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Three Stooges


Spook Louder

Spook Louder Lowest new price: $1.99
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A Bird In The Head

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The Ghost Talks

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4 for Texas

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Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes)

Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 1 (If You Could Only Cook / Too Many Husbands / My Sister Eileen / She Wouldn't Say Yes) Lowest new price: $9.56
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Model: 5457493

The Screwball Comedy was virtually invented at Columbia Studios, during the height of the depression. Following the huge success of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Columbia would make more of these madcap romantic comedies than any other studio. Typical "Screwballs" features marital mix-ups and plenty of opportunities to poke fun at the wealthy, while allowing audiences to dwell in the luxury of the upper-class. These films also offered some of the best roles for actresses in this period, such as working-girls in a man's world (Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday), or socially liberal gals battling restrictive upper-crust society (Katharine Hepburn in Holiday). A breezy approach to male and female roles was a hallmark of the Screwball Comedy. For this collection, the studio digs deep into its vaults for four classics of the genre. Jean Arthur stars as a down-on-her-luck cook who charms a millionaire (Herbert Marshall) into playing along as her husband so they can get wor

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The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 6: 1949-1951

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 6: 1949-1951 Lowest new price: $7.00
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Brand: Paramount
Model: 5215386

The Three Stooges return with the next 24 digtially remastered shorts covering the years 1949-1951 in this sixth collection, which continues with Shemp as the third Stooge, who had stepped in two years earlier to fill the shoes left empty when Curly became ill and retired. This collection contains such classics as MERRY MAVERICKS (1951), a reworking of PHONY EXPRESS (1943) featuring Red Morgan and his gang of bandits; SELF MADE MAIDS (1950), in which the Stooges not only play themselves but assume the roles of their fiances, their fiances father (played by Moe) and their three babies; and DON'T THROW THAT KNIFE (1951), which features Larry, Moe and Shemp in brilliant improvisation with nothing but household items while confined to a single room. The Three Stooges Collection Volume 6 showcases Larry, Moe and Shemp at their best - and things just keep getting better!

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

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 8: 1955-1959 Lowest new price: $6.50
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Brand: Columbia Tri Star
Model: 7314559

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

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Soup to Nuts with the Three Stooges

Soup to Nuts with the Three Stooges Lowest new price: $3.00
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Mr. Schmidt's costume store is bankrupt because he spends his time on Rube Goldberg-style inventions; the creditors send a young manager who falls for Schmidt's niece Louise, but she'll have none of him. Schmidt's friends Ted, Queenie, and some goofy firemen try to help out; things come to a slapstick head when Louise needs rescuing from a fire.

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The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 7: 1952-1954

The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 7: 1952-1954 Lowest new price: $4.99
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Brand: Paramount
Model: 5820784

These 22 digitally remastered shorts from 1952-1954 were made during a tumultuous time for The Three Stooges. First, in 1952 Curly succumbed to the illness brought on by his stroke six years earlier; he was only forty-eight when he died. Shemp had really hit his stride by this time and he is at the top of his game in the new shorts from this period, but budget cutbacks at Columbia forced director Jules White to recycle some old footage, so although the work in this collection is first-rate, one can't help but wonder what could have been done if they'd had the opportunity to develop more new material. Fortunately, this era did leave us with such classics as the Stooges' first 3-D short, SPOOKS! (1953) and PARDON MY BACKFIRE (1953); SHOT IN THE FRONTIER (1954) a parody of the classic film High Noon; and Larry's hilarious spook of Brando in CUCKOO ON A CHOO CHOO (1952). These shorts are all presented as they were projected in the theatres; some in widescreen for the first time since their

What chills, what thrills! While the Three Stooges' best days were behind them, these 22 slaphappy shorts produced between 1952 and 1954 demonstrate that the enduring comedy team still had a lot of hair-pulling, eye-gouging, and head-banging life in them yet. You can be forgiven a certain amount of déjà vu when watching some of the shorts. Studio budget cuts necessitated the use of recycled footage. "Booty and the Beast," for one, contains Curly's now-poignant cameo in "Hold That Lion." Still other shorts recycled plots from the team's Curly days ("A Missed Fortune" is a remake of "Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb"). While none of these shorts rank in the Stooges pantheon or are likely to change anyone's anti-Shemp bias (can't we all just get along?), they are knockabout fun for die-hard fans. The highlights of this set are "Spooks!" and "Pardon My Backfire," the team's pioneering forays into 3-D. An engagement anniversary cake, water, fire, and hypodermic needle comin' at ya are crude but effective. Other shorts offer sublimely surreal silliness. In "Cuckoo on a Choo Choo," a T-shirted Larry storms around like a Marlon Brando wannabe, while a soused Shemp hallucinates a giant canary. The vaudeville tradition lives on in "Tricky Dicks," with god-awful gags (the old "wooden leg named Smith" bit) and bizarre dialogue ("How dare you look like someone I hate," a woman greets Larry). The political satire "Three Dark Horses" is a fine example of the classic Stooges formula, in which villains seek three patsies "who are too dumb to think and will do what we tell them. Now where do we find such guys?" Enter the Stooges. But others, like "He Cooked His Goose," break convention by presenting Moe, Larry, and Shemp as individuals rather than a team. While the Stooges themselves may be showing their ages, the slapstick, expertly timed and exquisitely choreographed, never gets old. --Donald Liebenson

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Cuckoo On A Choo Choo

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