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HTF DVD REVIEW: The Three Stooges Collection Vol. 1 (1934-1936) (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)



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#1 of 106 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted October 28 2007 - 11:57 AM

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Studio: Sony/Columbia
Years: 1934-1936
Rated: Not Rated
Length: 340 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Languages: English
Subtitles: None


The Program

Stooges fans, rejoice! After years of haphazard distribution of the The Three Stooges on DVD, Sony is finally releasing The Three Stooges Collection Volume One: 1934-1936, which contains the first short films by the Stooges in chronological order and in black & white only. In addition, the shorts look and sound terrific. As an added bonus, the price is reasonable. The suggested retail price for 19 remastered and restored shorts is $24.96 (I am seeing pre-order street prices as low as $16.99). Compare that to the last Stooges release by Sony, Hapless Half-Wits, which has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and includes only four shorts.

The following shorts are included in this two-disc set. “New to DVD” means a short which has not previously been released by Sony/Columbia on DVD. However, some of those shorts may have appeared on the countless public domain Stooges DVD collections which are available.

Disc One (1934):

Woman Haters
Punch Drunks
Men in Black
Three Little Pigskins


Disc One (1935):

Horses’ Collars (New to DVD)
Restless Knights
Pop Goes the Easel
Uncivil Warriors
(New to DVD)
Pardon My Scotch (New to DVD)
Hoi Polloi
Three Little Bears


Disc Two (1936):

Ants in the Pantry (New to DVD)
Movie Maniacs (New to DVD)
Half-Shot Shooters (New to DVD)
Disorder in the Court
A Pain in the Pullman
(New to DVD)
False Alarms
Whoops, I’m an Indian
Slippery Silks
(New to DVD)

Fans of Lucille Ball will enjoy watching her in a supporting role in Three Little Pigskins. Charlie Chaplin's first wife, Mildred Harris, appears in Movie Maniacs.

Some Stooges trivia:

Pardon My Scotch is the first short to use what became the Stooges’ theme song, “Listen to the Mockingbird.” In the first fourteen shorts, Curly’s name in the opening credits is spelled “Curley.” His name is spelled “Curly” for the first time in the credits to Disorder in the Court. In Three Little Beers the boys work as deliverymen for Panther Brewing Company. When a beverage called “The Three Stooges Beer” went on sale a decade or so back, it was on the “Panther Brewing Co.” label (as far as I can determine the beer is no longer available, but I could be mistaken about that).

Is this the best news that Stooges fans have heard in many years? Why, soitenly!

The Video

These shorts have been wonderfully restored and remastered for this release. One has only to compare the first Stooges short, Woman Haters, with the transfer which was used for the 1999 DVD Curly Classics. The old transfer was made from a ragged print, but the new transfer is virtually pristine. Not only has the print been cleaned up, the contrast is much better and the image is sharper. Apart from some unavoidable moderate grain here and there, the shorts in this collection are nearly spotless. I doubt that they have ever looked better. Whoops, I’m an Indian seems to me to be a bit softer than the others, but it is still in very good shape.

Most of the opening titles are windowboxed, but the body of each short is shown full frame. The titles of the following shorts are not windowboxed: Half-Shot Shooters, A Pain in the Pullman, and Slippery Silks. The titles to the shorts False Alarms and Whoops, I’m an Indian are slightly windowboxed, with slivers of black visible on the top and bottom of my monitor.

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 set. Disc Two contains some promos for other upcoming Sony DVDs, such as Seinfeld: Season Nine and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Other Features

Each DVD offers the option of playing all shorts or selecting individual shorts.

The Packaging

The 19 shorts in this collection are spread over two discs, as noted above. Each disc comes in a slimcase and both discs come in a slipcase. The artwork on the covers of the slimcases is similar to the artwork on the slipcase, except that the slimcases have different thumbnail photographs.

The Final Analysis

I cannot recommend this set more highly. Stooges fans have been clamoring for the chronological release of The Three Stooges shorts for years, and Sony has demonstrated that it has heard our voices. Now it is up to us to encourage Sony to continue on this path by buying The Three Stooges Collection Volume One: 1934-1936. Better yet, buy one for yourself and another for a friend.

For Duty and Humanity!

Equipment used for this review:

Toshiba HD-XA2 DVD player
Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable

Release Date: October 30, 2007
Rich Gallagher

#2 of 106 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted October 28 2007 - 12:03 PM

Great review. Thanks, Rich!

I've got this on pre-order and anxiously wait its arrival. As many others did, I passed over all of Sony's previous misguided attempts to release these shorts and am happy to finally see these done right. It's hard to pass up the $16.99 Amazon price and juding from the high sales rating at that site it looks like fans are supporting this release.

Steve
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#3 of 106 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted October 28 2007 - 12:41 PM

Steve,

You're right. Amazon's price is less than a dollar per short. It's easy to see why it's #33 on Amazon's DVD sales.

You won't be disappointed. I just hope that Sony doesn't take ten years to issue all of the Stooges shorts this way.
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#4 of 106 OFFLINE   jhro

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Posted October 28 2007 - 02:58 PM

Nice review, Richard. Posted Image

My set has been updated to Shipping Soon on Amazon.

#5 of 106 OFFLINE   chas speed

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Posted October 28 2007 - 04:20 PM

I hope Amazon ships mine soon. I really can't wait for this.

#6 of 106 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted October 28 2007 - 04:48 PM

As I remarked in an earlier thread...I can't let my son go off to college next year without being exposed to the Three Stooges. What kind of dad would I be?! Posted Image

Although a casual fan, I am very much looking forward to this set...much in the same way I enjoyed the Popeye set earlier this year.

Thanks for the review, Richard! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#7 of 106 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted October 28 2007 - 10:01 PM

Well, this just sounds excellent! All I can say is, I'm very happy about this release but am really hungry for the later shorts of the 40s and 50s... I hope Sony doesn't pull a fast one and doesn't see this through to the end.

#8 of 106 OFFLINE   DanMel

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Posted October 28 2007 - 11:27 PM

I have this on pre-order as well from Amazon and am looking forward to getting this one and any future releases.

#9 of 106 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted October 29 2007 - 02:13 AM

Why is this release not being marketed in the weekly fliers?

I distinctly remember several of the previous crap releases being highlighted in such fliers. Does Sony just believe that these will sell themselves? I would like to believe this, but at the same time I'm worried because without some sort of advertising, most people won't be aware that Sony is finally doing right by these shorts.

#10 of 106 OFFLINE   Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted October 29 2007 - 02:38 AM

Cant wait for mine to arrive in the mail next week !Just a reminder, anybody buying the set and showing it to someone for the first time, who never have seen the stooges shorts, do not let them watch women haters !!!!!!!! Because I can almost guarantee they wont want to watch anymore.Youre best off to start them with the punch drunks short, all of the shorts here are great .Women haters is totally a very strange stooge short, done entirely in rhyme and musical numbers.Mike Frezon, when showing this to your son, start off with punch drunks.
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#11 of 106 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted October 29 2007 - 04:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Zannikos
Just a reminder, anybody buying the set and showing it to someone for the first time, who never have seen the stooges shorts, do not let them watch women haters !!!!!!!! Because I can almost guarantee they wont want to watch anymore.

You're best off to start them with the punch drunks short, all of the shorts here are great .Women Haters is totally a very strange stooge short, done entirely in rhyme and musical numbers. Mike Frezon, when showing this to your son, start off with punch drunks.

Tony: that sounds like excellent advice. Thanks! I will definitely start a little further in to the canon! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#12 of 106 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted October 29 2007 - 04:42 AM

Nice review, Richard!

I was gonna wait for the eventual complete set, but at these prices. . .
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#13 of 106 OFFLINE   howardWB

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Posted October 29 2007 - 05:54 AM

One bit of disappointing and stupid news in regards to Columbia.... I was just in my local FYE in Manhattan and the old stock DVDs (the one's not remastered such as "Curly's Classics", etc) are now being sold in tins with 3 DVDS each for $26.99. What's the point of this? Why don't they just withdraw the old stock? They are displayed prominently and now will compete with the new remastered 2 DVD set! Now when Columbia claims sales weren't too good on this first volume, they'll know why as they're shooting themselves in the foot with this!

Regards,
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#14 of 106 OFFLINE   David Deeb

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Posted October 29 2007 - 07:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by howardWB
One bit of disappointing and stupid news in regards to Columbia.... I was just in my local FYE in Manhattan and the old stock DVDs (the one's not remastered such as "Curly's Classics", etc) are now being sold in tins with 3 DVDS each for $26.99. What's the point of this? Why don't they just withdraw the old stock? They are displayed prominently and now will compete with the new remastered 2 DVD set! Now when Columbia claims sales weren't too good on this first volume, they'll know why as they're shooting themselves in the foot with this!

I can't wait to get this set tomorrow. Huge fan here. Great review Richard. Thanks.

But I agree w/ you completely. Columbia released over 20 of those hodge-podge collections. The average customer will be confused trying to match which shorts are on which set. The new collection is the only way to go. Sony would be better off to pull all those old sets and donate them to libraries.

#15 of 106 OFFLINE   Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted October 29 2007 - 09:29 AM

Thanks Mike,I speak from experience, Ive probably seen nearly all of the stooge shorts made , and thats the only one that me, and a few other friends find unwatchable .
At last my body is reunited with my soul which was always feminine.

#16 of 106 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted October 29 2007 - 11:20 AM

One amazing thing about the Stooges is that they really hit their stride with just their second short, and never looked back.

"Woman Haters" is very atypical, but of course it has to be included.

The set has moved up two spots, to #31, on Amazon.
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#17 of 106 OFFLINE   Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted October 29 2007 - 11:40 AM

Richard, you hit the nail on the head.They hit their stride on the second short, and everything is good from there out.Personally, the second short punch drunks, happens to be my all time favorite stooge short.
At last my body is reunited with my soul which was always feminine.

#18 of 106 OFFLINE   Bill GrandPre

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Posted October 29 2007 - 01:05 PM

I hope the demand for these continues after the first release and I hope that Sony releases them frequently and steadily.

Going by the 3-year increments this is how it would break down:

37-39: 24 shorts
40-42: 23 shorts
43-45: 21 shorts
46-48: 25 shorts
49-51: 24 shorts
52-54: 22 shorts

55-57: 24 shorts
58&59: 8 shorts

-alternate-

55&56: 16 shorts (end of Shemp era)
57-59: 16 shorts (entire Joe Besser era)

It's actually pretty consistent until those last two years. After this first collection is a 2-disc set I can see them devoting 3 discs to each subsequent 3-year period while releasing 58&59 as a 1-disc release. They could also pad a final release with supplements since they don't seem to be doing that right now. I've also edited my post with another way that might make sense in regards to releasing the final 5 years.

Also, the 19 shorts included in this first release are exactly 10% of the 190 shorts but continuing to release them in 19-short increments would cause problems with using dates as it would obviously cause some years to be interrupted.

In any case, we're dealing with 8 or 9 more releases easy and that could take a long, long time to come out. The price on this collection is really encouraging though. I think that will really help sales which will obviously help ensure future releases.
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#19 of 106 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted October 29 2007 - 03:03 PM

Borders...who is running THIS 30% off One Item Coupon for the next two days...has a list price of $24.99 for the boys. Subtract 30% and this set could be yours for $17.50! Posted Image

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


#20 of 106 OFFLINE   David Deeb

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Posted October 30 2007 - 12:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Frezon
Borders...who is running THIS 30% off One Item Coupon for the next two days...has a list price of $24.99 for the boys. Subtract 30% and this set could be yours for $17.50! Posted Image

Thanks. But it says "valid w/ Rewards membership only". Does this cost to join?

Do we have to sign up for yet another reward program? I am sick and tired off having to have seperate rewards cards for every single store. I hate them.





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