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The Three Stooges--political satirists? Laugh if you will, but as demonstrated by the shorts "You Nazty Spy" and "I'll Never Heil Again"--both of which are featured on this two-disc, digitally remastered set--the boys were the first act in Hollywood to bring attention to the Nazi threat in the days prior to America's involvement in World War II. "Nazty," which was released in 1940 some nine months before Chaplin's The Great Dictator, and 1941's "Heil," have Moe donning the greasepaint mustache to play Moe Hailstone, a dull-witted wallpaper hanger who runs amok as the dictator of Moronica along with his sidekicks Larry (the Goebbels stand-in) and Curly (Mussolini, natch). If the hijinks aren't exactly drawing room humor, one must still marvel at the foresight of the team and director Jules White for conceiving the idea, and by the sheer ballsiness of the Howard brothers and Fine--all Jews--taking the air out of the most insidious anti-Semitic figure of the period. One might also view 1940's "Boobs in Arms," with the boys accidentally joining the Army, as another riff on the absurdity of the slowly mounting war. Of course, the Stooges were better known for their wild slapstick comedy, and Volume 3 of this long-overdue collection presents some of the funniest shorts in their lengthy careers. Chief among these is "What's the Matador," which pits the boys' bullfighting routine against some real live beef, and the delirious "Sock-A-Bye Baby," with the Stooges attempting to care for an abandoned child. Elsewhere, the two main themes of the shorts--the Stooges as agents of fair play, as seen in "Nutty But Nice" (Curly finds a kidnapped man by yodeling) and "So Long Mr. Chumps" (the boys free an unjustly jailed man)--or menaces to society, as shown by the devastation wreaked at a dinner party in "An Ache in Every Stake," is in full effect. As with the two previous volumes, the shorts featured here (eight of which have never been available on DVD) are presented in chronological order and pristine condition, which soitenly makes up for decades of neglect from previous fly-by-night Stooge releases.

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CO26382 Three Stooges 1940-42 DVD (22 shorts) $19.99 $17.99