Sony Pictures
MSRP: $24.96
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 432 minutes


The Pitch

America’s three favorite stooges push their schtick a little too far and the fat one has a stroke.

The Humans

Moe Howard, Curly Howard, Larry Fine and Shemp

The Nutshell

1946 is considered by a lot of Stooges fan to be the last of the golden years. The guys hadn’t entered into their recycling comedy bits phase. Plus, it was before the tragic stroke that would limit Curly’s future endeavors. Sadly, we get to see the gravy years of 1946 turn into the reign of Shemp on this set. Great things can’t last forever.

One more match and we’ve got the money to pay off Iron Balls McGinty.

The Lowdown

I don’t buy into the critic-proof level that gets applied to The Three Stooges. It feels like an afterthought appraisal by folks that want a post-modern appreciation for Columbia’s best one-reel stars. Sure, the physical comedy and the chemistry between the trio was amazing. But, you get into this tricky area about six shorts in on the disc.

1947 was the year that Curly was felled by his stroke and the long-line of replacements began. First up was Shemp, who has a legion of fans that appreciate him. But, he’s too much of a Moe clone and you see the back and forth for leadership in the later movies. Plus, it doesn’t help new fans having two guys that look almost identical onscreen. Though, it helps that Larry looks like Sean Penn’s mildly retarded grandfather.

I don’t want to hop in the Dip, Moe. I saw what it did to Judge Doom.

The theatrical shorts presented on the two-disc spread range from great to mediocre. Shemp eats a diamond, Shemp becomes an Angel and the gang goes to prison seems to be the recurring motifs in the later episodes. Death, ingestion and imprisonment keep popping up over and over again like some sort of collection of masculine fears put onscreen. Well, minus the impending threat of penile anal rape. So, what does it all mean?

Moe gets first crack at that ass. Larry gets what’s left. That is if he can get over his lockjaw.

The later shorts show off what happens when you stretch a concept too far. The guys all run into the same areas that they covered before, plus matched with declining physical comedy. The A/V Quality presented on the discs is second-to-none and that might mean something to long-time fans. It’s just that the further out you get with the Stooges the further and further it gets from wide entertainment. Have at it, comedy fanboys.

I’m not saying that you’re not going to feel it. It’s just that I CAN get my entire fist up there.

The Package

The A/V Quality shows off an amazing revamp of the older Stooges shorts. Sadly, there’s no special features on the DVD. That’s lame.

5.9 out of 10