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HTF DVD REVIEW: The Three Stooges Collection Vol. 6: 1949-1951



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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted June 15 2009 - 03:47 PM

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Studio: Sony/Columbia

Years: 1949-1951

Rated: Not Rated

Length: 390 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Languages: English

Subtitles: None


The Program

Fans who worried that Sony might lose interest in Three Stooges shorts after the Curly era ended – or who were concerned that Sony might not give the Shemp-era shorts the same restoration efforts – can rest easy. This latest release, which covers the years 1949-1951 (and therefore includes no appearances by Curly), looks and sounds wonderful and will leave Stooges aficionados with nothing to complain about.

Shemp had left The Three Stooges in 1930 and carved out an impressive career in Hollywood as a second banana to the likes of W.C. Fields and Abbott & Costello. After Curly suffered a stroke on the final day of filming on HALF-WIT’S HOLIDAY, Shemp came back to fill in for Curly until his brother recovered. Sadly, Curly was never himself again and made only a brief non-speaking cameo appearance in HOLD THAT LION before dying at the age of 48 in 1952. Shemp was more like Moe than Curly, both in physical appearance and in comic abilities. Wisely, he merely replaced Curly and did not try to imitate him. Shemp was the oldest of the Howard brothers, so it is amusing to see Moe repeatedly refer to Shemp as “kid” in these shorts.

This collection includes the following 24 shorts:

Disc One

THE GHOST TALKS
WHO DONE IT?
HOKUS POKUS
FUELIN’ AROUND
MALICE IN THE PALACE
VAGABOND LOAFERS
DUNKED IN THE DEEP
PUNCHY COWPUNCHERS
HUGS AND MUGS
DOPEY DICKS
LOVE AT FIRST BITE
SELF MADE MAIDS

Disc Two

THREE HAMS ON RYE
STUDIO STOOPS
SLAPHAPPY SLEUTHS
A SNITCH IN TIME
THREE ARABIAN NUTS
BABY SITTERS JITTERS
DON’T THROW AWAY THAT KNIFE
SCRAMBLED BRAINS
MERRY MAVERICKS
THE TOOTH WILL OUT
HULA-LA-LA
PEST MAN WINS

Fans of Christine McIntyre, the Stooges’ favorite female foil, will be happy to see that she appears in nine of these shorts. Jock Mahoney, who later went on to star in the television westerns THE RANGE RIDER and YANCY DERRINGER, appears as “Jacques O’Mahoney” in PUNCHY COWPUNCHERS. Fans of B-films of the fifties will spot the character actors Gene Roth and Myron Healey in this collection.

If there were any doubts that the Shemp shorts would sell well, this new collection is already ranked #49 in DVD sales on amazon.com. It now seems to be a near-certainty that Sony will release every Three Stooges short on DVD, and it has become clear that all of them are in line for first-class restoration.

The Video

The shorts in this collection have been meticulously restored and look great. There is some softness here and there (particularly in close-ups, which I have noted in previous volumes), but it is apparent that the softness is present in the original film elements. For the most part, it is difficult to believe that these shorts could have looked any better when they were first released in theaters 60 years ago. The images are free of dirt and damage, contrasts are solid, and all of the shorts are pleasingly film-like.

The Audio

The English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks obviously offer nothing which will tax anyone’s sound system, but the mono sound is clear, intelligible, and devoid of annoying hiss and distortion. Every word of dialogue is clear and intelligible.

The Supplements

As with the prior five volumes, there are no supplements on this set.

Other Features

Each disc includes the option of playing all shorts or selecting individual shorts.

The Packaging

The 24 shorts in this collection are spread over two discs, each with its own slimcase. The two slimcases are held 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 back of each slimcase includes a brief summary for each short.

The Final Analysis

I cannot recommend this set more highly. Three Stooges fans continue to snap up these sets as fast as Sony can produce them, and hopefully Volume Six will be no exception. Those of you who have not yet taken the Stooges plunge may want to take note of the fact that Amazon is bundling all six volumes for $90.00.

Once again, I urge you – buy one set for yourself and another for a friend. For Duty and Humanity!

Equipment used for this review:

Toshiba HD-XA-2 DVD player
Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable

Release Date: June 16, 2009
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#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Ed Moroughan

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Posted June 15 2009 - 04:28 PM

Thanks Richard, great review. Anxiously awaiting this and Transformers for some interesting and weird combo viewing this week. LOL

#3 of 26 OFFLINE   Harpozep

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Posted June 15 2009 - 04:43 PM

WOW. Sony is on schedule and staying consistent in their dealings with these gems. So good to see this.
Now when will they be available in Blu Ray??
Oh, I'm buying this set any way though, you betchya!
Best,
Robert

#4 of 26 OFFLINE   sestamuch

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Posted June 15 2009 - 07:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Moroughan
Thanks Richard, great review. Anxiously awaiting this and Transformers for some interesting and weird combo viewing this week. LOL

Me too, except it won't be Transformers. Thanks Richard!

#5 of 26 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted June 16 2009 - 02:15 AM

I will be picking this collection up soon.

Is anyone concerned about the first six volumes being packaged together by Amazon.com at this point? I'm curious why this decision is being made now, as opposed to when future (and final) volumes are released. I hope it has nothing to do with the possibility that collections succeeding Vol. 6 are not being considered for release. Perhaps it's just Amazon looking to market their products a certain way for consumers?

#6 of 26 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted June 16 2009 - 02:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ockeghem
Is anyone concerned about the first six volumes being packaged together by Amazon.com at this point? I'm curious why this decision is being made now, as opposed to when future (and final) volumes are released. I hope it has nothing to do with the possibility that collections succeeding Vol. 6 are not being considered for release. Perhaps it's just Amazon looking to market their products a certain way for consumers?

They often do this with TV sets, even if there are only a few seasons left. I wouldn't read anything into it.

#7 of 26 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted June 16 2009 - 04:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Martin
The often do this with TV sets, even if there are only a few seasons left. I wouldn't read anything into it.
Ditto.

#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted June 16 2009 - 09:22 AM

Well, the next volume will be the real test. I'm anxious to get the entire series and actually at this point I am more thrilled with the prospect of getting all the 1950s Shemps and Joe Bessers most of all... but I hope THIS Vol. 6 Shemp-only release doesn't do too badly without Curly in it. From here on it'll be a lot of familiar stock footage shorts, so hopefully the reports of Sony being committed to seeing this through right to the end is true.

#9 of 26 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted June 16 2009 - 09:26 AM

it's a nice one click way to get everything so far for someone who didn't know these were already out.
come see the reviews at
http://thedvdlounge.com/

and the Seinfeld Tour Bus

#10 of 26 OFFLINE   xraffle

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Posted June 16 2009 - 12:59 PM

Nice review. Looking forward to receiving my set.

#11 of 26 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted June 16 2009 - 04:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Karlosi
Well, the next volume will be the real test. I'm anxious to get the entire series and actually at this point I am more thrilled with the prospect of getting all the 1950s Shemps and Joe Bessers most of all... but I hope THIS Vol. 6 Shemp-only release doesn't do too badly without Curly in it. From here on it'll be a lot of familiar stock footage shorts, so hopefully the reports of Sony being committed to seeing this through right to the end is true.

If Amazon is any guide, a Vol. 7 looks like a no-brainer. Vol. 6 had jumped to #28 in sales, and even the 6-volume bundle has cracked to Top 1000.
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#12 of 26 OFFLINE   David Deeb

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Posted June 17 2009 - 12:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gallagher
If Amazon is any guide, a Vol. 7 looks like a no-brainer. Vol. 6 had jumped to #28 in sales, and even the 6-volume bundle has cracked to Top 1000.

I picked mine up yesterday & was told I got their last copy. Said he always sells out on the first day of release of these. I always said the Stooges have sold well for Sony. Before this series, they released about 20 individual DVDs.

Thanks for the review. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the Shemps and the Joes. Shemp is truly a talented comedian. As were Larry and Moe. Both compositions of the Stooges (with Curly and with Shemp) are equally as hilarious.

I'm hopeful Sony releases a final collection (or two) of both the Curly Joe features and a collection of bonus videos, TV appearances, and other films.

#13 of 26 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted June 17 2009 - 02:31 AM

The sales numbers are indeed good news. My local Best Buy is also out of copies. I guess we should here the date of Volume Seven shortly.
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#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted June 17 2009 - 03:20 AM

Another fabulous release from Sony in the THREE STOOGES COLLECTION series. I picked mine up at Best Buy - it looked like they'd already sold a few and I was among the first in the store at the 10:00 AM opening!

Again, the video quality is outstanding for these shorts, continuing the quality job that Sony has done with these.

Thanks for the great review - and let's keep it going - we're almost there!

Harry
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#15 of 26 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted June 17 2009 - 04:35 AM

I've been watching these shorts with such admiration (not only for the team, but the prints). There are a fair number I haven't seen for over thirty years. And it's great to see a short, knowing that I have never seen it look this good before.

We watch two or three shorts right before we put on a full-length feature film on most weekends. It's a great way to get the television evening rolling. And our four-year old instantly recognizes from the opening music (and accompanying visuals) whether this is a Curly or a Shemp short. Posted Image

#16 of 26 OFFLINE   ahollis

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Posted June 17 2009 - 04:41 AM

Any speculation out there that Sony will include a 3D version of "Spooks" and "Pardon My Backfire" in the next release. It would a bonus bump for the series since so many of us are concerned the sales might trail off for the remaining volumes.

I am completely enjoying Volume 6 and some of the shorts I have not seen in years and boy are the still funny and the transfers are good. Good job and thanks, Sony.
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#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted June 17 2009 - 01:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ockeghem
There are a fair number I haven't seen for over thirty years. And it's great to see a short, knowing that I have never seen it look this good before.

We watch two or three shorts right before we put on a full-length feature film on most weekends. It's a great way to get the television evening rolling. And our four-year old instantly recognizes from the opening music (and accompanying visuals) whether this is a Curly or a Shemp short. Posted Image

That's a good point. As we've moved into the Shemp era, we're seeing more shorts which haven't been released on DVD before.

Good to see that you're indoctrinating your four-year old into the Stooges!
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#18 of 26 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted June 17 2009 - 03:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gallagher
That's a good point. As we've moved into the Shemp era, we're seeing more shorts which haven't been released on DVD before.

Good to see that you're indoctrinating your four-year old into the Stooges!
Richard,

Agreed. Posted Image

As we move through Vol. 5, our older children are becoming more aware of just how talented (and uniquely funny) Shemp is. They've even asked to watch a Shemp or two along with the Curly shorts, which is nice. Posted Image

#19 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Y

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Posted June 20 2009 - 12:34 AM

Just picked this up a couple days ago -- I forgot it was coming out.

I don't have much to say about the shorts, the restoration etc. Great job as usual. It's been nice watching some of the shorts in this set again. Several are old favorites. Looking forward to the next set -- I indeed wonder if they'll splurge and give us "Spooks" and "Pardon My Backfire" in 3-D. That would be cool -- especially since both are, shall I say, "available" "out there" -- it would be great to have them "officially."

I know the shorts start to get really hit-or-miss around this point, especially with all the remakes, but I like some of the early 50s shorts and have always had a fondness for their "marital" shorts -- "Corny Casanovas," "He Cooked His Goose," etc. Some of the shorts from this era are really "outside the box" (eg "Cuckoo On A Choo Choo") and while a lot of people have criticized them for it, I think it's refreshing to see them do something a little different once in a while.

Just a trivial observation: I noticed that on the Vol. 6 set, all the shorts which begin with the silent Columbia logo have the name "The Three Stooges" written in cursive, but if "The Three Stooges" is in block letters, then there is no Columbia logo. What does it all mean? Is it a conspiracy?

(I don't know if there's any rhyme or reason to it at all, but I kind of like having that on some of the shorts, even though by all accounts, the post-1939 shorts originally didn't have a Columbia logo at the beginning in the first place. A friend tells me he saw some 1950s shorts in a theatre years ago, from original release prints, and they had no opening logo, and even had the academy leader in front of a couple of them. The logo is kind of a holdover from the TV prints, which originally had a "Screen Gems" intro, later replaced by a Columbia one.)

#20 of 26 OFFLINE   Traveling Matt

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Posted June 20 2009 - 02:13 PM

Great to hear Sony is keeping up the good work!

Any concern about purchasing the sets individually should definitely not be with Amazon, but rather the studio. Once the series is finished, they'll likely want to sweeten the inevitable complete set with extras.





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