Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Featured DVD: Three Stooges: "Hapless Half-Wits"

A rarity from YouTube: Moe and Curly Joe live in 1967. (This isn't on the reviewed disc.)

Three Stooges: "Hapless Half-Wits: Columbia continues their abysmal treatment of the Three Stooges on DVD with this new release, out Feb. 20. Four more Stooges shorts -- two with Curly: "Beer Barrel Polecats" and "I'll Never Heil Again" and two with Shemp "Dopey Dicks" and "Brideless Groom" -- are featured in black-and-white and newly colorized versions, all billed as remastered in high definition. None of the shorts are the Stooges' best stuff and one, "Brideless Groom," has been reissued endlessly because it's in the public domain.
If you're buying this for the color versions, you'll find they look very clean and sharp. For some reason, though, the black and white versions look a bit fuzzy.
The bigger issue, though, is why Columbia persists in this piecemeal release treatment. The obvious answer is to squeeze money from the fans. The best and most respectful solution would be to release the entire Stooges' catalog in chronological box sets (black-and-white only, omitting the colorized versions), beginning with the early Curly shorts through the last ones with Joe DeRita.
Maybe someday those knuckleheads at Columbia will get it right.

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