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Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Fuzzy Three Stooges DVD hard on the eyes

April 17, 2002

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Those who plunged into the world of DVD did so because of the superior picture and sound.

However, newcomers to DVD should be aware that not every disc is of high quality. There is plenty of junk out there, too.

The latest example comes from Anchor Bay Entertainment, a reputable company that usually offers a top-notch product. But Anchor Bay stumbles with "The Three Stooges: Greatest Hits & Rarities" ($14.98).

Featuring more than two hours of Stoogemania, the disc includes four classic Stooges comedies: "Disorder in the Court" (1936), "Brideless Groom" (1947), "Sing a Song of Six Pants" (1947) and "Malice in the Palace" (1949).

The quality of each mostly dark print is terrible and is hampered by streaking lines and scratches. That's not surprising when you know all four are public domain prints meaning the films are no longer under copyright and anyone call sell them if they can get their hands on copies.

Although Curly is pictured on the cover, you will find him in only one of the comedies "Disorder in the Court." Shemp is in the rest.

There is one item of interest on the disc: a 1950 kinescope of the "Camel Comedy Caravan," a TV show starring Ed Wynn and featuring the Stooges as his guest. The quality is poor, as with most kinescopes (copies of live TV shows filmed directly off a TV screen).

If you are a Stooges fan, I would suggest those produced by Columbia TriStar, which has access to the original prints and negatives.

When you're buying DVDs, a good rule to follow is to stay away from off-name brands. For example, an outfit called Madacy distributes some of the most awful-looking stuff ever seen.

And remember this: If a DVD is less than $7, you can bet that more often than not that it's an unwatchable piece of trash.

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