The Three Stooges

4 Episodes

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy None
Rating g.gif (1187 bytes)
Year Released 1936 - 1949
Running Time 65:23 Minutes
(Not 60 Minutes as per packaging)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director  
Columbia.gif (3109 bytes)
MRA Entertainment
Starring Moe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Shemp Howard
Case Super Jewel
RPI $39.95 Music  
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame (NTSC) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 384 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    I will have to confess that I am not much of a fan of The Three Stooges, that fine trio comprising Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard (with the latter three episodes featuring Shemp Howard in Curly's place). My only real experience of their antics previously came from the computer game programmed by the long-defunct Cinemaware. This disc contains four episodes of the classic comedy series:     I could tell you all the interesting facts in the world about the film, but the fact of the matter is that the transfer is more important. For my assessment of the transfer, see below, as it will tell you all you need to know.

Transfer Quality


    When preparing us to review a title, Michael will send us a brief technical description of the content, with small annotations as to the sum total of the extras, or specific comments on any packaging errors to be expected. The only specific comment on this transfer that he sent to me before sending me this disc for review was "Most definitely unrestored".

    The transfer is presented Full Frame and is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The transfer is variably sharp, but various parts thereof are consistently indistinct and blurred. The shadow detail is non-existent, but this is acceptable since there is nothing in the material itself that requires any shadow detail. Low-level noise didn't appear to be a problem in the transfer, but the lack of resolution made it rather hard to tell, especially combined with the general graininess of the transfer.

    The colour saturation was dull, even by monochrome standards, but it was consistent.

    MPEG artefacts were not found in the transfer, which is one slight advantage of having a sixty-five minute disc. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some major image wobble, particularly during the opening credits. The wobble and misalignment during the opening credits makes it impossible to read the smaller print, which made determining the date of these episodes a real challenge. Thankfully, there was no aliasing to compound the problem. Film artefacts were abundant, with all sorts of black and white marks, as well as lines and scratches on the print, being visible at all times. Surely a little effort to clean up the source material wasn't too much to ask?


    If you think I am singularly unimpressed with the video quality, wait until I have told you about the audio quality. It is even worse; it is so bad, in fact, that it gave me a headache within ten minutes.

    There is only one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. The dialogue is easy to hear, but understanding it is another matter entirely, as much of the dialogue consists of shouting and screaming, which is not at all well-handled. The limited frequency and fidelity of the source material makes matters even worse, with what probably sounded like a mild shriek on set coming out like the screech of a chainsaw on this DVD. A large amount of low frequency hiss is present throughout the soundtrack, which also makes it quite difficult to listen to.

    Audio sync is something of a problem for the most part, not because of the DVD, but because of the way in which the soundtrack was recorded, with sound effects seemingly half a second out of sync with the on-screen action a lot of the time.

    The score music was pretty much unremarkable, and usually lost under the low frequency hiss when it was present. It was generally restricted to the credits, which made it somewhat more tolerable.

    Being that this is a mono soundtrack, there was no activity from the surround channels at all. The subwoofer was also silent from start to finish.


    Well, there is a menu.


    The menu allows you to play the entire contents of the disc as a film, or select each individual episode. It is monochrome, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

R4 vs R1

    This disc is equally bad the world over.


    The Three Stooges deserve far better presentation than they get on this disc, and that's all I can really say. This disc only just misses out on the Hall Of Shame because I don't think this material will ever have a chance to look any better.

    The video quality is dreadful.

    The audio quality is intolerable.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
September 27, 2000 
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer