The Three Stooges Collection, Vol. 2: 1937-1939 [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Three Little Sew and Sews
The Three Stooges play inept Navy tailors for the Republic of Telvana in this comic short. The Admiral has been invited to a luncheon by Count Gehrol, a possible spy, but Curly intercepts the telegram and puts on the Admiral's suit himself. Moe and Larry are temporarily tossed in the brig for hitting an officer -- Curly. But he gets them out (for five dollars), and they borrow a couple more officer uniforms and head for the luncheon. The count sends a woman-spy to get secret information out of Curly, and her technique sends him into throes of ecstasy; he also gets the seat of his pants stuck on a couch spring. When the real admiral shows up, the Stooges allow a policeman to cart him off as an impostor. "We'll be shot at sunrise for this," Moe remarks. "Maybe the sun won't come out tomorrow. It might rain," replies Curly, who promptly gets poked. The Stooges get into even more trouble when the Count and his female associate hold them at gun-point on a submarine, but somehow the boys manage to knock them unconscious. They also get the sub off the ocean floor only to discover that the Navy is trying to bomb it to keep it out of enemy hands. Some of the submarine footage for this short came from Columbia's 1937 film Devil's Playground. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Three Dumb Clucks
This Three Stooges comedy is actually a send up of Universal's Deanna Durbin film, Three Smart Girls. But instead of a trio of young lovelies who are out to save their father from marrying a gold digger, we have jailbirds Larry, Moe and Curly. They break out of prison when they receive a letter from their mother informing them that their father is about to make a fool out of himself. But ma -- and the Stooges -- don't know the half of it. "Daisy-waisie" isn't just a gold digger, she's one of a group of con artists who are planning to knock off the old man as soon as the wedding is over. Pa Stooge is a dead-ringer for his son Curly (both parts are played by Curly Howard), especially when he shaves off his mutton chop sideburns. The boys use this to their advantage and the girl winds up at the altar with Curly instead of his rich dad. But then dad heads for the reception, and the thugs can't figure out who they're trying to kill. The Stooges find themselves corner! ed and climb a flagpole, only to be dropped off the roof of the towering apartment building by the thugs. Luckily, an awning breaks their fall -- as does their dad, who is on the sidewalk below. The Stooges promptly get up, grab dad by the legs and drag him home to old ma. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Saved by the Belle
This especially wacky Three Stooges short was directed by comedian Charley Chase. The boys are traveling salesmen in the South American country of Valeska. The lazy town is only slightly stirred awake by its frequent earthquakes, nevertheless, there is a revolution brewing. The revolutionary leader also happens to run the hotel where the Stooges are staying, and he decides to close the place down. The only problem is that the guys can't pay their bill and they wind up at the police station -- unfortunately, debtors in Valeska are shot. But Curly has been flirting with Rita, another member of the revolutionaries, and she helps the Stooges escape. They are supposed to take a map of the president's mansion to the revolutionaries' headquarters, but they accidentally grab a calendar instead. When they arrive they are horrified to be faced with the hotel owner -- especially when it's revealed that all they have is the calendar. Rita comes through with the map, but the hotel owner wants to shoot them anyway. A timely earthquake enables the boys to escape in a truck. The only problem is that the truck is loaded with explosives. Not surprisingly, it detonates and the Stooges go flying. A swaybacked horse breaks their fall and they gallop off. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

The Sitter-Downers
The ever-growing unionization during the 1930s forms the very basis for this Three Stooges short. The Stooges are courting three sisters -- Corabelle, Florabelle and Dorabelle. Unfortunately, their father, Mr. Bell, refuses to give the happy couples his blessing. Since they can't wed the girls, the Stooges hold a sit-down strike and camp out at dad's home for three weeks. Finally Mr. Bell relents -- and then the Stooges have to figure out which guy gets which girl. They solve the problem by pulling names out of a hat. Because their strike was so widely publicized, the newlyweds have received a load of gifts, including a plot of land and a precut house. The house, however, has to be put together. At first the Stooges refuse to start building, since they're on their honeymoon, but this time their attempt to strike doesn't work out so well. Their blushing brides slug them and Florabelle (the biggest of the three) says, "The honeymoon starts when the house is finished!" So the Stooges get down to work with predictably disastrous results. The final product rivals Buster Keaton's contorted contraption in One Week. Florabelle notices a post in the middle of what appears to be the living room and, thinking it shouldn't be there, pulls it out. But it's the only thing holding the place up, and the walls come crashing down around the three couples. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Goofs and Saddles
The Three Stooges actually play different characters here (or at least they have different names, different hairstyles, and different mustaches) -- Curly is Buffalo Bilious, Moe is Wild Bill Hiccup, and Larry is Just Plain Bill. They are General Muster's three best scouts, and now that the Indian problem is solved, he needs them to round up a gang of cattle rustlers. At first this sounds like bad news for General Muster and his men but, surprisingly, the boys are nearly halfway competent -- either that, or the rustlers are even more stupid than they are. Disguised as big gamblers from the West (sans mustaches and back to their usual hair), the Stooges head over to the Longhorn saloon, where they sit down to a card game with Longhorn Pete, the proprietor -- who's also the head of the rustlers. They've sent a note, via pigeon, asking for reinforcements, but the bird happens to be Pete's pet and their identities are uncovered. They escape in a wagon containing pots and pans which they toss out to stall their pursuers. There's also a monkey who terrorizes Curly. They wind up at a cabin where they shoot it out with the bad guys. When some bullets accidentally fall into a meat grinder Curly is using, it becomes a machine-gun-like device. The Stooges vanquish the rustlers and, as they are being congratulated, the monkey takes over the meat grinder and sends them off in a hail of bullets. Some shots from this picture would be recycled in 1954's Pals and Gals. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Mutts to You
This Three Stooges short was one of four directed by comedian Charley Chase. The boys play dog-groomers who use a conveyor belt contrivance that would make Rube Goldberg proud -- it includes six mechanical hands to wash the pooch, and Curly rides a stationary bicycle to run the rinse. A couple has a fight over whether the husband can bring his dog on their trip to Palm Springs and she goes home. Because the front door is locked, she leaves her baby on the doorstep while letting herself in through the back way. The Stooges, on their way home, see the baby and assume it has been abandoned. They decide to take it to the police station but can't resist bringing the tot home for a visit first, even though their landlord (Vernon Dent) doesn't allow children. The parents assume the baby has been kidnapped, and the Stooges find themselves in hot water. They disguise Curly as the baby's mother, hoping to get to the police station with some semblance of calm. Of course this ploy doesn't work -- they've stuffed sponges into Curly's stockings to make his skinny legs more shapely and when sprinklers are turned on, his lumpen legs give his disguise away. Now dressed up as Chinese laundrymen with Curly and the baby hiding in a cart, they run from a cop (Bud Jamison, sporting an Irish accent). They're caught, but the husband recognizes the Stooges as the dog groomers and all is forgiven. Because the baby's so filthy they offer to wash it on the conveyor belt, but Curly makes it go haywire and the mechanical hands spank the baby. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Cash and Carry
In her third Three Stooges short, pretty Harley Wood (aka Harlene Wood) played a young girl living with her crippled kid brother (Sonny Bupp) in a junkyard shack. The two unfortunates are saved by the Stooges, who have come into possession of what they believe to be a treasure map. The treasure, alas, proves to be a federal treasury vault and the boys are promptly arrested. Their fate is brought to the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who not only pardons the three inept treasure hunters, but also pays for an operation for Sonny. Clyde Bruckman and Elwood Ullman's screenplay was reworked by Andy Clyde, twice, as A Miner Affair (1945) and Two April Fools (1954). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Flat Foot Stooges
As in their earlier False Alarms (1936), the Three Stooges play firemen in this two-reel farce directed by comedian Charley Chase. The engine company in question is somewhat old fashioned and employs horse-powered engines. In an effort to upgrade the equipment, a salesman mistakenly fuels his engine with gun powder. Realizing too late that the fire is in their own fire station, the Stooges manage to arrive just in time to save the captain's daughter (Lola Jensen) from the flames. Chase directed five Stooges comedies, including the delightful Violent is the Word for Curly (1938). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

A-Ducking They Did Go
As so often in their comic shorts, The Three Stooges start off here in the ranks of the gainfully unemployed. After an unsuccessful attempt to steal a watermelon, which lands them in trouble with a cop, the boys wind up at the offices of the Canvas Back Duck Club. The club needs some salesmen and the Stooges insist they're "the best salesmen that ever saled" (the same line they used in Dizzy Doctors). They have no trouble getting the job because, unbeknownst to them, the whole thing is a scam. Dressed in duck-hunting gear, Larry, Moe, and Curly invade the police station and barge right into the office of the chief (Bud Jamison). They convince him and the mayor -- and the whole police force for that matter -- to join up. By the time the group arrives at the lodge, the "club owners" are long gone, and an old man assures them that there are no ducks to be found. In a panic, Moe and Larry try to solve this dilemma by hurling decoys over the pond. Curly arrives at last with a large flock of ducks and leads them into the water. The delighted cops shoot away, and the Stooges decide to get some ducks for themselves. They row a boat out into the pond, where Curly and Larry promptly shoot holes in its bottom. Curly has an altercation with a duck that spits water in his face. When the old man shows up ranting that he owns all the ducks that were shot, the cops realize they've been swindled and point their guns at the Stooges. The boys leap over a bush, land on a trio of bucking steers (the same shot that ends Pain in the Pullman), and dash off. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Termites of 1938
Almost like a special bonus, the slapstick of this Three Stooges short is sprinkled with a few dashes of subtle humor. When a husband insists on going fishing, leaving his wife mate-less for a big society bash, her friend suggests she call the Acme Escort Service. "I hope they're discriminating," the matron remarks as her African-American maid cocks an eyebrow. The maid, it turns out, calls Acme Exterminators instead of Acme Escort, which introduces the Stooges. They are in the midst of trying out Moe's new mouse catching contraption, which involves a cannon and a lot of string. The mouse proves to be smarter than the Stooges, however, and detonates the cannon, sending Moe's head into the wall. Just then the phone rings and Moe, now hard of hearing, thinks the woman, who wants the "best man for a dance," is requesting a "pest man for ants." The Stooges show up at the mansion appropriately dressed, but that's the only thing about them that winds up being appropriate. The guest of honor is a British chap who is visiting the States for the first time and at dinner, he carefully follows the Stooges' atrocious table manners. In turn, the other guests are forced to follow him, as he tosses olives in the air and spears the squab with corn-on-the-cob holders. Then the Stooges replace the musical entertainment for a little number of their own, played to a recording of a marching band. Mice appear, and the Stooges finally hunker down to work. But they're clearly the ones who are the real pests and finally the matron's husband returns from his trip. He swears never to go fishing again and chases the Stooges away. As they drive off, he tosses a gopher bomb into their auto. An enormous explosion destroys the car and the boys' evening clothes. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Wee Wee Monsieur
The Three Stooges play aspiring artists in this comic short. They're honing their craft in "Paris -- somewhere in France" (as the title card helpfully offers). The boys are no better at art and music than they were at the blue-collar jobs they had in their other films. They're eight months behind on the rent and the landlord is furious. In an attempt to escape his wrath, the Stooges dash into an office of the Foreign Legion. Believing that the organization is somehow related to the American Legion, they sign up for what they believe is passage home to America. In reality, they've been contracted for a term of service in the desert. Their commanding officer (Bud Jamison) orders them to keep guard over Captain Gorgonzola. Predictably, the captain is kidnapped by bandits almost immediately. Faced with the firing squad, the Stooges beg for a chance to rescue the captain. Because no white man has ever entered the chief's domain, the Stooges disguise themselves as a trio of Santa Clauses and manage to sneak their way in. When they encounter the chief's harem and start playing games with the girls, Curly gives their presence away. They escape from the bandits long enough to dress up as harem members and are able to knock the chief and his slave unconscious. Unfortunately, they take a wrong turn with the captain and end up in the lion's den. They're able to vanquish the beast and hook him up to a cart like a horse. The lion takes them back to headquarters. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Grips, Grunts and Groans
In this classic Three Stooges short, the boys are tramps on the lam from the railroad police when they happen in on an athletic club. They are enlisted as sparring partners, but when a wrestler, Bustoff, takes a liking to them, they are given the tough assignment of keeping him sober until his big match that night. Of course they are unsuccessful -- in fact, they add insult to injury by knocking him out with a pair of barbells and a locker -- but, with a quick exchange of whiskers they decide that Curly Howard looks enough like Bustoff to go in the ring. Earlier in the picture, it has been revealed that Curly goes haywire when he smells the perfume "Wild Hyacinth," and luckily a woman in the audience has a bottle of the scent. Curly goes from being a sure loser to braining everyone in his general vicinity -- including himself, with the help of the bell. This short has quite a lot in common with the Stooges' 1934 comedy, Punch Drunks. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Playing the Ponies
The Three Stooges are restaurateurs who get into the horseracing business in this comic short. Quitting the restaurant is probably not such a bad idea; Curly makes chicken soup by pouring hot water over a chicken carcass, and makes fresh filet of sole by casting a line out the window into the ocean and pulling up an old boot. Moe and Larry wonder about the possibilities of horseracing, and a man who owns a loser horse believes them to be easy marks. He trades them the restaurant for Thunderbolt, the horse -- who turns out to be rail-thin and swaybacked. Even Curly can beat him around the track. Then the Stooges kick-start Thunderbolt's racing skills after accidentally feeding him hot chili peppers, which speed him up considerably. The boys wind up entering their steed in a big race. Larry (with a handful of the hot chilies) is the jockey. Although Thunderbolt starts off in the wrong direction, the chilies soon have him passing every other horse on the track, helped along by Moe and Curly, who are driving alongside him with a pail of water just out of reach. The last we see of the boys, they're wealthy and sitting down to a fine meal (a turkey apiece) -- and Thunderbolt is at the table, too. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb
The Three Stooges strike it rich -- at least temporarily -- in this comic short. While Moe and Larry are playing cards (using pancakes as chips), Curly is trying to come up with a winning slogan for a radio contest involving Stickfast glue. The only result of his efforts is that Moe accidentally glues his mouth shut. But Curly does win fifty thousand dollars from Coffin Nail Cigarettes and they boys are in the money. Dressed in tuxedos, they check into the Hotel Costa Plenty, where the manager has the misfortune of putting them in the same room as a five thousand dollar Ming vase, and a bed that dates back to Henry VIII (they're more used to Sears Roebuck the third). Needless to say, both items wind up thoroughly destroyed. To their relief, the Stooges receive the telegram containing the prize money -- but after taxes it only amounts to $4.85. The suspicious manager plants a hotel detective (Bud Jamison) outside their door as the boys plot an escape. Meanwhile, down the hall, three scheming women are plotting to nab the supposedly rich Stooges. After they've tricked marriage proposals out of the boys, they find the telegram. While the hotel manager is on his way up the fire escape to catch the Stooges, the girls storm over to their suite and knock them out with a trio of empty champagne bottles. This picture was remade with Shemp Howard in 1952 as A Missed Fortune. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Back to the Woods
The Three Stooges are lawbreakers in merry olde England in this comic short. For their crimes, the Stooges are sent to the American colonies to defend the Pilgrim settlement against Indians. They arrive, muskets in hand, and proceed to flirt with the daughters of the governor (Vernon Dent). But they get down to business soon enough, as the Indians demand "five thousands shekels" for peace, a far greater sum than the Pilgrims have. While hunting for turkey the Stooges head for the outskirts of Plymouth (you can tell they've reached it by the signs). They mistake the Indians' headdresses for birds and fire, and the battle is on. Larry is caught and tied to a tree. Moe and Curly come to his rescue, knocking out the Indians with their clubs, and then Curly knocks out Moe. Larry faints and when Curly tosses water on him, he misses and wakes up the unconscious Indians, who give chase. The Stooges finally escape in a motorized canoe -- a shot stolen from an earlier short, Whoops, I'm an Indian. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Violent Is the Word for Curly
Comedian Charley Chase not only directed this two-reel farce, one of the Three Stooges' most popular, but also contributed a novelty song, "Swingin' the Alphabet." The Stooges are gas station attendants mistaken for European professors and hired by the Mildew Women's College. When the real professors turn up, The Stooges manage to convince a rich benefactress that athletics are more important than scholarly learning -- until, that is, a football filled with nitroglycerin rather makes the question moot. A pun on the tearjerker Valiant Is the Word for Carrie (1936), this two-reel comedy remains a favorite by the legion of Stooges fans. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Three Missing Links
In this Three Stooges comedy, the boys wind up starring in a big movie. First, of course, they start off on the low end of the blue-collar scale -- they're janitors for a movie studio. B.O. Botswaddle, president of Super Terrific Productions, is looking for a co-star for his temperamental leading lady (Jane Hamilton) when the Stooges arrive to clean his office. They create so much havoc that Botswaddle fires them. The boys beg desperately for another chance and it turns out they are aspiring actors. To prove it, Curly does his imitation of a "chicken with its head cut off." His comic contortions (actually a series of his classic moves, including spinning around on the floor) impress Botswaddle, who decides Curly is the "missing link." Moe and Larry are -- what else? -- Neanderthal cave men. They are hired for the film and travel to the African location for shooting. The Stooges run afoul of a Dr. Ba Loni Sulami, a cannibalistic medicine man -- but not before Curly purchases some "love candy" from him in hopes of impressing the leading lady. The candy does wind up serving a useful purpose, while Curly, dressed as a gorilla, is getting ready for his scene, a real gorilla shows up and terrorizes the film crew. Curly eats some of the "love candy" and becomes passionately amorous towards the gorilla. This scares the big ape, who runs off in a panic. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

We Want Our Mummy
The Three Stooges found themselves in Egypt in this typical two-reel farce, the team's second release of 1939. Hired by the respected Museum of Ancient History to return a kidnapped archaeologist (Bud Jamison), private eyes Moe, Larry, and Curly travel to the Pyramids and the Tomb of Rutentuten. In order to fool the kidnappers, Curly is wrapped in bandages like a mummy, the absolute highlight in an otherwise below-average Stooges short. We Want Our Mummy marked the return to the series of Eddie Laughton, a veteran stock company member who had been absent for the previous 13 entries. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Three Sappy People
While working in a doctor's office, the Three Stooges are mistaken for psychiatrists Ziller, Zeller, and Zoller. Hired by millionaire Don Beddoe to cure his giddy wife, Lorna Gray, the Stooges proceed only to wreck a fancy dinner party as only they can. Their antics, however, cure the wife and they are rewarded for their good work. One of the team's better two-reelers, this riotous farce was written by the veteran Clyde Bruckman and directed by producer Jules White. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise
The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry, and Curly), are tramps in this two-reel comedy directed by Jules White. The boys come to the assistance of the Widow Jenkins (Eva McKenzie), who has just been cheated out of her land by a couple of swindlers (Dick Curtis and Richard Fiske). Attempting to fix the woman's well, the Stooges instead unleash an oil geyser. They manage to retrieve the deed to the land and are allowed to marry the now wealthy Widow Jenkins' daughters, April (Linda Winters), May (Lorna Gray), and June (Dorothy Moore). Starlets Winters and Gray later gained some notoriety under different names. Miss Winters became Dorothy Comingore and played Susan Alexander, the tragically untalented singer in Citizen Kane (1941). Miss Gray later signed with Republic Pictures and played Western heroines as Adrian Booth. Footage from Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise ended up in the similar Oil's Well that Ends Well (1958). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Dizzy Doctors
This Three Stooges comedy is especially fast-paced. The boys wake up at their usual time -- 11 a.m. -- and fix themselves breakfast, only to have their wives come home and threaten divorce if they don't find work. So they land jobs as salesmen for Brighto, a miracle medicine that "brightens old bodies." The Stooges never bother reading the label, however, and don't even know what it's for: "It's for sale!" Moe declares. They proceed to show off Brighto's many attributes to potential customers but, unfortunately, the formula eats through everything -- shoes, a policeman's jacket, car paint -- and the Stooges find themselves pursued by several angry men. When Dr. Brighto tells them that the stuff is medicine, they try their luck selling it at the Los Arms hospital. After creating much mayhem amongst the patients, they discover that the supervisor (Vernon Dent) is the man whose car-finish they destroyed. After a frantic chase, the Stooges sail out of the hospital on a gurney. It smashes into a car and the boys dive into the window of their own apartment -- right back into bed. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Tassels in the Air
This Three Stooges short was one of a handful directed by comedian Charley Chase. While the trio's films with Chase were no less funny than the ones they made with Jules White or any of the other directors in the Columbia shorts department, though the violence was toned down in favor of other types of visual humor. This comedy in particular shows Chase's more subtle touch. It opens up with a nouveau riche couple -- before coming into money, the husband (Bud Jamison) was a mailman. That doesn't dampen the wife's social aspirations; she believes that by getting famed interior designer Omay to do their home, they may just wind up in "Who's Who." Omay's offices, unfortunately for him, happen to be located in the office building where the Stooges are working as janitors; although, at the moment, Curly and Larry are playing checkers on the floor with paint cans. Because of a mix-up, the ambitious society wife believes Moe is Omay (which actually is "Moe" in Pig Latin), and the Stooges wind up in her mansion. They start off by painting over a Louis XVI table and disaster follows upon disaster. During a card game thrown by the matron, it is revealed that her friend was getting a commission from Omay, who believes that the Stooges have stolen the assignment from him by offering her a bigger piece of the pie. The wife's three friends leave in a huff, and when the Stooges try to douse them with paint, the cans fall on their own heads instead. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Calling All Curs
In this typical Columbia two-reel comedy, the Three Stooges play dog groomers whose chief client, Symona Boniface's pooch Garçon, has been kidnapped by thieves masquerading as reporters. Never without resolve, the Stooges try to pass off a mutt as Garçon but Symona is no fool. They then enlist the help of a team of bloodhounds who leads them straight to the kidnappers' hideout -- where Garçon is caring for "his" litter. Written by Thea Goodman, Searle Kramer, and the tireless Elwood Ullman, this Stooges comedy was the second to be directed by the team's producer, Jules White. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Yes, We Have No Bonanza
In this comic short, The Three Stooges play singing waiters in a saloon out West. Their songs are accompanied by three pretty cowgirls who also work in the saloon and are their sweethearts. Unfortunately, the saloon keeper is cruel and he berates the girls, who are forced to work for him because their father is deeply in debt. The Stooges are determined to make enough money to pay off the debt and wed the girls, and decide to go prospecting for gold. What they don't know is that the saloon keeper has robbed a bank and buried the loot. Because of their careless use of dynamite, the boys uncover the spoils and believe they've struck it rich. They return to town to register their claim only to be pursued by the furious saloon keeper. When he gets his hands on the loot and drives off, the Stooges follow on a wooden cigar store horse which Moe has managed to lasso onto the back of the villain's vehicle. They all arrive at the jail (collide with it, actually), where the Stooges get one last surprise for the day. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

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