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THE THREE STOOGES [3 episodes] ~ False Alarms (1936) / Three Pests in a Mess (1945) / Flat Foot Stooges (1938) [VHS] (1936)

Moe Howard , Larry Fine , Del Lord  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Beatrice Blinn, Stanley Blystone
  • Directors: Del Lord
  • Writers: John Grey
  • Producers: Jules White
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: July 2, 1996
  • Run Time: 18 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304092091
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,235 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


This collection is one of the shorter in the Columbia sets, running at 48 minutes. "False Alarms" (1936 and the 17th short of the Three Stooges series) and "Flat Foot Stooges" (1938, #31) both have the boys as firemen. In the first, there is only a series of incidents rather than a plot, most of which center on the viewer's anticipation of the fire chief's beloved new car getting demolished in one way or another before the last frame. In poor taste today is the fat young woman who is so desperate for a boyfriend she asks Curly to be so inclined, which he definitely is not.

Similarly, in "Flat Foot Stooges" the very realistic crosscutting to two characters unconscious in a burning room tends to take away some of the comedy as an entire town tries to get the ancient fire engine to a fire that happens to be back in the firehouse. The fact that the fire was caused by a duck laying an explosive egg after pecking at gunpowder does help to lighten the situation.

"Three Pests in a Mess" (1945, #83) is one of those two-reel films in which the second sequence is only loosely connected to the first. When some crooks think the Stooges are lottery winners, events lead to Curly's shooting a mannequin, which the Stooges attempt to bury in a graveyard as three men in spooky costumes stalk them. A wonderful sight gag has a terrified Larry actually slide under a closed door. (The VHS box tells you how it was done.) --Frank Behrens

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Stooges take a couple of turns at being firemen January 5, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Those who remember the cameo the Three Stooges did it "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" will find humor in a similar thematic vein with the trio of Columbia shorts collected on the "False Alarms" videotape:
In the 1936 short "False Alarms" the boys as firemen who tend to miss fires because they take too long to shower and dress when the alarm comes in. The two main bits here are the Stooges being assigned to clean the fire hoses and their demolition of the fire chief's brand new car. This one is relatively standard Stooges fare.
Two years later the boys try the fire fighting routine once again in "Flat Foot Stooges." The issue at hand is whether the fire department should be using horse-drawn or motorized fire trucks, which ends up with the Stooges chasing the horse-drawn truck that is carrying the chief's daughter and a lot of gunpowder into the burning firehouse. Believe it or not, most of this is not the fault of the Stooges, who are called upon to save the day (or at some of it). This one is the best of the lot, especially since it deals more with the idea of the Stooges being firemen than the first short.
"Three Pests in a Mess" is from 1945 begins with the Stooges trying to get a patent on their fly-catching invention. The first reel has to do with a female scam artist (Christine McIntyre) trying to seduce Curly while the second has the boys convinced they have killed someone when they shoot a mannequin, which they take to the pet cemetery to bury. The second half is better than the first half, but this is an average Stooges effort at best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good tape. December 23, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
FALSE ALARMS (1936) is in my top ten Curly films because of all the great gags. There's a great big car chase at the end. Car chases are always fun to watch.
THREE PESTS IN A MESS (1945)- A bad short, well, maybe not all of it. The first half of the film is great, with funny gags including Christine McIntrye beating up Curly. The Stooges try to run, but accidentally shoot a window dummy. That's where the short gets bad. They take the "body" to a pet graveyard and the owners show up in scary costumes. This part is inapropriate for general audiences. The second half of the film is not related to the plot of the first half. This also happened in BOOBY DUPES, the following short.
FLAT FOOT STOOGES (1938) is not great, but not terrible either. There's just nothing special about it. Too weird of a plot.
Not a good tape, one great short, two weak ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars FALSE PESTS AND FLAT FOOTS July 5, 2001
By Stooge
Format:VHS Tape
FALSE ALARMS (1936) - Stars the boys as firemen. A pretty good short, with a hilarious car chase scene towards the end.
THREE PESTS IN A MESS (1945) - A pretty good short. Del Lord did a good job, and this was around the time where his directorial efforts were getting bad. The plot gets interesting when they "kill" a mannequin and have to bury it at a cemetary.
FLAT FOOT STOOGES (1938) - Stars the boys as firemen again. One of the more mediocre Curly shorts. Suffered from a plot that didn't really go anywhere and weak direction. There's also a lot of flubbed lines and goofs that were carelessly left in the final print somehow. Also, why is there not even a writer credited in the opening?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good '30s; poor '40s flicks November 3, 2006
By Phil S.
Format:VHS Tape
A typical Stooges package, with elements of them at their best...and worst. Alot of their "best" is in the earliest offer here, False Alarms from 1936. The boys were on a roll that year; by '37-'38, they had their act down cold - I believe many fans and critics would disagree, but they were second to Laurel & Hardy in quality shorts in the '30s, and quite often *first* as laugh-getters. A fine example is Alarms, a fast-paced comedy, well-scripted, performed, edited. A great performance is by June Gittelson, one of three ladies anxious for a date - she is the least "glamorous" according to Curly and his reactions are quite funny. A nice touch is the less than careful handling of the Chief's new coupe - a mechanic early in the film advises him to take it easy for the first 500 miles - guess what happens?

As in many early comedies there are bits and pieces which do not translate well to present day. In this film, it is sad to watch Curly make a "false alarm" so as to summon his pals to the triple-date arrangement. Probably this should be edited out.

A nice follow-up to this one-reeler came in '39 with Flat Foot Stooges (a typically clever title having nothing to do with the proceedings). Charley Chase directed this entertaining story about the clashing of generations of thought as to firefighting: Chester Conkin does well as the old-timer at the Firehouse who believes in the old-fashioned way: horse-drawn wagons. Dick Curtis is the Sales Rep. with a decidedly crass method of convincing him to consider a motorized vehicle. A fire ensues. There's plenty of real action as the fighters discover that they have been misdirected - the fire is back at the station and the Chief's daughter is caught in the blaze!
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