The Three Stooges
Stooges On The Run
Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard
4 Three Stooges Shorts on 1 DVD
Color or Black and White
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2006
70 minutes

The Three Stooges, who appear in four shorts on the Stooges On The Run DVD comedy collection, have always been considered lowbrow comedy. Most comedy fans prefer to admit to liking Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy short films than saying they enjoy the Three Stooges. All I knew about the Stooges aside from their being looked down on was the 2000 made for TV movie starring Michael Chiklis. Stooges On The Run, a restored collection of four Three Stooges shorts made between 1935 and 1939 has made me somewhat of a fan of this comedy trio. The fact these comedy shorts have been remastered in high definition (1920 X 1080) allows the illusion of seeing them as if they had just been released.

The Three Stooges shorts featured on Stooges On The Run come in both color (colorized by computer) and the original black and white. The black and white copies of Dizzy Doctors (1937), Calling All Curs (1939), Disorder In The Court (1936), and Pop Goes The Weasel (1935) have been perfectly restored. The picture is crisp, the picture never pales or darkens, and the grays all look perfect. The color versions of these short comedy films are also pretty good and I might even say excellent if I was not a purist about these things and if I overlooked the skin tones for Larry, Moe, and Curly -then again, colorization will never, ever get natural skin tones. If you are a purist you can easily skip the color process on this DVD. You will notice however that the black and white versions appear to be a little bit larger on the screen than the color versions.

The first Three Stooges comedy short film on Stooges On The Run is Dizzy Doctors from 1937. Larry, Moe, and Curly are forced by their shrewish wives to get a job. The become salesmen for a cleaning fluid called Brighto and give it all new properties and purposes. After some of the usual mayhem, they end up in a hospital where they pass it off as a wonder drug. Not being a Three Stooges purist, I do not know if the sometimes obvious cuts from scene to scene were part of the original release or caused by the restoration process, but otherwise this is good fun. The comedy trio relies heavily on sound effects, bonking people on the head, and voice over for the dialogue in some chase scenes but it is a lot of fun nonetheless. I particularly like the bit where the guys chasing the Stooges get in the elevator and Moe makes the elevator go up by pulling on the arrow above the door.

The 1939 comedy short Calling All Curs has the Three Stooges running an animal hospital -though it is not clear at first to set up a gag. A prized poodle is dog napped and Larry, Moe, and Curly must get the dog back. After quite a few highjinks, slapping, and eye poking they manage to do so. Calling All Curs is not the best Stooges short on the remastered in high definition Stooges On The Run but the gags are a lot of fun.

The classic Three Stooges comedy short on Stooges On The Run is Disorder In The Court. Larry, Moe, and Curly are the star witnesses in a murder trial. Fans of the trio will recognize Bud Jamison, the man who gave the first eye poke in a Stooges short, as the defense attorney. To solve the case, they recreate the murder and destroy a lot of stuff in the courtroom. As in many of these shorts, story and writing take a back seat to gags. This is perhaps why they are not considered by many as great as Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello.

The last comedy short on Stooges On The Run is Pop Goes The Easel. It features two of the Stooges’ daughters playing hopscotch. Larry, Moe, and Curly are unemployed. They try to get a job, are mistaken for shoplifters, chased by the police, and find refuge in an art studio where they paint themselves into a corner.

Larry Fine, Moe Howard, and Curly Howard may not have had the best scripts but they soytainly did the best they could with them. If you like slapstick comedy, Stooges On The Run, remastered in high definition and available in both black and white and colorized versions, is fun to watch.


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