The Three Stooges
Hapless Half-Wits
Includes: Beer Barrel Polecats (1946), I?ll Never Groom Again (1941)
Dopey Dicks (1949) Brideless Groom (1947)
Color or Black and White
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007

The Three Stooges Hapless Half-Wits comedy DVD features 4 Stooges shorts from the forties including two featuring Shemp Howard: Brideless Groom and Dopey Dicks. If you are a fan of The Three Stooges this collection will most certainly please you. If you are not a fan but curious you will immediately understand why this slapstick comedy trio is still famous after all these years.

It is easy to dismiss The Three Stooges as the guys who went around poking eyes, slapping faces, and punching skulls. There is much more to this comedy trio than just that and Hapless Half-Wits more than proves it.  The four shorts here, Beer Barrel Polecats and I’ll Never Heil Again with Curly Howard, Larry Fine, and Moe Howard as well as the other two with Shemp Howard instead of Curly are at least pretty good and sometimes excellent.

Purists will appreciate the Chromachoice feature Sony Pictures Home Entertainment used on this Three Stooges DVD. It gives the viewer the choice of viewing the shorts in either the original black and white and also watch the pretty well done colorized version of these comedy shorts. You can switch from one to the other during the movie which can be kind of cool.

What Stooges fan will most appreciate is how well restored these shorts are. Nary a dust speck or bad splice though there are a couple of very short instances where you get the feeling the restoration process forced the editor to focus on one of the characters for a second or two instead of all three, making that very short moment a bit fuzzy (the same as if you use the zoom feature on your DVD player).

Dopey Dicks (1949) features Shemp Howard, Larry Fine, and Moe Howard. It is your basic forties comedy version of the mad scientist movie. The Three Stooges somehow convince a damsel in distress they are detectives and then decide to save her when she gets kidnapped by the mad doctor’s assistant. There are some very good visual gags and great physical comedy bits here. This, according to Stooges fans, is a rarely seen and hard to find short and probably a first on DVD

Beer Barrel Polecats (1945) starts off strong when the Stooges, Larry, Moe, and Curly this time, decide to make their own beer which is, of  course, a recipe for disaster. This is your basic suds out of control bit with a few original twists. The second part of this comedy short, when the boys are in prison, is much lesser stuff.

I’ll Never Heil Again is the Stooges’ take on Nazi Germany and Hitler. Do not expect Chaplin’s Great Dictator but you do get Curly as Field Marshal Herring. There are more visual jokes, such as the map of Europe bit, in this one short than in all others combined. The loose plot involves the daughter of the former ruler of Moronia trying to kill dictator Moe. This is not political satire but a set-up for more boinking and slapping. It is kind of hard to find any comedy about Nazi Germany funny now though I am sure it was excellent in 1941 before the world found out how evil the Nazis were.

Brideless Groom (1947) is another Three Stooges comedy short on this DVD featuring Shemp Howard. Shemp is a voice teacher who must marry before six p.m. to inherit a fortune.

Hapless Half-Wits is a Three Stooges DVD the many fans of this comedy trio will get and enjoy. More casual fans who are simply curious about this kind of slapstick comedy will also enjoy this release


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