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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Film > Pop Culture > Stooges: The Men Behind The Mayhem (Comedy)

Stooges: The Men Behind The Mayhem (Three Stooges)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B+     Biography: B



Even though eight decades have passed since The Three Stooges first made their debut, they are still as subversive as ever, throwing propriety and anyone in their way out the window and who knows where else.  They have a big following, one that is larger than you might think, but are still not always given the respect they deserve.  The 1994 biography Stooges: The Men Behind The Mayhem (with new footage directed by narrator Paul E. Gierucki) did once appear on the A&E Biography series, but this version is an expanded version in a very rich double DVD set.


Mackinac Media and Laughsmith Entertainment have gone out of their way to do a remarkable job of capturing the rise, fall, rise and continued fervent following of iconic comedy trio from an amazing collection of stills, rare footage, well researched history and new items that were especially uncovered for the program.  If you have dismissed the triad and comic terror as trivial, think again.  They were doing for physical comedy what Warner Bros. was doing for animation; freeing up the form to go into new directions.  Part of the problem might be that they were coming out of Columbia, which at the time was considered a secondary studio.  It is fair and ironic to say that this team helped turn the company’s fortunes around and helped them become a major starting in the 1960s, a time when they had been cut from the company.  TV broadcasts were a huge hit like so many great Hollywood product of the past that was not in the A-features category, like Charlie Chan and Our Gang/The Little Rascals.


They continued in other media until the time Columbia had them back for a few feature films hoping to duplicate what Abbott & Costello had done for fellow “little sister’ studio Universal Pictures a few decades ago.  It was not as successful, but no matter what they did, it was always different and interesting, conventions notwithstanding.  They also had a combination we hardly see today in our stars, talent and personality, which is deadly to the politically correct and comfortably conservative alike.  That easily makes them more relevant than ever and they stand as one of the great icons of world cinema, especially comedy.


The 1.33 X 1 image is not bad throughout, though the kinescope of The Ed Wynn Show is the muddiest and some of the four shorts show their age at times.  Otherwise, the quality is really impressive throughout.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is usually monophonic, but has its moments of simple stereo.  However, it is cleaner and clearer than many instances of the guys in action on DVD and lesser venues.  Extras include three extended interviews, a DVD-ROM Stooges tribute, three rare stills, three great radio interview pieces, their Ed Wynn Show/Camel Comedy Caravan episode in its entirety, trailers and original shorts from their Columbia Pictures peak.


The trailers are Three Stooges In Orbit, Have Rocket Will Travel, Three Stooges Meet Hercules, Dancing Lady, Snow White & The Three Stooges and a Laff-A-Thon promotion for their shorts.  The shorts in their entirety are Disorder In The Court, Sing A Song Of Six Pants, Brideless Groom and Malice In The Palace.  That is outstanding content and covers some obscure material fans will love to have.  The only extra not here is a TV commercial for Simoniz Car Wax, but it can be found in the underrated Hit Celebrity TV Commercials DVD reviewed elsewhere on this site.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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