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The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 4: 1943-1945

4.9 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this fourth chronological collection of The Three Stooges, we come to the final years of what has become regardedas the high point in their career - their Golden Age. These 21 digitally remastered shorts from the 1943-1945 era contain some of their best work, including the classic MICRO-PHONIES (1943) which Curly turns in a brilliant performance as opera diva Senorita Cucaracha. Also included in this collection are two favorites that are so outrageous that television programmers are always hesitant about airing them: THEY STOOGE TO CONGA (1943) features what is considered one of the most violent scenes ever filmed by the Three Stooges and THE YOKE'S ON ME (1944) is what we today refer to as "politically incorrect" in its portrayal of Japanese soldiers. The Three Stooges Collection Volume 4 is groundbreaking, hilarious and outrageous -- classic entertainment from Larry, Moe and Curly at the height of their creativity. Don't miss out on the fun!


In "Crash Goes the Hash," Moe, Larry and Curly offend a snooty butler's sensibilities. "Such levity," he sniffs. "You remind me of the Three Stooges." In a huff, Curly replies, "Hey, that's an insult." No, it's the highest compliment. The best of these 21 shorts (and even the worst have at least some redeeming bits of silliness) are essential for every Stooge-phile's library. This chronological collection is book-ended by two key shorts. Violent is the word for "They Stooge to Conga," jaw-dropping slapstick porn that features an excruciating bit wherein Moe's head, ear, and eye are punctured by Curly's spiked shoe. "Micro-Phonies" is arguably the Stooges' very best short, in which Curly is mistaken for an operatic singer. The lip-sync renditions of "Voices of Spring" and the sextet from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor are moments that even Stooge-haters love. Mistaken identity happens a lot to the boys. They are mistaken for doctors in "A Gem of a Jam," reporters in "Crash Goes the Hash," sweepstakes winners in "Three Pets in a Mess," and Japanese soldiers in "No Dough, Boys." In several of these wartime shorts it seems they can't turn around with uncovering a "rat's nest" of Japanese and German spies and saboteurs. Perhaps the stereotypical portrayals of the Axis villains in "They Stooge to Conga," "Back from the Front" and "Higher Than a Kite" can be forgiven today. However, as great a performer as African-American character actor Dudley Dickerson is, his cowardly, put-upon characters in "Conga" and "Gem" are a little more problematic in our more enlightened times. Other notable shorts are "Gents Without Cents," in which the Stooges return to their vaudeville roots with their performance of their signature "Niagara Falls" sketch ("Slowly I turn…."). "Busy Buddies," in which Curly enters a cow-milking contest, is another fan favorite. "Idle Roomers" marks the debut of the versatile Christine McIntyre, one of the great additions to the Stooges stock company. "If a Body Meets a Body" marks the first use of the swing version of the Stooges' "Three Blind Mice" theme. The first short produced following Curly Howard's mild stroke, it also marks the beginning of the end for the Curly era. But this thoughtfully produced collection ensures that the Stooges' legacy is secure. These shorts, to quote Curly in "Crash Goes the Hash," are mostly "colossal, stupendous, terrific…even superlative." --Donald Liebenson

Stooges fans may experience a sense of the bittersweet mixed with their elation over the arrival of Volume 4 in the digitally remastered Three Stooges Collection; although the new set continues to present the knucklehead's legendary comedy shorts in pristine condition and chronological order, it's also the beginning of the end in regards to the participation of Jerome "Curly" Howard, who arguably remains the most popular member of the trio. By 1943-44, a variety of debilitating health issues robbed Howard of his manic energy, which is more than evident in shorts like "If a Body Meets a Body" and "Micro-Phonies," both from 1945. Unfortunately, brother Moe Howard's requests to halt production was nixed by Columbia, which resulted in a further decline in Curly's health that would eventually lead to the stroke in 1946 that forced his retirement from the team. And while the knowledge of Howard's health issues casts something of a pall over the set, there are still plenty of laughs to be had over the course of the two-disc set. Chief among the highlights is "Dizzy Detectives," which pits the boys against a rampaging ape man; "Spook Louder," (Stooges vs. mad scientist with death ray machine; viewers should note that the short features some World War II-era anti-Japanese sentiment); "Gents Without Cents," which features their version of the "Niagara Falls" routine; and "Dizzy Pilots," which chronicles the Stooges' contributions to the aviation industry (all disastrous, of course). As with the previous Collection releases, seven of the 21 shorts included in the set are making their DVD debuts; the flawless quality of the DVD presentation, as well as the sheer amount of nyuks on hand, make Volume 4 a must-have for every self-respecting Stooge-phile. --Paul Gaita

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Chester Conklin, Stanley Blystone
  • Directors: Del Lord, Edward Bernds, Harry Edwards, Jules White
  • Writers: Del Lord, Edward Bernds, Clyde Bruckman, Elwood Ullman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Black & White, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 359 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001D7T6AO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,227 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 4: 1943-1945" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This set completes the better Curly shorts, towards the end of this set he started suffering mini-strokes and the effects show on screen. But for the most part, Curly is still full of energy!

The 21 shorts are:

They Stooge to Conga (wartime. Moe disguises as Hitler!)
Dizzy Detectives
Spook Louder
Back From The Front (wartime)
Three Little Twerps
Higher Than A Kite (wartime)
I Can Hardly Wait (one of the weaker ones, Curly has a bad tooth)
Dizzy Pilots (wartime)
Phony Express
A Gem Of A Jam

Crash Goes The Hash
Busy Buddies
The Yoke's on Me (wartime stereotypes)
Idle Roomers
Gents Without Cents (features "Niagara Falls" routine)
No Dough Boys (wartime)

Three Pests In A Mess (nice cemetery comedy for Halloween)
Booby Dupes (wartime joke at the end of this non-wartime comedy. Stooges go fishing.)
Idiots Deluxe (first evidence of Curly's mini-strokes & 1st with black title-card)
If a Body Meets a Body
Micro-Phonies (still a classic, even with the mini-stroke)

--A word about Curly's decline:
Curly would go on to film 10 more shorts in the next year, but none of them equaled the quality of these.
Even the last three shorts of this set show the signs of health problems.
In IDIOTS DELUXE the failing health starts to show in Curly's face, but his voice is still stong & energetic.
IF A BODY MEETS A BODY shows the first full signs of a stroke. Not only has Curly's face changed, but his voice has now dropped & speach patterns become more labored. His energy levels have dropped noticably (a body double is used near the end).
MICROPHONIES gives hope for a recovery.
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A mere five weeks since Sony's third chronological compilation
of Three Stooges shorts dropped, along comes Volume 4. This
set showcases all 21 two reelers from the years 1943-1945.

Although it's not essential to view these shorts in chronological
order, it does help to see how the Stooges' pacing advanced. Their
earlier shorts had a slower pace to them. By this volume,
their manic style of slapstick was at its most feverish pace. And
by viewing them in release order on this set, it is very easy to see the
decline in Curly Howard's health. When viewing the shorts released in
1945, it is clear that Curly's performance has been altered noticeably by
the time "Booby Dupes" is screened.

The shorts on this set have one distinctive theme: they are more
cartoonish than ever before. The plots, such as they are, become
more transparent than the bald spot on Larry's head. With the lone
exception of the true classic "Micro Phonies", story and plot really take
a back seat during these years. Many feel that director Del Lord, who
is all over this set, lost his way during this period.

Overall, the restoration is on par with the previous three volumes. With the exception
of "Crash Goes The Hash" (with inferior audio) and "Idiots Deluxe" (which is riddled
with blemishes), the prints look and sound amazing. There are the usual soft spots
in some shorts (most noticeably in "No Dough Boys"), but other than that, they look
brand new.

Volume 4 finishes up the war years and has some of the most violent
and un PC Stoogery to be found in their stellar career.
Read more ›
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Verified Purchase
Sony Pictures is doing an excellent job with releasing the Stooges' films & have done so again in fine fashion with Volume Four! As described on the DVD box, these films represent the final years with Curly before a series of strokes forced him to retire from the act in 1946. This is evidenced in the last couple of shorts from 1945, especially in "If A Body Meets A Body", where it's painfully evident by watching Curly that his mannerisms have slowed & his speech has begun to slur.

Hopefully Sony will continue with the remarkable roll they've been on in releasing the shorts in order, especially the ones with Shemp shorts & even with Joe Besser.
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This fourth installment of THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION brings Moe,Larry and Curly in their adventures of the last of World War II. In THEY STOOGE TO CONGA,Moe,his brother Curly and Larry come around to repair an ill-functioning doorbell and replace wires on a telephone pole. Again,in one scene,we'll see Moe posing as Germany dictator Adolph Hitler,subbing for a framed photo,or painting of Hitler! DIZZY DETECTIVES begins with stock footage from 1935's PARDON MY SCOTCH,where the boys install a door in a drugstore. Curly does some power-sawing on the floor,with Moe underneath the not-yet-installed door and Curly saws a hole in the floor causing Moe to fall through downstairs. In the original scene,Larry tells Moe,"You only fell 14 feet!". They then receive word that they've been hired to join the local police force. They encounter a gorilla who is learning to rob like his owner and his gang members. BACK FROM THE FRONT is one of a few war-themed shorts with the boys on a ship,paying a short visit to their girlfriends' home while on a furlough. Again,we'll see Moe as Hitler,complete with square moustache. In SPOOK LOUDER,the boys have been hired to sublet an inventor's home while he travels to Washington,D.C. A trio of crooks in Halloween costumes plan to rob the home. In THREE LITTLE TWERPS,the poster-pasting Stooges join the circus. In another war-themed short,HIGHER THAN A KITE,the boys are service station attendants and end up politicians in Germany. Curly breaks a tooth(molar) in I CAN HARDLY WAIT. An exploding dynamite stick didn't cure Curly's toothache,nor did a pushed door(with a string around the knob with the other end of the string around Curly's aching tooth). But a punch in the mouth from Moe did! The tooth was extracted as a result of the punch.Read more ›
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