Starring: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard
Number of discs: 20
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Running Time: 635 minutes
Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
I have been watching “The Three Stooges” from since before I could walk…or probably talk (thanks to my Grandfather). There is something about that humor that really lasts through time and never looses its laughs. When they released this under the title of “The Ultimate Collection”, they were not joking…this is really the ultimate collection of the Three Stooges. They cover 25 years of the Three Stooges and really captures their unique brand of humor. Included in this set is all 190 short films, plus 11 hours of movies and other never-before-released material…like I said really the ultimate collection. Get ready to enjoy all the eye-pokes, face slaps, hollow head knocks and knuckle cracks that you can possibly handle.
These have been properly and beautifully remastered for the best quality picture and sound. For shorts that were filmed back as far back as the 30’s, they definitely do not show it. Great job from Sony for a great digital restoration. You’ll experience the Stoogers like you’ve never heard or seen them before. This collection also not only includes all of the Three Stooges Columbia shorts but also three discs of bonus material as well featuring the solo work of the Stooges! This never-before-released bonus content features included are films “Rockin’ In The Rockies” (1945) and “Have Rocket–Will Travel” (1958) . There are also 14 Shemp Howard solo shorts, 10 Joe Besser solo shorts and 4 Curly-Joe solo shorts. Lastly, there is also three animated shorts from Columbia as well. This is worth the purchase of the collection alone.
Besides the three discs of rare and unreleased content, the rest of the collection is split up into eight individual volumes. The first volume covers from 1934-1936, includes the first 10 Columbia shorts, including “Punch Drunks” which made them big. Vol. 2 focuses on 1937-1939 in chronological order including 24 shorts and such classics “Dizzy Doctors”, “Saved By The Belle”, and “Calling All Curs. Vol. 3 covers what some thought to be the Golden Age from 1940-1942. Included are 23 shorts among was also a historical first featuring Moe Howard as the first American to portray Hitler on film, in 1940’s “You Nazty Spy”, which was also Moe’s personal favorite. Vol. 4 covers 1943-1945 and include 21 shorts with some of their best work, including “Micro-Phonies” (1943). Also featured are “They Stooge to Conga” (1943) and “The Yoke’s On Me” (1944), both were very controversial shorts.
Next up we have Vol. 5 which covers 1946-1948 and features 25 shorts. This period also marks the end of Curly’s career with the Stooges and the return of Shemp. Vol. 6 covers from 1949-1951, which continues with Shemp as the third Stooge. These collection of 24 shorts contain classics like “Merry Mavericks” (1951) and a reworking of “Phony Express” (1943) featuring Red Morgan. Vol. 7 features 22 shorts from 1952-1954. It was a hard time for the Stooges with the passing of Curly in 1951. Though it did still includes such classics as the first 3-D short, “Spooks!” (1953) and “Shot In The Frontier” (1954), a parody of the film “High Noon”. Lastly Vol. 8 covers the last 32 short for Columbia from 1955-1959 and marks the end of comedy era. 1955 also came with the sudden death of Shemp Howard, which caused Moe and Larry to use a stand-in on some of the shorts. This concludes 24 years and 190 shorts with Columbia.
The Three Stooges are really a comedy team that to this day remains unparalleled in both their success and popularity. I have a feeling that it will stay that way as well. They are true Hollywood legends. Their slapstick humor and physical comedy have influenced numerous icons in today’s times like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey and will continue as time goes on. Luckily for studios like Sony, we get to enjoy this complete and ultimate collection of The Three Stooges work and if you are fan of theirs this release is extremely recommended and also very affordable. Do not miss out of this wonderful release!