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With: Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Moe Howard, Vernon Dent, Bud Jamison, Eddie Laughton, Al Thompson, John Tyrrell, Lynton Brent, Symona Boniface, Dorothy Appleby, Ethelreda Leopold, Bess Flowers, Dudley Dickerson
Written by: Felix Adler, Clyde Bruckman, Elwood Ullman, Harry Edwards, Ewart Adamson, John Grey, Lloyd French, Jack White, Saul Ward, Monte Collins
Directed by: Jules White, Del Lord
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 396
Date: 18/03/2013

The Three Stooges Collection Volume 3: 1940-1942 (2008)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Numbskulls and Nitwits

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy The Three Stooges Collection Volume 3: 1940-1942 on DVD

Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard did not exactly represent the apex of American comedy. Their short films were crude and obvious and rarely showed any hint of cinematic excellence. And yet they have exuberance and a bald-faced joy that makes them irresistible. Even intellectuals can find themselves laughing at their overblown antics. Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have long made the Three Stooges shorts available on home video; their most recent efforts cobbled together four or five random shorts on a single disc (supposedly grouped by theme or subject matter). Now for the first time the Stooges get some respect with these new chronological releases. Volume Three covers the years 1940 to 1942, with 23 shorts on two discs. And best of all: every single short features Curly! Highlights include the fan favorite A Plumbing We Will Go (1940), In the Sweet Pie and Pie (1941), No Census, No Feeling (1940), An Ache in Every Stake (1941) and How High Is Up? (1940), this last featuring the famous stairs used by Laurel and Hardy in The Music Box (1932). In the Stooge version, the boys must get a cake of ice to the top before it melts. But the most prominent shorts here are the wartime parodies You Nazty Spy! (1940) and its sequel I'll Never Heil Again (1941), in which Moe plays a Hitler-like dictator. They're quite a bit broader than Chaplin's effort from later the same year, The Great Dictator, but they show a unique, admirable, blundering bravery. According to legend, Hitler saw the films and put out a contract on the Stooges! (One of the writers during this time, Clyde Bruckman, had worked with Buster Keaton during the silent era.)

You Nazty Spy! (1940)
Rockin' Thru the Rockies (1940)
A Plumbing We Will Go (1940)
Nutty But Nice (1940)
How High Is Up? (1940)
From Nurse to Worse (1940)
No Census, No Feeling (1940)
Cookoo Cavaliers (1940)
Boobs in Arms (1940)
So Long Mr. Chumps (1941)
Dutiful But Dumb (1941)
All the World's a Stooge (1941)
I'll Never Heil Again (1941)
An Ache in Every Stake (1941)
In the Sweet Pie and Pie (1941)
Some More of Samoa (1941)
Loco Boy Makes Good (1942)
Cactus Makes Perfect (1942)
What's the Matador (1942)
Matri-Phony (1942)
Three Smart Saps (1942)
Even as I.O.U (1942)
Sock-a-Bye Baby (1942)

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