The Three Stooges: Cops and Robbers [DVD]

Wackiness ensues with Larry, Curly, and Moe in The Three Stooges: Cops and Robbers. Each of these six shorts (spanning 1936-1949) is presented in 1.33:1 full frame in black-and-white. The images all look decent, though limitations in the original source materials assure a generous amount of dirt, grain, and scratches in the image. While none of these shorts look great, overall this is most likely the best they will ever appear on DVD. The soundtracks are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and feature front-heavy audio mixes through only the center speakers. Much like the video transfers, these soundtracks are about as good as it's going to get for Three Stooges fans. Sadly, no extra-added insight is featured on this disc -- without a single supplement available, The Three Stooges: Cops and Robbers is a completely bare-bones disc.
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Special Features

  • Digitally mastered audio & video
  • Remastered in high definition
  • Full screen presentations
  • Audio: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Episode selections
  • Animated menus
  • Closed Captioned


Who Done It?
The Three Stooges play inept detectives in this Columbia comedy. Wealthy Mr. Goodrich (Emil Sitka) is very nervous because the Phantom Gang has been knocking off men just like himself, and he has been informed that he will be next. He frantically calls the Alert Detective Agency because the detectives he has hired are late. It turns out they are the Stooges, who have been robbed and bound. With the help of the security guard, they free themselves and head for Mr. Goodrich's home. Unfortunately, the old man has already been knocked unconscious and they're greeted by the gang, one of whom is Goodrich's butler. The female member (Christine McIntyre) claims to be Goodrich's niece, and sneaks poison into Shemp's drink, sending him into a spasmodic (and very funny) fit. A big goon proceeds to chase the Stooges up and down the halls of the house, but they manage to evade him long enough to find Mr. Goodrich in a hidden panel. "A corpus!" says Shemp. But Goodrich isn't dead, merely stunned -- he's a fine music lover and the gang tortured him by forcing him to listen to singing commercials. The crooks gang up on them and Goodrich turns out the lights. The ensuing melee goes on in darkness, punctuated whenever someone lights a match (generally to say a one-liner). When the lights come back on, the crooks have all been knocked cold, thanks to Shemp's use of a small fireplace shovel. While showing off his moves, he knocks the other Stooges and Goodrich unconscious. Dismayed by what he's done, he knocks himself out, too. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Crime on Their Hands
Even with a combined I.Q. that's in the negative column, The Three Stooges still manage to outwit a gang of crooks. The bad guys, led by Dapper (Kenneth MacDonald), have stolen the famed Punjab diamond and the heist has hit the front pages. At the newsroom, editor J.L. Cameron warns the Stooges, "This is a tough assignment. Can you cover it?" But he's not talking about the heist -- the Stooges are janitors and he is handing them a mangled chair cushion. They're more than happy to do the job, but would rather be cub reporters. While Cameron is out of the office, a tip comes in regarding the diamond's whereabouts and our boys are on their way. They show up at McGuffy's cafe asking for Dapper and convince everyone in the joint that they're cops. In an upstairs room they find Dapper's moll (Christine McIntyre), who has hidden the diamond in a candy dish. Shemp swallows the gem along with some mints and then the moll finds out the Stooges are reporters. She calls in Dapper and his henchman and everyone tries to get the diamond out of Shemp. Nothing works, so Dapper decides to cut him open. Moe and Larry are stuffed into a closet while their pal is tied down to a table. Luckily there happens to be some tools in the closet, and Moe and Larry saw their way out -- right into a gorilla's cage (why the gorilla is there is completely irrelevant to the story). The gorilla storms into the closet and winds up tossing the crooks around like they're rag dolls. In Shemp, however, the beast finds a kindred spirit. By the time Moe and Larry have gotten help, the crooks are knocked out and Shemp and the gorilla have bonded. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Disorder in the Court
Directed by Jack White (under his usual pseudonym of Preston Black), this two-reel courtroom caper is, by many, regarded as the best of the Three Stooges' early comedies. Moe, Larry, and Curly are witnesses in a murder trial involving a dancer (Suzanne Kaaren) from "The Black Bottom Cafe," the club where they work. Curly is called on the stand to explain "Who killed Kirk Robin?" and the rest is pandemonium. Court clerk James C. Morton's toupee is mistaken for a tarantula, a supposedly unloaded revolver kills Moe's boutonniere, the entire courtroom becomes the victim of an errand fire hose, and the real killer is proven to be the hoofer Buck Wing, who in the meantime has shuffled off to Buffalo. Moe and Curly's real-life parents are briefly spotted among the courtroom spectators. ~ 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

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

Dizzy Detectives
Gorillas, both fake and (supposedly) real, play a big part in this amusing Three Stooges comedy two-reeler. The boys are policemen masquerading as night watchmen in an attempt to trap a burglar dressed in a gorilla suit. They catch a gorilla, all right, but the beast proves to be real. The denouement is appropriately violent; the ferocious simian blows up after ingesting nitroglycerin. John Tyrrell, probably Columbia Pictures' busiest character actor, earned a major spot in this two-reeler, playing the wanted burglar. The studio liked the plot enough to remake it twice: Fraidy Cat (1951) and Hook a Crook (1955), both starring Joe Besser, who in 1956, replaced Shemp Howard as the third Stooge. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

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