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Fans of the Three Stooges tend to fall into two camps--those that love Shemp Howard, and those that, quite simply, do not, but one might believe that the pristine presentation of the 25 postwar shorts gathered in The Three Stooges Collection Volume 5 will sway even the most ardent anti-Shemp viewer to reversing his position. Shemp’s involvement with the Stooges goes back to their days in vaudeville with Ted Healy, whose questionable business practices forced him to leave the act and seek stardom on his own, which he achieved in one-reelers and features throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s. He returned to the fold after brother Curly suffered a series of strokes, which forced him to bow out of all shorts after 1947’s "Half-Wits Holiday" (on Disc One). Shemp became a full-time Stooge again in the trio’s 98th short, "Fright Night," and almost immediately established his persona in the group--a blend of Curly’s volcanic man-child and an easily amused goof whose skewed sense of humor drew the wrath of Moe. Whether his performance will win new converts remains to be seen, but some of his best work with the Stooges are compiled on this two-disc set, including "Brideless Groom" (Shemp must get married in 24 hours or lose his inheritance; Stooge supporting player Emil Sitka’s oft-quoted line, "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" from this short is overheard in Pulp Fiction); "Sing a Song of Six Pants" (the boys attempt to corral a fugitive bank robber for the reward money); "Shivering Sherlocks" and "Hot Scots" (two of their best haunted house scenarios, with the hunchback Angel in "Sherlocks" a bizarre highlight); and "Hold That Lion," which features the final screen appearance of Curly Howard in a surprise cameo. As with all previous Three Stooges Collection DVDs, Volume 5 includes a number of shorts that have never been released to disc, including "Lion," "All Gummed Up" and "Pardon My Clutch."

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CO30304 Three Stooges 1946-48 DVD (25 shorts) $19.99 $17.99