DVD Review HTF Review: The Three Stooges Hapless Half-Wits

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Richard Gallagher, Feb 15, 2007.

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  1. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    [​IMG]

    The Three Stooges: Hapless Half-Wits




    Studio: Sony/Columbia
    Years: 1941, 1945, 1947, 1949
    Rated: Not Rated
    Length: 137 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    Languages: English
    Subtitles: None



    The Program

    Sony continues its policy of releasing Three Stooges shorts in both black & white and colorized versions, four shorts per DVD. It’s bad enough that we get only four shorts, but two of them have previously been released on DVD, meaning that fans who have purchased the earlier DVD collections will be paying full price for just two new shorts. The one saving grace is that these prints are cleaner than the ones which were released previously.

    The program includes the following titles:

    Beer Barrel Polecats (1945)

    This one features Moe, Larry and Curly. The Stooges land in jail after Curly sells some home-brewed beer to a cop. Many fans consider this to be one of the Stooges’ weaker efforts.

    I’ll Never Heil Again (1941)

    This is a follow-up to You Nazty Spy. Moe plays “Hailstone,” the dictator of Moronica; Larry is Hailstone’s Minister of Propaganda; and Curly is “Field Marshal Herring.” Moe does a fine job of lampooning Hitler.

    Dopey Dicks (1949)

    Shemp joins Moe and Larry in this short. The Stooges play movers who are carrying furniture into the office of private eye “Sam Shovel.” They are mistaken for private eyes by a dame in distress, and mayhem ensues. The story involves a mad scientist who wants to perform a head transplant. This short previously appeared on The Three Stooges: Merry Mavericks.

    Brideless Groom (1947)

    Shemp plays a voice teacher who stands to inherit $500,000, but to receive the money he has to get married by 6:00 p.m. Suddenly, every woman who has turned him down in the past now finds him irresistible. This short previously appeared on The Three Stooges: Dizzy Doctors.

    The Video

    The video quality of all four shorts is excellent. I went back and checked the earlier versions of Dopey Dicks and Brideless Groom. Both are pretty good, but they show some minor speckling and stray marks here and there. The transfers have been completely cleaned up for this release. Apart from some moderate grain, they are spotless. I doubt that these four shorts have ever looked better.

    I am not a fan of colorization, but if you like it you will be pleased by the colorized versions. The colors actually look fairly natural to me. The unnatural part is seeing the Stooges in color in the first place.

    The Audio

    The mono soundtracks are in fine shape. These shorts were made more than a half-century ago, but they are pretty much free of noise, excessive hiss, etc. The dialogue is always intelligible, and in the end that is what really counts.

    The Supplements

    There are no supplements on this DVD.

    Other Features

    The DVD’s menu offers the choice of playing all four shorts in color, all four shorts in black & white, or selecting individual shorts in either color or black & white. Viewers can toggle back and forth between the colorized versions and the black & white versions by pressing the Angle button on your remote.

    The Final Analysis

    What can I say? If you are a Stooges completist, you will want this DVD even though you most likely already have Dopey Dicks and Brideless Groom. Personally, I would like to see Sony go back to issuing six black & white shorts per DVD rather than just four shorts in both black & white and color, but this appears to be the way Sony is determined to go.

    As noted above, the one saving grace is that the new transfers of Dopey Dicks and Brideless Groom are noticeably improved over the older transfers. Still, why Sony continues to recycle Stooges titles when there are still at least 50 Stooges shorts which have yet to be released on DVD is a mystery. Indeed, there are still four Stooges shorts which were released on laserdisc more than a decade ago which have not yet made it to DVD. What is Sony waiting for?

    Equipment used for this review:

    Cambridge Audio DVD-89 DVD player
    Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
    Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
    BIC Acoustech speakers
    Interconnects: Monster Cable

    Release Date: February 20, 2007
     
  2. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I won't be buying this piece of junk, just like I never bought the other colorized bastardizations or "themed collections". No offense intended to you, Richard, but I wish this release didn't even get the time of day here.

    My money's still waiting here in my pocket for the taking IF Sony/Columbia decides to PROPERLY release ALL Of the shorts in set collections, including Shemp and Joe Besser. In the meantime, I will just sit by and continue to watch my various "unofficial" versions I have of all the Stooges' work. It's all out there, even if Sony/Columbia's not interested.
     
  3. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    No offense taken. I understand your point of view.

    I just did a quick count and it appears to me that fewer than half of the Stooges' shorts have made it to DVD.
     
  4. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    There were those rumors about chronological sets coming out, starting this year. I guess they were just rumors, or else there'd be some announcement from Sony by now.
     
  5. Allen>B

    Allen>B Agent

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    I'm with you on this.


    It seems they just want me to keep my money in my pocket. And so it will stay.


    Too bad these companies just don't get how to treat the fans of their content : (
     
  6. Robbie^Blackmon

    Robbie^Blackmon Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank heavens for DVD-r and Stooge-a-Palooza!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    I've been against these stupid Sony releases for years now, but they just keep coming. Please don't buy them.

    They have no special features. The running time is only about 65 minutes, of which half of that has already been released on another DVD! And you'll pay almost as much as an entire season of classic sitcoms.

    A fantastic comedy team treated to terrible DVD presentation. Yuch. Skip it.

    We want a COMPLETE SERIES in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    When I was doing the Sony reviews last year, I was officially told by the Sony people that complete chronological Stooges sets would be coming eventually. Richard, I recommend you ask them about it. Maybe they'll have something more concrete.
     
  9. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Only one thing bugs me with that promise. It's the word "eventually".
     
  10. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    I'll e-mail them and see what they have to say.
     
  11. Brent S

    Brent S Second Unit

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    Chronological box sets are currently in production. The release date, and how they will be packaged/marketed (a comprehensive set, two-years-at at time, something else?) is still pending a studio announcement.

    A production firm in Sherman Oaks is working on bonus featurettes for the DVD sets. Last week, some members of the Fan Club and 11 of the Stooges' supporting actresses were interviewed for the discs.
     
  12. CaseyL

    CaseyL Supporting Actor

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    I see no reason why the stooges shorts can't be released on one collection. If you can pump out a TV series of 24 hour-long episodes in one set, there's no reason we can't get all the stooges on one set. If the studio woudn't waste time on "Colorizations" and other nonsense, It'd be worth it. I'd pay for a Stooges set, but not this one-at-a-time crap.
     
  13. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    That would be nice, and I would buy it, but I can understand how it might be difficult to market because of the price.

    If they can't do that, then they should have 4 sets: 1) the Curly shorts 2) the Shemp shorts & 1 feature 3) the Joe Besser shorts 4) all the Curly Joe features.
     
  14. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I'd prefer a 30s set, 40s set, 50s set, and then a Features set.
     
  15. CameronMcC

    CameronMcC Second Unit

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    thats great to hear. Is there a stooge site that is covering this info?
     
  16. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    This is something interesting I found out, but no one else cares. I'll say it anyway.

    It was said the Stooges made eight shorts a year for Columbia. But looking at the calendar years, it seems some years they made seven, some years eight and some years nine.

    Then one day I read that back in the old days, movie seasons ran from Aug. 1-July 31. And, sure enough, when you look at the Stooges release dates on an Aug-Jul basis, it always comes out to eight a year. (Except near the end.)

    So, since I'm 99.999999% sure that Sony's idea of Chronological Sets will be on the "calendar year" system, it may not come out to an even 16 each time (if they do two years per set.) However, if they go by Aug-Jul, it will. But they won't. So never mind.

    I'd like all 190 shorts to come out at once. That way we won't have to keep worrying about when the next set will come out -- or worry if they'll continue with the Shemps when they find out they don't sell as well as the Curlies -- or worry if they'll even bother with the Bessers.

    Unless I'm terribly mistaken, I think the shorts ranged from 16-18 minutes. Using a 17 minute average, we could say that the running time of three Stooges shorts equals about two episodes of a sitcom. So 190 shorts is the same as about 127 sitcom episodes. For a sitcom, that comes to four or five seasons. If a Season Set retails for $30, the Complete Stooges might retail for $130 or so. So I can't see Sony doing all of them at once -- unless they offer a really bargain price. But since so far the Stooges have been outrageously OVERpriced, I don't see why they'd suddenly start giving us bargains on them.
     
  17. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I was told that the sets would cover 2 years each. Thanks for checking that out, Joe. Sounds like they'll be 2-3 disc sets.

    Brent, thanks for that tidbit about the special features! Great to hear that wheels are turning.
     
  18. Richard Gallagher

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    Is there a reliable source for a list of all of the Stooges shorts?

    I have 139 of them in one format or another.
     
  19. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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  20. Brent S

    Brent S Second Unit

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    ThreeStooges.net has the most complete filmography available.

    - The 190 Columbia short subjects

    - 261 additional credits (shorts, features and starring television pilots/series) for Ted Healy & His Stooges, The Three Stooges, and the solo careers of Healy and each of the "six" Three Stooges

    All 451 are presented with plot, cast and crew information. Plus...


    - 157 television guest appearances; a work-in-process *

    * Example: There is currently one entry for THE JOEY BISHOP SHOW. Joe Besser costarred in 97 episodes, and each will eventually have its own entry with plot and cast information.
     

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