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stooged and confused

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THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
« on: September 29, 2008, 03:06:40 PM »
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  • A mere five weeks since Sony's third chronological compilation
    of Three Stooges shorts dropped, along comes Volume 4. This
    set showcases all 21 two reelers from the years 1943-1945.

    Although it's not essential to view these shorts in chronological
    order, it does help to see how the Stooges' pacing advanced. Their
    earlier shorts had a slower pace to them. By this volume,
    their manic style of slapstick was at its most feverish pace. And
    by viewing them in release order on this set, it is very easy to see the
    decline in Curly Howard's health. When viewing the shorts released in
    1945, it is clear that Curly's performance has been altered noticeably by
    the time "Booby Dupes" is screened.

    The shorts on this set have one distinctive theme: they are more
    cartoonish than ever before. The plots, such as they are, become
    more transparent than the bald spot on Larry's head. With the lone
    exception of the true classic "Micro Phonies", story and plot really take
    a back seat during these years. Many feel that director Del Lord, who
    is all over this set, lost his way during this period.

    Overall, the restoration is on par with the previous three volumes. With the exception
    of "Crash Goes The Hash" (with inferior audio) and "Idiots Deluxe" (which is riddled
    with blemishes), the prints look and sound amazing. There are the usual soft spots
    in some shorts (most noticeably in "No Dough Boys"), but other than that, they look
    brand new.

    Volume 4 finishes up the war years and has some of the most violent
    and un PC Stoogery to be found in their stellar career.

    "They Stooge To Conga" (***) contains the wince inducing "spike" scene.
    Moe really gets it in this one. In fact, he gets it in the eye, head and ear.
    The Stooges are repairmen and stumble upon Nazi spies when attempting
    to fix a doorbell, destroying the house instead.
    CLASSIC LINE: Nazi Spy: "FBI, huh?" Curly: "No, I B Curly."
    FUN FACT: Watch for a very young Lloyd Bridges (who speaks five words).

    "Dizzy Detectives" (***) finds the Boys as cops tracking down an ape trained
    to rob from stores. Yes, you read that correctly. As silly as it may sound, the
    gags are aplenty with the great guillotine scene. I love Moe's reaction when he
    thinks Curly has been axed!
    CLASSIC LINE: Curly: "I didn't see her, but I could swear--" Moe: "That's a
    bad habit."
    Watch for a small recycling job from an earlier short "Pardon My Scotch."

    "Spook Louder" (***) is as close to a live action Looney Tunes as you're
    likely to find. The Stooges are "master salesmen" who wind up guarding
    an inventor's house so enemy spies won't steal his secrets. Weird noises,
    goofy clocks, a menacing balloon and mysterious flying pies make this
    nonsensical short a hoot to watch.
    CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "You dance like you got your legs on backwards."

    'Back From The Front" (***) finds the Boys on a disguised Nazi raider and
    capture the lot. Dressed up as the Axis partners, Moe delivers one of the
    best lines in all of Stoogedom.
    CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Ah, my personality, thanks Buddy!"

    "Three Little Twirps" (**1/2) The Boys find their way into a circus after ruining the
    posters they were to be hanging.
    CLASSIC LINE: Larry: "Beat it, grandpa. We've got no time for kibbitzes."

    "Higher Than A Kite" (**1/2) Once again, Moe gets it good when his head gets
    stuck in a pipe. After ruining the General's car, they hide in a bomb (they think
    its a sewer pipe) and get dropped in Naziville.
    CLASSIC LINE: Nazi General: "Sit on my lap." Larry (in drag): "What lap?"

    "I Can Hardly Wait" (**) revolves around Curly having a bad tooth, while Moe
    and Larry come up with new ways to revolutionize dentistry.
    CLASSIC LINE: Curly: "You've got me bald headed in the mouth."

    "Dizzy Pilots" (****) The Stooges are the Wrong Brothers who invent a plane
    called "The Buzzard." During their test flight, things go terribly wrong and they
    wind up getting drafted (a recycled scene from an earlier short "Boobs In Arms").
    CLASSIC LINE: Curly; "I see the garage. I don't saw the garage. You are
    moidering the King's English."

    "Phoney Express" (***1/2) has the Stooges out west selling everything from
    Abdul's Cactus Remedy to being deputized.
    CLASSIC LINE: Curly: "Hmm, pepperminties."

    "A Gem Of A Jam" (***) Mistaken for doctors, the Boys are on the run from
    crooks and cops. The second half of this short is utter nonsense and in any other
    hands, it wouldn't hold up. A testament to how great the Stooges were that they're
    so convincing at selling the silliest of ideas. The bits with Dudley Dickerson
    are priceless. The x-ray scene is a keeper, as well.

    "Crash Goes The Hash" (****) A great short with the Stooges who work for
    Star Press Cleaners. A newspaper editor thinks they work for the media
    and hire them to expose Prince Sham. The print looks great, but the audio is
    surprisingly poor. The previous DVD release had better audio.
    CLASSIC LINE: Butler: "Such levity. You remind me of the Three Stooges."
    Curly: "Hey, that's an insult."

    "Busy Buddies" (***) Another bit of utter (or is that udder) nonsense as the Stooges enter a milking contest to win some fast cash. Damn if they don't pull it off, though.

    "The Yolk's On Me" (*) A real mess. Forget about the PC issue, this short
    just doesn't work. I smile at the fan dance Curly does with the ostrich
    feathers, but other than that, it's just a sloppy short that isn't funny.

    "Idle Roomers (***1/2) All hail Lupe the Wolf man! The Stooges discover
    the wolfman (in ridiculous make up) running amuck in the Hotel Snazzy Plaza.
    As janitors, it's up to the Boys to catch him.
    CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Did you lock the door?" Curly: "Yeah, twice. Once this
    way and once that way."
    HISTORIC CASTING: Stooge regular, the lovely Christine McIntyre makes her
    Stooges debut.

    "Gents Without Cents" (**1/2) Another misfire, it would be unwatchable if not
    for the Niagra Falls and "Ratt-tat-toodily- day-day" numbers. The casting of
    Flo, Mary and Shirley (as a poorman's Andrews Sisters) weigh this short
    down like a ton of bricks. Their cartwheel shtick seems to go on forever!

    "No Dough Boys" (***1/2) has the Stooges dressed as Japanese soldiers
    for an ad shoot. On a lunch break, the owner thinks they are real "Jap" spies.
    Running away, they stumble (yet again) into a Nazi hideout. UN PC humor
    at its best. Mel Brooks would be proud!
    CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Naki, Waki, come backi."

    "Three Pests In A Mess" (**1/2) A pretty flimsy script that gets saved by
    Christine McIntrye's performance and, of course, the Stooges. This short
    has such a cheap production to it, that during a supposed masquerade party,
    nobody bothered to add a crowd noise on the soundtrack, let alone having a
    few extras walk past the camera. It looks exactly what it is: two actors trying
    to sell the idea that there is a party going on in an empty sound stage. Jeez, not even music in the background.
    CLASSIC LINE: Larry: " What's the idea, porter?"

    "Booby Dupes" (**) The first real evidence that Curly's health is starting to get
    the best of him. A weak effort doesn't help things, either. Watch Curly struggle
    to hide under the boat. The Stooges, as fish salesmen (again), try to catch their
    own for better profits. Again, this short has a particularly cheap feel to it. The
    scene with the fish flying all over the place would be right at home in a bad
    grade school production. And where did they get the second boat!?

    "Idiots Deluxe" (**1/2) isn't much better. There's a few good bits in the cabin,
    but overall, a weak short with a much more haggard Curly. So far, the shorts
    have been restored to a like new brilliance. This title however, looks terrible. The
    print is riddled with spots, debris, lines, scratches as if no restoration was done.
    CLASSIC LINE: Moe: "Sunny side down. And don't turn 'em over."

    "If A Body Meets A Body" (***) A decent scare comedy, but no classic, by any
    means. The Stooges stand to inherit some dough when Curly's uncle bites it.
    A remake of "The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case".
    CLASSIC LINE: Butler: "I hope you have a nice looong sleep." Moe: "Thanks,
    Dracula."

    "Micro Phonies" (****) is the Citizen Kane of Three Stooges films. Thankfully,
    Curly's ill health did not interfere with his performance, as this short has everything
    the last handful didn't. The story is solid, the directing is sharp, the pacing is spot
    on, and the supporting cast is fantastic. It's the last great Curly performance (although
    "Three Little Pirates" comes close). The Stooges are Senorita Cucaracha, Senior
    Mucho and Senior Gusto. They swipe a record and do a great aping of "Voices
    Of Spring" at a swanky party. That is, until their deception is discovered. The print
    is beautiful and all of Christine McIntyre's dialogue has been fully restored. All
    previous video releases had the annoying jump/splice cut during her explanation
    as to why she had to pursue her singing career under an assumed name. This is the
    last great Stooges short until Shemp re-joins the team. Always compared unfairly,
    the Shemp era had some of the best storylines and plots (before budget cuts caused
    a slew of remakes), but that's another review.......

    The shorts: B+
    The Restoration: A-

    Equipment used:

    Panasonic 50" widescreen plasma
    Kenwood receiver
    Infinity speakers



    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #1 on: September 29, 2008, 06:50:10 PM »
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  • Overall, the restoration is on par with the previous three volumes. With the exception
    of "Crash Goes The Hash" (with inferior audio) and "Idiots Deluxe" (which is riddled
    with blemishes), the prints look and sound amazing. There are the usual soft spots
    in some shorts (most noticeably in "No Dough Boys"), but other than that, they look
    brand new.

    Thanks for the review. I guess from this statement, I should keep my older "Stooges At Work" DVD. I'm a bit surprised at Sony that they would use an inferior audio for that short. The older DVD sounds great. And "Idiots Deluxe" always looked dirty at the court scene. It's a shame that Sony didn't clean that up.


    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #2 on: September 29, 2008, 08:29:18 PM »
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  • It's a head scratcher as to why "Crash" has inferior audio. As for "Idiots", it seems unlikely that they would gloss over restoring it. It still has a sharper image than before, but the elements that survived on this title might just be the best they had to work with and it's as good as it can get.

    Offline Justin T

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #3 on: September 30, 2008, 10:31:44 PM »
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  • Idiots must just be in bad shape and thats the best they can do with it, I think
    you may be right about that S&C

    Thanks for the review. I can't wait to see "Micro Phonies" now!
    "Moronica must expand! We must lend our neighbors a helping hand. We must lend them two helping hands, and help ourselves to our neighbors!"
    Moe in "You Natzi Spy!"

    Larry: Say, when I come back I’ll give you a password.
    Moe: Brilliant, what’ll it be?
    Larry: Open The Door!
    "Studio Stoops"

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #4 on: October 01, 2008, 08:20:55 AM »
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  • It's a head scratcher as to why "Crash" has inferior audio. As for "Idiots", it seems unlikely that they would gloss over restoring it. It still has a sharper image than before, but the elements that survived on this title might just be the best they had to work with and it's as good as it can get.

    I agree with S&C and Justin. "Idiots Deluxe" was always very dirty at the court scene, so Sony can only do so much to clean that up.

    As for "Crash Goes The Hash," it seems like, from what I read in your review, that the picture quality is good but it's just the audio quality that's bad. That's one of issues with these sets. It seems like Sony is concentrating more on picture rather than the audio. On Volume 2, every short looked fantastic. My only complaint was the audio, particularly in "Yes We Have No Bonanza." I think Volume 3 might be the only volume so far that Sony did a 100% perfect job.




    Offline Stooges#1

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #5 on: October 01, 2008, 07:17:38 PM »
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  • Nice review S&C.  ;)

    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #6 on: October 02, 2008, 01:18:42 PM »
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  • I agree with S&C and Justin. "Idiots Deluxe" was always very dirty at the court scene, so Sony can only do so much to clean that up.

    As for "Crash Goes The Hash," it seems like, from what I read in your review, that the picture quality is good but it's just the audio quality that's bad. That's one of issues with these sets. It seems like Sony is concentrating more on picture rather than the audio.

    In the case of "Bonanza", I feel that the audio issue is inherent from the time the soundtrack was recorded. The same goes for "Yoke's" or any of the flatter sounding shorts. It can only be as good as the source material they have to work with. Since there was better audio on "Crash" previously, it seems odd that it would be inferior this time around.


    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #7 on: October 02, 2008, 01:21:22 PM »
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  • Nice review S&C.  ;)

    I appreicate that (you too X and Justin T). I'm glad the reviews are helpful and entertaining to read. My objective is to give diehards something interesting to read and newbies the proper information to get them started.

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #8 on: October 02, 2008, 01:21:59 PM »
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  • In the case of "Bonanza", I feel that the audio issue is inherent from the time the soundtrack was recorded. The same goes for "Yoke's" or any of the flatter sounding shorts. It can only be as good as the source material they have to work with. Since there was better audio on "Crash" previously, it seems odd that it would be inferior this time around.

    Well, my VHS copy of Bonanza sounds good. That's the only copy I've seen that has great audio. Other prints I've seen, like on TV or DVD, all have distorted audio for some strange reason.

    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #9 on: October 02, 2008, 01:24:25 PM »
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  • Well, my VHS copy of Bonanza sounds good. That's the only copy I've seen that has great audio. Other prints I've seen, like on TV or DVD, all have distorted audio for some strange reason.

    I haven't played the VHS version for some time, but I always thought there was a distortion that took place around the "rib cutting" scene. I always felt it was inherent in the original film elements, yes?

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #10 on: October 02, 2008, 06:36:14 PM »
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  • I haven't played the VHS version for some time, but I always thought there was a distortion that took place around the "rib cutting" scene. I always felt it was inherent in the original film elements, yes?

    I just checked and the audio on the VHS copy sounds fine, even on the rib cutting scene. The only audio problem on the VHS version is the occasional crackling and popping (which is a problem the VHS version has with all the episodes).


    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #11 on: October 05, 2008, 11:54:55 AM »
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  • Is there any short that you began to notice Curly failing? Most people would associate 43-45 as the backend of Curly's prime and the beginning of the end. I haven't seen many of these in a long time (not since the long since dead days of VHS) and never in any kind of order.

    I used to remember IF A BODY MEETS A BODY as one of the first signs of major decline in Curly.

    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #12 on: October 05, 2008, 12:08:25 PM »
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  • Is there any short that you began to notice Curly failing? Most people would associate 43-45 as the backend of Curly's prime and the beginning of the end. I haven't seen many of these in a long time (not since the long since dead days of VHS) and never in any kind of order.

    As I mentioned, False, I really began to notice the change in Curly's appearance and performance level turn noticeably on "Booby Dupes". He would bounce back and forth a bit on other titles that would follow, but when this short is viewed, it is quite evident that things weren't the same. His energy is lower and you can start to see him looking tired in his face and his expressions slowed down(it would get worse in time, but this is the first short where things were obvious).

    When you view them in order, I think you'll see what I mean more clearly.

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #13 on: October 05, 2008, 12:18:16 PM »
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  • I used to remember IF A BODY MEETS A BODY as one of the first signs of major decline in Curly.

    I agree. While Curly's health did decline in "Booby Dupes," he still gave a great performance. "If a Body Meets a Body" is the first short where I saw a BIG decline in his performance.


    Offline Myren

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #14 on: October 06, 2008, 08:17:13 AM »
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  • Great Review. Can not wait to pick it up. It has been great to watch all the shorts in order! And I am still hoping for all the Shemp shorts too.  ;D

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #15 on: October 07, 2008, 12:36:37 PM »
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  • I just got my copy and skimmed through the shorts. I have to side with S&C that the audio on "Crash Goes The Hash" isn't the best. It certainly isn't awful, but the "Stooges At Work" DVD definitely had better quality. I don't know why that guy at HTF is claiming there isn't any difference. And "Idiots Deluxe" looks exactly like the copy used in "Stooges And The Law." It would've been nice if Sony had cleaned that up, but it's not too bad. The episode is very sharp and clear, so it still looks good.

    And yeah, "Micro-Phonies" does look excellent. It's the best I've seen. It looks like it was filmed yesterday. It's that good. Another great thing about this set is that there is absolutely no music clippings whatsoever. Looks like Sony is being more careful this time.

    Offline Justin T

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #16 on: October 07, 2008, 01:19:46 PM »
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  • Thanks for confirming what S&C said X, maybe I wont get rid of my Stooges at Work DVD after all.

    Either way, I'm glad the restoration on Micro is as great as people are saying. I got my copy
    today too and I can not wait to watch it and all the rest of these shorts.
    "Moronica must expand! We must lend our neighbors a helping hand. We must lend them two helping hands, and help ourselves to our neighbors!"
    Moe in "You Natzi Spy!"

    Larry: Say, when I come back I’ll give you a password.
    Moe: Brilliant, what’ll it be?
    Larry: Open The Door!
    "Studio Stoops"

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #17 on: October 07, 2008, 01:39:05 PM »
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  • Thanks for confirming what S&C said X, maybe I wont get rid of my Stooges at Work DVD after all.

    The sound is not awful. People who never owned the previous DVD may not notice any inferiority in the audio. The difference is only minor, which is probably why only certain people notice it. I, personally, won't bother keeping my older DVD. The difference isn't all that significant and I need to free up some shelf space.

    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #18 on: October 07, 2008, 02:01:41 PM »
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  • I just got my copy and skimmed through the shorts. I have to side with S&C that the audio on "Crash Goes The Hash" isn't the best. It certainly isn't awful, but the "Stooges At Work" DVD definitely had better quality. I don't know why that guy at HTF is claiming there isn't any difference.

    To quote Larry himself: "One of us is crazy and its not you." (From "Crash Goes The Hash")

    Offline Justin T

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #19 on: October 07, 2008, 02:30:47 PM »
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  • The sound is not awful. People who never owned the previous DVD may not notice any inferiority in the audio. The difference is only minor, which is probably why only certain people notice it. I, personally, won't bother keeping my older DVD. The difference isn't all that significant and I need to free up some shelf space.

    Cool, thanks for the clarification X. I apprecaite it.
    "Moronica must expand! We must lend our neighbors a helping hand. We must lend them two helping hands, and help ourselves to our neighbors!"
    Moe in "You Natzi Spy!"

    Larry: Say, when I come back I’ll give you a password.
    Moe: Brilliant, what’ll it be?
    Larry: Open The Door!
    "Studio Stoops"

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #20 on: October 07, 2008, 05:34:49 PM »
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  • To quote Larry himself: "One of us is crazy and its not you." (From "Crash Goes The Hash")

    Cool, thanks for the clarification X. I apprecaite it.

    Well I'll be darned. I just checked my "Stooges At Work" DVD and the audio there is also a bit inferior as well. So, that guy HTF is right. I could've sworn that the older DVD was better. I guess it's because we had high expectations on this new set. So, the audio for Crash Goes The Hash has always been a bit inferior and there was nothing Sony could do to fix it.

    stooged and confused

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #21 on: October 07, 2008, 09:00:52 PM »
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  • Amazon ranks Volume 4 at #19 as of this post (Disney's re-issue of "Sleeping Beauty" is #1).

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #22 on: October 08, 2008, 08:14:21 PM »
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  • I was just watching "Busy Buddies." Anybody ever notice how Larry only has about two lines in that short? I've always noticed that, but since I watched it just now, I figured I'd ask that question to see if anyone else ever noticed it.

    Offline Stooges#1

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #23 on: October 11, 2008, 09:42:29 PM »
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  • I've watched 19 shorts of this set, my goodness what a fantastic set. There are countless shorts over the 4 volumes that i had on VHS but only bits and pieces of, i.e. Booby Dupes i had never watched the beginning of that short.

    10/10 for Sony's time and effort and the restoration that went into volume 4 and the previous three. 

    I cant wait for Volume 5, only 10 Curly shorts left.

    xraffle

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    Re: THREE STOOGES COLLECTION VOLUME 4 FULL REVIEW
    « Reply #24 on: October 11, 2008, 10:49:26 PM »
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  • I cant wait for Volume 5, only 10 Curly shorts left.

    Yes! I definitely want Volume 5 to come, not so much because I want to complete the Curly collection, but because I want Shemp now.

     


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