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The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 8: 1955-1959

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The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 8: 1955-1959 + The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 7: 1952-1954 + The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 6: 1949-1951
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This eighth volume of The Three Stooges Collection features the last 32 digitally remastered shorts from 1955-1959. It also marks the end of an era for a comedy team that to this day remains unparalledled in its success and popularity. In November of 1955 Shemp Howard died of a sudden heart attack, forcing Moe and Larry to use a stand-in for Shemp on some of the shorts and previously shot footage in others. Moe originally wanted vaudeville veteran Joe DeRita to fill in for Shemp but he couldn't get out of his contract, so Moe went with Joe Besser, who was also well-known on the vaudeville and burlesque circuits. Columbia Pictures closed its short-subjects unit in 1958, thus ending the Three Stooges' run after 24 years and 190 shorts; hald a century later The Three Stooges are entertainment legends. Their unique brand of slapstick humor and physical comedy had influenced legions of performers and lives on in such contemporary icons as Robin Williams and Jim Carrey.

The 32 shorts featured in volume 8 of the Three Stooges Collection mark the final days of the comedy act's tenure at Columbia prior to their revival in the late 1950s, as well as the last appearances of original Stooge Shemp Howard and his short-lived replacement, comic Joe Besser. By 1952, Columbia had drastically reduced its short-subject division, which forced the Stooges' best director, Edward Bernds, to depart from the studio. Jules White was left in charge of the final shorts, which were further compromised by a reliance on recycling footage from older shorts as a cost-cutting measure. The death of Shemp Howard in 1955 brought the curtain down on the original Stooge lineup; the final short to feature new Shemp footage, 1956's "For Crimin' Out Loud," is included on the set's second disc, as are the infamous quartet featuring actor Joe Palma as a stand-in Shemp in linking footage ("Rumpus in the Harem," "Hot Stuff," "Scheming Schemers," and "Commotion on the Ocean"). The latter are the source of much debate among Stoogephiles, as is the tenure of Joe Besser as Shemp's replacement.

Besser brought his established screen persona--the same tantrum-prone man-child he played on The Abbott and Costello Show--to the shorts, as well as a requirement that he not receive any physical abuse from Moe Howard, which changed the tone of the act; Stooge fans appear to be split on his participation as either a brief shot in the arm for the venerable comedy team, or an aggravating presence that signaled the end of the act prior to Columbia opting to cancel their contract in 1957. Thankfully, television provided a second act for the Stooges, who re-formed in 1959 with Curly Joe DeRita as the third member. As for the shorts collected here, there are some amusing moments, especially 1956's "Creeps" (a remake of 1949's "The Ghost Talks," with the boys as moving men at a haunted house) and 1958's "Quiz Whizz," which requires the Stooges to dress as children in garish Little Lord Fauntleroy outfits, but the set is essential for only the most ardent of Stoogephiles and completists. --Paul Gaita

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Moe Howard, Shemp Howard, Larry Fine, Joe Besser
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 515 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003CPPY0Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 8: 1955-1959" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Randall on March 23, 2010
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Well, I guess if others can write a review of a DVD set more than two months before it is even released, I can too.

For Stooge fans, the long road is finally over. The shorts with Joe Besser are going to be available on home video. Fans who appreciate the Stooges in all of their incarnations applaud Sony for issuing the Columbia shorts to the end. I'm sure that as they got into the volumes with Shemp, sales dropped off. That and the dreadful economy could have made the company cancel the remaining volumes. But they didn't and I believe that this fact alone earns this set a five star rating.

As for the shorts themselves, they are not the best work of the guys. There are a lot of repeat plots and stock footage used in both the remaining Shemp shorts and in some of the Joe shorts. But contrary to a previously posted review, this didn't happen because the Stooges ran out of gas or were "tired". This was because Columbia was cheap!! In the middle and late fifties the shorts' market in the US dried up. The one word reason - television. The Stooges were a dying breed. Who could have guessed that the very medium that killed their lucrative shorts career would provide them their highest level of fame and financial success!!

Also Joe is not a fan favorite of many people. But let's face it - he didn't have a lot to work with. The scripts were weak and as mentioned above Columbia tried to use stock footage whenever possible to save money. But there is a childish lilt in the acting style of Mr. Besser. If you can make it past the anemic plots and just look at Joe on the screen, I think you'll see that he brought his own personality and comedy to the team.

So in review, this is a completeist's dream.
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This final volume of Stooge shorts is interesting on two levels. First, it represents the transition from the Shemp Howard years to the Joe Besser years, with many familiar plots and gags being lifted from older comedies. Some of these patchwork shorts are very clever: OF CASH AND HASH is a slick reworking of SHIVERING SHERLOCKS; CREEPS is probably better remembered than its inspiration THE GHOST TALKS. BLUNDER BOYS, an amusing parody of "Dragnet," is noteworthy for using entirely fresh material (even if the battlefield "exterior" looks like it cost five dollars to stage).

But this set is even more interesting to film buffs, as a living record of the end of an era, and as a fascinating exhibition of creative film editing. SCHEMING SCHEMERS deserves a special Oscar for the editing, with footage from three older comedies spliced into the new material. By the time Joe Besser joined the Stooges in 1956, two-reel short subjects were 99% extinct, and only Columbia and the Stooges were still making them. This actually had a liberating effect on the series. There is a new, free-wheeling, we-don't-care spirit about these last shorts that is missing from the half-hearted, script-bound remakes of the mid-fifties. The budgets are at a new low and the action is milder, but the Stooges are more relaxed and they improvise freely: Larry reciting Hamlet's soliloquy while chewing gum is a lunatic moment from FIFI BLOWS HER TOP; Joe scores in a shipping-room routine in MUSCLE UP A LITTLE CLOSER; Moe abandons his bossy role for dialect character comedy in SWEET AND HOT.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael Black on April 2, 2010
Here we go, June 1, 2010 will be a historical day in comedy history!!! Thanks to Sony, all of us Stooge Fans can sit back, relax and enjoy an entire week of ALL stooge shorts. It is worth taking a vacation for. Now the next question is WHEN ARE THEY RELEASING ON BLU RAE!?...LOL. Actually, I'm happy with them on DVD and one day when I'm in the old folks home, I hope they can pull out their ancient DVD player and let me relax in peace to nothing but Stooge shorts.

Yes, I know that Volume 8 will contain shorts that have repeated plots, the stooges are older and without Curly and Shemp, but it will take me back to my childhood days when I did not care what short was on, as long as I just got to watch, I was happy.

To everyone else that REVIEWED, I wish we could all get together in a big room, put on the big widescreen and enjoy this proud day of June 1, 2010 together. Lucky for me that my 11 year old daughter and 14 year old son enjoys watching.

SO STOOGE FANS UNITE AND GET EXCITED, the time is near, Just 2 more months from this time victory will be at hand.

I retired from the Marine Corps 3 years ago, so a Semper Fi to all my fellow Stooge Fans! Get out the popcorn and Enjoy, Enjoy, and Enjoy!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Critic on June 23, 2010
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Despite the untimely death of Shemp Howard in 1955 and major cut backs at Columbia Pictures the "Three Stooges" continued to make shorts even though the end of an era was near. Because of budget problems at Columbia there was a definite need to reuse and recycle old stock footage with varying degrees of quality to produce more shorts and an even bigger problem for Moe Howard; who would replace Shemp?

It's no secret that Moe's first choice was Joe DeRita but because of contract obligations he would have to settle for another vaudeville veteran Joe Besser. I'm sure that many fans out there have found the shorts with Joe Besser just as funny but he never quite did it for me. I have always wondered what direction the "Three Stooges" would have taken if Joe DeRita would have became a stooge when Moe originally came calling. Love him or hate him, Joe Besser will always be the forgotten stooge.

Sony Pictures must be commended once again for finally listening to the fans after all the years of inferior shorts in the public domain and devoting precious time and meticulous care into the restoration of the final 32 stooge shorts found in Volume 8 as well as their entire remastered "Stooges" collection to date. It should also be noted that this collection contains three discs this time and Sony did not increase the price for fans.

All 32 shorts from 1955-1959 are presented on three single sided discs and packaged in slim cases. The disc artwork and packaging is fantastic to say the least, making Volume 8 even more attractive and highly collectible for any Stooge fan to own. The 32 newly restored & remastered shorts from Sony Pictures are once again presented in chronological order, politically incorrect and in Beautiful Black & White.
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The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 8: 1955-1959
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