The Three Stooges Collection
Volume 1 1934-36
Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Jerry Howard and Curly Howard
Larry, Moe, Curly
19 Shorts 2 DVDs
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007

Males i.e. Three Stooges fans will jump at the occasion to get The Three Stooges Collection Volume 1 1934-36 DVD. It features 19 remastered Stooges shorts from their days at Columbia and their best work. The cinematic oeuvre of Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard is presented sequentially on 2 DVDs and by remastered Sony Home Entertainment really means remastered: no dust specs, no cuts or jumps, no fuzzy sequences like on some other Stooges DVDs. DVD 1 of The Three Stooges Collection Volume 1 includes the 1934 and 1935 shorts, DVD 2 has all the 1936 shorts.

Those who dismiss the Three Stooges as simple slapstick comedy would do well to watch the first short on Volume 1 of this Three Stooges Collection: Woman Haters is performed in twelve-foot verse; granted the ending is a bit weak but Stooges fans know endings were never this comedy group’s strong point. Other shorts such as Punch Drunks, which, granted is a bit dark in the exterior scenes where Larry is running around for a violin, shows the Stooges were also pretty good at visual comedy: I liked the ongoing gag with the kid and the bell ringer or the door gags in Pardon My Scotch, one of which is really Looney Tunes style. Surprisingly, Punch Drunks foreshadows Rocky and, believe it or not, Mike Tyson.

Pardon My Scotch is not the best short of the Three Stooges Collection Volume 1 1934-36. The story gets lost in a bunch of Stooges in kilts skits that are just a bit too long. Look for Lucille Ball as the blonde on the couch in Three Little Pigskins where the Stooges accidentally become college football players. This time, it takes a while for the story to start.

Story is the weak point of the Three Stooges: the set-up takes too long or the ending lets you down. Still, dialogue wise, they had their moments. You have to like these bits in Restless Knights: Larry: “All for one.” Moe: “One for all.” Curly: “Everyman for himself” or Queen: “What were you doing in Paris?” Moe: “Checking out the Parisites.”

There are a few much less impressive Stooges shorts here such as the hospital based Men In Black or the golf course centered Three Little Beers (DVD 1).

1936, DVD 2 of The Three Stooges Collection Volume 1, was a better year for Larry, Moe, and Curly. I rather enjoyed Ants in the Pantry where the Stooges play exterminator after creating some business for themselves and things get … antsy. Movie Maniacs opens with the classic Three Stooges sharing a bed set up before moving on to the real story of Larry, Moe, and Curly becoming studio executives at Carnation Pictures. Is it just me or is there a dig at the MGM lion at the end of this one?

Disorder in the Court, a classic Stooges short, is on DVD 2 and is the better looking version I have seen. False Alarms, where the Stooges play fireman, is pretty good: I especially liked the cake bit and other visual gags are better than average for the Stooges. Fans of the politically correct will wince a bit when they see the Stooges dressed up as Indians in Whoops, I’m An Indian -which features the worst chorus line in cinema-but the outdoorsmen Moe, Larry, and Curly are fun to watch.

The Three Stooges Collection Volume 1 1934-36 closes with Slippery Silks where Larry, Moe, and Curly inherit the Victoria’s Secret boutique of its day. Again, it starts with a seemingly totally different story line having to do with copying a rare Chinese cabinet before getting to the point. I swear some of the Stooges’ dress designs are similar to stuff you see in fashion shows now.

The Three Stooges: It’s a guy thing.


Three Stooges Collection Volume 1 1934-36 shorts list:

1934: Woman Haters, Punch Drunks, Men in Black, Three Little Pigskins

1935: Horses’ Collar, Restless Knights, Pop Goes the Easel, Uncivil Warriors, Pardon My Scotch, Hot Polloi, Three Little Beers

1936: Ants in the Pantry, Movie Maniacs, Half-Shot Shooters, Disorder in the Court, A Pain in the Pullman, False Alarms, Whoops, I’m an Indian, Slippery Silks


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