Years: 1941, 1945, 1947, 1949
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 137 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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 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 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.
There are no supplements on this DVD.
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