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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Joe E. Brown Comedy Collector’s Set (VCI)

Joe E. Brown Comedy Collector’s Set (VCI)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: D     Films: C+



Joe E. Brown is one of the great comic talents of the past who is being forgotten too quickly.  The voice of the sergeant on the animated classic Hong Kong Phooey, he was a big screen actor from back in the early days of sound film and VCI has issued four of his films in their 2 DVD Joe E. Brown Comedy Collector’s Set.  You get the following films:


The Gladiator (1938) has Brown as a dopey weakling who becomes an ace athlete with the right serum.  Has some fun moments, though no masterwork of comedy, it is still amusing.


Wide Open Faces (1938) involves a stolen fortune and one soda jerk (Brown) who might bring resolution to the situation.  Jane Wyman and Sidney Toler also star in this comedy where Brown eventually takes on gangsters.


Flirting With Fate (1938) has Vaudevillian Brown in South America with his actors, plotting a way to get the money to get them back home so they are not stranded forever.  Not very strong and the ethnic side has dated the film further.


Earthworm Tractors (1936) has salesman Alexander Botts (Brown as the famous Saturday Evening Post character) tries to sell tractors, but lands up in more hot water than expected.


So three of the four hold up better than expected, but are still on the B-movie side.  Still, they are more competent than many comedies we have seen issued lately.  The 1.33 X 1 image on all four films are at least a generation down, as is the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but all are watchable and fun when the humor kicks in.  There are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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