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Three Stooges Collection 4: 1943-1945 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Three Stooges ~ Vol. 4-Collection 1943-45

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Amazon.com: 120 reviews
159 of 164 people found the following review helpful
Completing Curly's best films (yes there are still more to come) 30 July 2008
By Paul J. Mular - Published on Amazon.com
This set completes the better Curly shorts, towards the end of this set he started suffering mini-strokes and the effects show on screen. But for the most part, Curly is still full of energy!

The 21 shorts are:

1943
They Stooge to Conga (wartime. Moe disguises as Hitler!)
Dizzy Detectives
Spook Louder
Back From The Front (wartime)
Three Little Twerps
Higher Than A Kite (wartime)
I Can Hardly Wait (one of the weaker ones, Curly has a bad tooth)
Dizzy Pilots (wartime)
Phony Express
A Gem Of A Jam

1944
Crash Goes The Hash
Busy Buddies
The Yoke's on Me (wartime stereotypes)
Idle Roomers
Gents Without Cents (features "Niagara Falls" routine)
No Dough Boys (wartime)

1945
Three Pests In A Mess (nice cemetery comedy for Halloween)
Booby Dupes (wartime joke at the end of this non-wartime comedy. Stooges go fishing.)
Idiots Deluxe (first evidence of Curly's mini-strokes & 1st with black title-card)
If a Body Meets a Body
Micro-Phonies (still a classic, even with the mini-stroke)

--A word about Curly's decline:
Curly would go on to film 10 more shorts in the next year, but none of them equaled the quality of these.
Even the last three shorts of this set show the signs of health problems.
In IDIOTS DELUXE the failing health starts to show in Curly's face, but his voice is still stong & energetic.
IF A BODY MEETS A BODY shows the first full signs of a stroke. Not only has Curly's face changed, but his voice has now dropped & speach patterns become more labored. His energy levels have dropped noticably (a body double is used near the end).
MICROPHONIES gives hope for a recovery. Curly still lacks his old energy but he seems enthused and energized with the script. However his voice & face remain the same.
The real devastations will show up in the next set as Curly is unable to finish 1946'S BEER BARREL POLECATS, leaving only half a short filmed and forcing the director to pad out the film with 8 minutes of stock footage from earlier films. I don't know if this health-related sortcut gave Columbia the idea to save money on future Shemp Shorts by using large segments of stock footage, but it is the start of a bad trend at Columbia Short Subjects Department. The future arrival of Shemp forced Columbia to stop this for a while as Curly footage could not fit well in a Shemp film.
Well, more on this when volume 5 comes out.

***STOOGES V.S. STOOGE***
One problem I have with some of the last comedies in this set is the scripts putting stooge against stooge, breaking up the team.
In IDIOTS DELUXE Larry & Curly take Moe to court for beating them up. The short then goes into the story of why Moe did this. The story itself is top form Stooge comedy. I can just imagine the brainstorming session in the story room: "Hey what if the boys get tired of Moe hitting them and take him to court! That would be a new twist."
IF A BODY MEETS A BODY starts on an off note with Larry & Moe getting tired of Curly's foolishness and telling him to leave. A sobbing Curly packs to go when Larry & Moe see a newspaper article announcing the search for a missing heir to a fortune: Curly Q. Link. Suddenly Moe & Larry want Curly to be their friend again & appologize.
I always thought of the Stooges as tight friends, through slap & eye poke. Basically they are one being to me, not three individuals. It is a down note for me to see them fighting against each other, even if it is a story plot device.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Mixed Nuts In A Mixed Bag 29 Sept. 2008
By stooged and confused - Published on Amazon.com
THIS IS A FULLY VIEWED REVIEW OF AN ADVANCED COPY FROM SONY PICTURES RECEIVED ON 9/25/08.

A mere five weeks since Sony's third chronological compilation
of Three Stooges shorts dropped, along comes Volume 4. This
set showcases all 21 two reelers from the years 1943-1945.

Although it's not essential to view these shorts in chronological
order, it does help to see how the Stooges' pacing advanced. Their
earlier shorts had a slower pace to them. By this volume,
their manic style of slapstick was at its most feverish pace. And
by viewing them in release order on this set, it is very easy to see the
decline in Curly Howard's health. When viewing the shorts released in
1945, it is clear that Curly's performance has been altered noticeably by
the time "Booby Dupes" is screened.

The shorts on this set have one distinctive theme: they are more
cartoonish than ever before. The plots, such as they are, become
more transparent than the bald spot on Larry's head. With the lone
exception of the true classic "Micro Phonies", story and plot really take
a back seat during these years. Many feel that director Del Lord, who
is all over this set, lost his way during this period.

Overall, the restoration is on par with the previous three volumes. With the exception
of "Crash Goes The Hash" (with inferior audio) and "Idiots Deluxe" (which is riddled
with blemishes), the prints look and sound amazing. There are the usual soft spots
in some shorts (most noticeably in "No Dough Boys"), but other than that, they look
brand new.

Volume 4 finishes up the war years and has some of the most violent
and un PC Stoogery to be found in their stellar career.

"They Stooge To Conga" (***) contains the wince inducing "spike" scene.
Moe really gets it in this one. In fact, he gets it in the eye, head and ear.
The Stooges are repairmen and stumble upon Nazi spies when attempting
to fix a doorbell, destroying the house instead.
CLASSIC LINE: Nazi Spy: "FBI, huh?" Curly: "No, I B Curly."
FUN FACT: Watch for a very young Lloyd Bridges (who speaks five words).

"Dizzy Detectives" (***) finds the Boys as cops tracking down an ape trained
to rob from stores. Yes, you read that correctly. As silly as it may sound, the
gags are aplenty with the great guillotine scene. I love Moe's reaction when he
thinks Curly has been axed!
CLASSIC LINE: Curly: "I didn't see her, but I could swear--" Moe: "That's a
bad habit."
Watch for a small recycling job from an earlier short "Pardon My Scotch."

"Spook Louder" (***) is as close to a live action Looney Tunes as you're
likely to find. The Stooges are "master salesmen" who wind up guarding
an inventor's house so enemy spies won't steal his secrets. Weird noises,
goofy clocks, a menacing balloon and mysterious flying pies make this
nonsensical short a hoot to watch.
CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "You dance like you got your legs on backwards."

"Back From The Front" (***) finds the Boys on a disguised Nazi raider and
capture the lot. Dressed up as the Axis partners, Moe delivers one of the
best lines in all of Stoogedom.
CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Ah, my personality, thanks Buddy!"

"Three Little Twirps" (**1/2) The Boys find their way into a circus after ruining the
posters they were to be hanging.
CLASSIC LINE: Larry: "Beat it, grandpa. We've got no time for kibbitzes."

"Higher Than A Kite" (**1/2) Once again, Moe gets it good when his head gets
stuck in a pipe. After ruining the General's car, they hide in a bomb (they think
its a sewer pipe) and get dropped in Naziville.
CLASSIC LINE: Nazi General: "Sit on my lap." Larry (in drag): "What lap?"

"I Can Hardly Wait" (**) revolves around Curly having a bad tooth, while Moe
and Larry come up with new ways to revolutionize dentistry.
CLASSIC LINE: Curly: "You've got me bald headed in the mouth."

"Dizzy Pilots" (****) The Stooges are the Wrong Brothers who invent a plane
called "The Buzzard." During their test flight, things go terribly wrong and they
wind up getting drafted (a recycled scene from an earlier short "Boobs In Arms").
CLASSIC LINE: Curly; "I see the garage. I don't saw the garage. You are
moidering the King's English."

"Phoney Express" (***1/2) has the Stooges out west selling everything from
Abdul's Cactus Remedy to being deputized.
CLASSIC LINE: Curly: "Hmm, pepperminties."

"A Gem Of A Jam" (***) Mistaken for doctors, the Boys are on the run from
crooks and cops. The second half of this short is utter nonsense and in any other
hands, it wouldn't hold up. A testament to how great the Stooges were that they're
so convincing at selling the silliest of ideas. The bits with Dudley Dickerson
are priceless. The x-ray scene is a keeper, as well.

"Crash Goes The Hash" (****) A great short with the Stooges who work for
Star Press Cleaners. A newspaper editor thinks they work for the media
and hire them to expose Prince Sham. The print looks great, but the audio is
surprisingly poor. The previous DVD release had better audio.
CLASSIC LINE: Butler: "Such levity. You remind me of the Three Stooges."
Curly: "Hey, that's an insult."

"Busy Buddies" (***) Another bit of utter (or is that udder) nonsense as the Stooges enter a milking contest to win some fast cash. Damn if they don't pull it off, though.

"The Yolk's On Me" (*) A real mess. Forget about the PC issue, this short
just doesn't work. I smile at the fan dance Curly does with the ostrich
feathers, but other than that, it's just a sloppy short that isn't funny.

"Idle Roomers (***1/2) All hail Lupe the Wolf man! The Stooges discover
the wolfman (in ridiculous make up) running amuck in the Hotel Snazzy Plaza.
As janitors, it's up to the Boys to catch him.
CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Did you lock the door?" Curly: "Yeah, twice. Once this
way and once that way."
HISTORIC CASTING: Stooge regular, the lovely Christine McIntyre makes her
Stooges debut.

"Gents Without Cents" (**1/2) Another misfire, it would be unwatchable if not
for the Niagra Falls and "Ratt-tat-toodily- day-day" numbers. The casting of
Flo, Mary and Shirley (as a poorman's Andrews Sisters) weigh this short
down like a ton of bricks. Their cartwheel shtick seems to go on forever!

"No Dough Boys" (***1/2) has the Stooges dressed as Japanese soldiers
for an ad shoot. On a lunch break, the owner thinks they are real "Jap" spies.
Running away, they stumble (yet again) into a Nazi hideout. UN PC humor
at its best.
CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Naki, Waki, come backi."

"Three Pests In A Mess" (**1/2) A pretty flimsy script that gets saved by
Christine McIntrye's performance and, of course, the Stooges. This short
has such a cheap production to it, that during a supposed masquerade party,
nobody bothered to add a crowd noise on the soundtrack, let alone having a
few extras walk past the camera. It looks exactly what it is: two actors trying
to sell the idea that there is a party going on in an empty sound stage. Jeez, not even music in the background.
CLASSIC LINE: Larry: "What's the idea, porter? Mammy!"

"Booby Dupes" (**) The first real evidence that Curly's health is starting to get
the best of him. A weak effort doesn't help things, either. Watch Curly struggle
to hide under the boat. The Stooges, as fish salesmen (again), try to catch their
own for better profits. Again, this short has a particularly cheap feel to it. The
scene with the fish flying all over the place would be right at home in a bad
grade school production. And where did they get the second boat!?

"Idiots Deluxe" (**1/2) isn't much better. There's a few good bits in the cabin,
but overall, a weak short with a much more haggard Curly. So far, the shorts
have been restored to a like new brilliance. This title however, looks terrible. The
print is riddled with spots, debris, lines, scratches as if no restoration was done.
CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Sunny side down. And don't turn 'em over."

"If A Body Meets A Body" (***) A decent scare comedy, but no classic, by any
means. The Stooges stand to inherit some dough when Curly's uncle bites it.
A remake of "The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case".
CLASSIC LINE: Butler: "I hope you have a nice looong sleep." Moe: "Thanks,
Dracula."

"Micro Phonies (****) is the Citizen Kane of Three Stooges films. Thankfully,
Curly's ill health did not interfere with his performance, as this short has everything
the last handful didn't. The story is solid, the directing is sharp, the pacing is spot
on, and the supporting cast is fantastic. It's the last great Curly performance (although
"Three Little Pirates" comes close). The Stooges are Senorita Cucaracha, Senior
Mucho and Senior Gusto. They swipe a record and do a great aping of "Voices
Of Spring" at a swanky party. That is, until their deception is discovered. The print
is beautiful and all of Christine McIntyre's dialogue has been fully restored. All
previous video releases had the annoying jump/splice cut during her explanation
as to why she had to pursue her singing career under an assumed name. This is the
last great Stooges short until Shemp re-joins the team. Always compared unfairly,
the Shemp era had some of the best storylines and plots (before budget cuts caused
a slew of remakes), but that's another review.......

The shorts: B+
The Restoration: A-

Equipment used:

Panasonic 50" widescreen plasma
Kenwood receiver
Infinity speakers
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Another Great Collection! 11 Oct. 2008
By Chuck Potocki - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Sony Pictures is doing an excellent job with releasing the Stooges' films & have done so again in fine fashion with Volume Four! As described on the DVD box, these films represent the final years with Curly before a series of strokes forced him to retire from the act in 1946. This is evidenced in the last couple of shorts from 1945, especially in "If A Body Meets A Body", where it's painfully evident by watching Curly that his mannerisms have slowed & his speech has begun to slur.

Hopefully Sony will continue with the remarkable roll they've been on in releasing the shorts in order, especially the ones with Shemp shorts & even with Joe Besser.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
More adventures of Moe,Larry and Curly 27 Aug. 2008
By andy8047 - Published on Amazon.com
This fourth installment of THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION brings Moe,Larry and Curly in their adventures of the last of World War II. In THEY STOOGE TO CONGA,Moe,his brother Curly and Larry come around to repair an ill-functioning doorbell and replace wires on a telephone pole. Again,in one scene,we'll see Moe posing as Germany dictator Adolph Hitler,subbing for a framed photo,or painting of Hitler! DIZZY DETECTIVES begins with stock footage from 1935's PARDON MY SCOTCH,where the boys install a door in a drugstore. Curly does some power-sawing on the floor,with Moe underneath the not-yet-installed door and Curly saws a hole in the floor causing Moe to fall through downstairs. In the original scene,Larry tells Moe,"You only fell 14 feet!". They then receive word that they've been hired to join the local police force. They encounter a gorilla who is learning to rob like his owner and his gang members. BACK FROM THE FRONT is one of a few war-themed shorts with the boys on a ship,paying a short visit to their girlfriends' home while on a furlough. Again,we'll see Moe as Hitler,complete with square moustache. In SPOOK LOUDER,the boys have been hired to sublet an inventor's home while he travels to Washington,D.C. A trio of crooks in Halloween costumes plan to rob the home. In THREE LITTLE TWERPS,the poster-pasting Stooges join the circus. In another war-themed short,HIGHER THAN A KITE,the boys are service station attendants and end up politicians in Germany. Curly breaks a tooth(molar) in I CAN HARDLY WAIT. An exploding dynamite stick didn't cure Curly's toothache,nor did a pushed door(with a string around the knob with the other end of the string around Curly's aching tooth). But a punch in the mouth from Moe did! The tooth was extracted as a result of the punch. In DIZZY PILOTS,the Stooges are the Wrong brothers,inventors of a revolutionary aircraft,an idea that never came to the minds of the real-life Wright Brothers. They end up in the army after the aircraft failed to meet standards(stock footage from 1940's BOOBS IN ARMS). The Stooges are wanted for vagrancy in PHONY EXPRESS. In A GEM OF A JAM,the boys are custodians ordered by two gangsters to perform necessary surgery on their friend. In CRASH GOES THE HASH,the boys are hired by a newspaper editor to get a story on a widow's engagement. Her foreign fiance robs her safe and is later arrested. The boys receive $100 each and Curly receives an added prize:the widow's hand. In BUSY BUDDIES,to pay an outstanding debt,Moe and Larry enter Curly in a cow-milking contest. Moe and Larry don the two-man cow costume with Moe distributing the milk from a large container. Curly is disqualified after giving Moe and Larry away. In THE YOKE'S ON ME,the boys run a farm and a group of Japanese men steal pumpkins. The Stooges are bellboys in IDLE ROOMERS and discover a gorilla who later operates the elevator the Stooges ride. The boys meet their upstairs neighbors and later marry Flo,Mary and Shirley in GENTS WITHOUT CENTS. The boys posing as Japanese men fight real Japanese men in NO DOUGH BOYS. The boys receive a patent for their fly-catching invention in THREE PESTS IN A MESS. In BOOBY DUPES,the seafood-retailing Stooges plan to catch their own to sell after buying a boat which they end up wrecking. In IDIOTS DeLUXE,Moe is tried in court for mayhem(physically abusing Moe and Larry) and is later acquitted. In IF A BODY MEETS A BODY,Curly Q. Link's uncle Bob O. Link has died and Curly anxiously awaits his monetary inheritance(his sister Liza receives the $1,250,000 and Curly receives the 67 cent change!). In MICRO-PHONIES,Curly,in drag,lip-synchs a woman's recording of VOICES OF SPRING. A foreign man gives Curly away at a party("Look,peoples! Just a big fake!"). This is dedicated to the memories of Moe(1897-1975),Larry(1902-1975) and Curly(1903-1952).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Remember: " 'Gritto' spelled sideways is 'ottriguh-guuuhhh'..." 22 Dec. 2008
By Steven K. Szmutko - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The fourth chronological collection shows Moe, Larry and Curly at their best with the twenty-one shorts from 1943 to 1945. In many ways, the shorts are transitional, as ill-health has begun to take its toll on Curly. Problems with high-blood pressure and other medical issues, including a series of mini-strokes that worsened in 1946 are evident in the later shorts in the collection. Even in the classic, "Micro-Phonies," one of their best shorts, shows Curly at just slightly less manic and physically frantic as those of just a year or two earlier. Still, with a few exceptions, these two- reelers show the comedy team at their slapstick best.

Before commenting on the films themselves, it is important to note that Sony has done a fine job in restoring the shorts. Gone are the scratches and out-of-focus scenes, as well as the crudely edited offerings previously shown on TV. Picture and sound are excellent; one can imagine the enjoyment experienced in theaters when these classics first appeared onscreen.

Many of these shorts are not seen today on television. During the war years, plots revolved around antics against Nazis and "Japs" in ways now considered to be politically incorrect. In particular, "The Yokes on Me" features the Stooges efforts to capture three Japanese "escapees" from a relocation camp. Although the physical comedy is typical stooge slapstick, the idea that US Citizens were imprisoned in WWII remains repugnant. Still, the short reflects the (unfortunate) prevailing attitude of the times. Other shorts, such as "No Dough Boys" are more innocuous, parodying stereotypes in more cartoonish "over-the-top" ways.

"They Stooge to Conga" is the first of the 1943 shorts and is considered to be the most violent of the shorts. Even slapstick devotees cringe when Curly impales his telephone pole climbing spike in Moe's eye, ear and skull. I would agree that is over the top, but it is like a car wreck: one feels compelled to watch. Look for Dudley Dickerson, the gifted African-American character actor, whose brilliant comedy antics are sadly seen as too-stereotypical for today's audiences. The Stooges used him in a number of their comedies. Given the nature of the times, his performances are physically inspired pieces of slapstick.

"Back from the Front", released later in 1943, features Moe's third impersonation of Hitler. The short takes place on the S.S. Schickelgruber and features non-stop mayhem. The stooges look interesting in their full beards.

"Micro-Phonies" is one of my favorite Stooge shorts. Although Curly's physical mannerisms have been slowed by his medical difficulties, facial expressions and precision mimicking of "The Voice of Spring" are priceless. Together with Moe and Larry, he offers musical interpretations of several classics that makes one wish that the Stooges had done more with song and dance in their comedies.

Like all of the shorts, viewers have their preferences. Still, most of those in this volume are entertaining, providing laughs some 60-plus years after their original release.
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