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

 
Classic slapstick and silliness with some stereotyping.
  • Review Date: April 7, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 360 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

This collection serves as a prime example of the outrageous Three Stooges comedy franchise that continues to engage kids and adults after more than half a century.

Positive messages

There is a pro-underdog message in that even the bumbling good guys win, while all bad guys lose. The Stooges show that families stick together for better or worse. But the racial and ethnic stereotyping, while mainstream at the time these shorts were made, don't send a good message to kids.

Positive role models

Both heroes and villains are portrayed as bumbling, clueless, and accident-prone. Produced during World War II, many of these shorts include crude, comic stereotypes of Germans (identified as "Nazis") and the Japanese (called "Japs"). African-American caricatures, reflecting the mindset of the 1940s (subservient jobs, bug-eyed expressions, ignorance), appear throughout the films.

Violence & scariness

Extreme slapstick from beginning to end, most of which would have serious consequences in real life. The Stooges (and their foes) are: drilled, shot at, drenched, exploded, crushed, gouged, spiked, hammered, slapped (hard and often), poked, twisted, burned, guillotined, punched, pounded, sawed, electrocuted, smacked, hit with pies, and dropped from high places. They are often stalked and/or frightened by spooky, threatening characters (most created with cheesy special effects): apeman, skeleton, talking statues, mummies, World War II villains, The Wolfman, mad scientists, thieves, etc. No one is ever severely injured; though villains are knocked out and blown up, none appears dead.

 

Sexy stuff

The Stooges occasionally ogle pretty women. Some overblown kisses.

Language

Plenty of insults: "idiot," "grapehead," "porcupine," "dummy," and many more. Many of the shorts include ethnic slurs, directed at U.S. wartime enemies (i.e. "Japs").

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional cigar smoking and chomping.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that extreme slapstick violence is non-stop from beginning to end in each of these shorts including scores of head poundings with wrenches, hammers, boards, lamps, shoes. There are explosions, gunshots, collapsing buildings, as well as lots of pies-in-the face. Silly plots serve to keep the Stooges in harm's way at all times -- and they wreak havoc on everyone who has the bad luck to meet up with them. Made during the mid-1940s, many of the films include ugly stereotypes of American WWII enemies (the Japanese are called "Japs" throughout), and African-Americans are all depicted as lowly caricatures. Women and girls are either ogled or portrayed as repressed and bossy. Still, the Three Stooges have a long history of appealing to that juvenile part of human nature that keeps both kids and adults laughing at the hapless calamity of others.

What's the story?

There were nearly 200 Three Stooges shorts produced. THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION: VOL. 4 contains two discs, with 21 short films in chronological order. Each one is about 15 minutes long and stars the original Moe, Larry, and Curly at the height of their pratfall prowess. Plots involve the human punching bags accidentally uncovering an evil plot or hulking monster or a den of thieves or scary legends (i.e. The Wolfman, ghosts, bodies). Because these shorts were made during World War II, many of the stories and villains involve U.S. enemies in that war: Germans and Japanese, spies and saboteurs. The Stooges cover the gamut of jobs: they're sailors, house painters, policemen, cowboys, repairmen, salesmen, inventors, and more. Wrong identity plays a part in a number of the stories; they're mistaken for opera singers, doctors, even journalists! Despite their outrageous haplessness, the dimwitted heroes always win the day.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This collection includes some of the most beloved Stooges shorts ("Micro Phonies," "Three Little Pirates," "Dizzy Pilots," "Crash Goes the Hash") as well as some forgettable ones -- even a few that are simply not funny. More than half-a-century old, there is some blatant stereotyping and offensive language. The set leads off with one of the most "violent" of all of the shorts, "They Stooge to Conga," in which Moe gets spiked in the head, ear and eye while trying to help Curly.

Generations of devoted fans have kept the Three Stooges in the public eye, even made them a cultural phenomenon. For those who love silliness to the extreme and abounding farcical violence, this is a classic set. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the exaggerated comic violence in these shorts. How is it different from real violence? Why do you think we laugh at other people getting their heads bashed?

  • Talk about how stereotypes based on race and nationality run through many of the films. How has the media changed since these films were made in the 1940s?

  • Why are these stereotypes not acceptable today? Do you think it affects our view of other cultures and races to see them as portrayed as cartoon characters, even if it's "just for laughs"?

Movie details

DVD release date:October 7, 2008
Cast:Curly Howard, Larry Fine, Moe Howard
Directors:Del Lord, Edward Bernds, Harry Edwards, Jules White
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:360 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Three Stooges Collection: Vol. 4, 1943-1945 was written by

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Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy January 9, 2013
age 8+
 

I love The Three Stooges.

I've been a huge fan of The Three Stooges ever since I was little.I really like them,still.The slapstick humor is funny,the show had some of my best childhod memories,the acting was superb,and it was fun to watch.The 2012 movie was awesome too.
Kid, 12 years old May 23, 2012
age 6+
 

The Three Stooges

It's a great show to sit back and laugh to!
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byThepotatoman23 November 11, 2014
age 5+
 

The Three Stooges

Best Comedic Trio Ever!!! Sure there's violence, but it's the three stooges!!! What do you expect? Some violence, ogling, and stereotypicality, but it's all played for laughs. Some episodes, The stooges smoke, but also played for laughs.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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