DVD REVIEW: THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION Vols 1-3
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
These three double DVD sets feature no less than 66 digitally remastered short films made by The Three Stooges between 1934 and 1942.
Initially signed by Columbia Pictures for one short alone, 1934’s Woman Hater was not a success, done entirely in rhyme and seems clumsy now in hindsight. Consider it a pilot episode for one of the longest-running series ever, however, and it makes a lot more sense, with the trio’s violent slapstick present in formative style.
Moe Howard always played the grumpy boss of the group, with Larry Fine the middleman and Curly Howard the brunt of Moe’s abuse for the most part.
Whilst dated in many respects – often women are treated only as objects of fancy, and coloured people in servant roles – the comedy here is undeniably universal and influential.
Look beyond the eye poking, hollow head thumping, face slapping and nyuck-nyuck-nyucking though, and you‘ll find a series of satirical and intelligent farces. 1940’s You Nazty Spy! features Moe as an Adolf Hitler-alike character – the first Hollywood film to satirise, released a full nine months before Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator – and at a time when America remained neutral in World War II.
The Three Stooges may be little more than a cult act, or remembered as an ideal rather than by individual episodes today, but their ground-breaking comedy was ground zero for the schtick of leagues of more modern comedy acts.
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