too long, and to top it all off there's some rather blatantly racist "humor" re the Native Americans. Knowing that that's just how they were portrayed and thought of in those days, untruthful as such a depiction was, doesn't make it any easier to watch. Ethnic humor is one thing, but this goes beyond that into racist "humor."
'Grips, Grunts, and Groans' (1937) also suffers from bad A/V quality. I also find this short to be massively overrated and can't fathom why a lot of fans rate this short very highly. To me, it's just average. There were some entertaining moments, but nothing that I found fall-down funny, classic, or memorable. They also did better shorts featuring the motif of Curly going bonkers whenever he hears, sees, or smells something, like 'Tassels in the Air' and 'Punch Drunks.' Although I did like how the opening scene reflected the Depression era, and I thought it was really funny when they were running away from the detectives and tripped over the baby carriage, sending it falling to the ground and making the baby tumble out. (Some fans find this scene more disturbing than funny, but it's not like that was an actual baby in there, and it's not like there aren't far more shocking gags and moments of dark humor in today's films.)
'All the World's a Stooge' (1941) is a bit above average. The opening scene in the dentist's office is great, and so is the premise of the Stooges pretending to be refugee children, but the scenes of them as children seem more like brief sketches instead of being more cohesive and flowing one into the other. This could have had the potential to have been a great short instead of merely a bit above average. And once again the image quality isn't great, though at least the sound here is good.
'3 Dumb Clucks' (1937) is excellent. Although we do see some bad image quality, overall the print is one of the nicest here. The premise is also interesting, and Curly's dual roles come off more naturally than Shemp's dual roles in the remake, 'Up in Daisy's Penthouse' (1953). In the remake, the camera transitions between the two characters just look fake and unconvincing. I also liked the scene in the hat shop, which was based on the scene in the 1928 Buster Keaton film 'Steamboat Bill, Jr.' Easily one of their best shorts of 1937.
'Violent is the Word for Curly' (1938) is a classic. It was directed by the great Charley Chase, and is widely regarded as one of the best shorts he directed for them. A lot of fans don't really care for the Chase-directed shorts because he tended to emphasise the plot over the slapstick violence, but here all of the elements are great. Though it does sort of have the feel of being a series of sketches instead of one coherently flowing plot, all of the scenes are excellent, with nothing dull or wasted. It also contains the famous "Swingin' the Alphabet" number. Some fans don't like when they sing, but it's not as though they broke into song in every other short, and they did have very nice singing voices.
'Three Little Pirates' (1946) is also a classic, but unfortunately suffers from the worst image quality here by far. Partway through the film, a bunch of annoying distracting white lines appear in the lefthand corner of the screen and just won't go away. It's totally inexcusable, particularly when we've all seen this short in MUCH better condition on television and VHS. This was also Curly's last great performance, even though he does still look and sound very different from the healthy feisty guy in the earlier shorts on this disc. He even has the strength left to do some of his signature moves. I've heard it suggested that perhaps the reason why this short and 'Micro-Phonies' are generally regarded as the best ones in his sick period are because for most of them, he was in heavy costume and playing the part of other characters instead of playing himself, so that his illness wasn't as noticeable as it was in a short the likes of 'Three Loan Wolves' or 'Monkey Businessmen.' This is a great short overall, and one of their classics from this era.
'Uncivil War Birds' (1946) is not a classic by any stretch of the imagination. It's just as dull and unfunny as 'Back to the Woods,' and I'm baffled as to why this short was included instead of the FAR superior 'Uncivil Warriors' (1935). This short is built around one running gag, which gets old quickly. At least some of their other shorts with similarly thin plots made up for it with great slapstick and memorable moments. It's also very slow-paced, though for being from Curly's sick period, he doesn't look or act as ill as he does in other shorts from this era. He doesn't get too many lines, though he does have the energy left to still do some of his signature moves, some of them for the very last time. The only really entertaining part for me was the scene of the boys singing in blackface.
Overall, the films on this disc (three great ones, one a bit above average, one kind of mediocre, and two bombs) would have ordinarily led me to assign it a 4-star rating, but given the atrocious A/V quality on some of these shorts, I just have to take the rating down another star. Columbia easily stands to make a fortune by remastering and releasing these shorts properly, so it's baffling as to why they're treating them like garbage and not using the best prints possible."
A GREAT COLLECTION OF CURLY SHORTS
Tim Janson | Michigan | 01/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is loaded with seven Stooges shorts...all of them with Curly and contains some genuine Stooges classics.
"Grips, Grunts & Groans" the Stooges become friends of pro wrestler Bustoff. Bustoff is set to fight for the title but gets drunk and then knocked out by Barbells. Curly had to impersonate him in the match.
"All the World's a Stooge" 1941 - The stooges are window washers who lose their jobs after Moe impersonates the dentist in whose office they were cleaning. On the run, they are hired by a millionaire to pose as children.
"3 Dumb Clucks" 1937 - The stooges escape from jail when they learn their father, who has just become rich, is planning to leave their mother and marry a young girl. Curly is mistaken for the stooges father (he plays both parts) and marries the girl instead.
"Three Little Pirates" 1946. The Best Curly short after 1945. The Stooges are ditched on Dead Man's Island. To escape from the governor, they disguise Curly as a Maharaja and win permission to journey to their own country to fetch presents. Contains the famous "Maha" "aha" routine of Stooges Gibberish. Classic!
"Uncivil Warbirds" 1946 - The stooges are civil war soldiers who are constantly changing uniforms to avoid the opposing armies. Eventually they decide to be loyal to the south, but remain disguised as Union soldiers. Curly is detected as a spy, but Moe and Larry prevent his execution. The least funny of all thier Civil War shorts.
"Back to the Woods" 1937 - Set in colonial times, the stooges are convicted criminals who are banished from England to the American colonies. When they arrive, they find that the colonists are starving because the local Indians won't let them on their hunting grounds. The stooges go hunting any, and after a wild chase, are captured by the Indians.
"Violent Is the Word for Curly" (1938)- The stooges are left in charge of a gas station and manage to blow up the car of their first customers, three famous European professors. The stooges steal some of the academics' clothes and wind up at "Mildew", a women's college where the three professors are expected. Mistaken as the real thing, the boys take their place on the faculty. Contains the famous "Alphabet" song. A true Gem!
This is a great collection! Good transfer and sound and seven strong shorts. "