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The Three Stooges in Color

The Three Stooges in Color, starring Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard

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The four Three Stooges short on this DVD (“Disorder in the Court” starring Moe HowardLarry Fine & Curly Howard, “Malice in the Palace,” “Sing a Song of Six Pants,” and “Brideless Groom” all starring Moe, Larry and Shemp Howard) lost their copyright due to an error on Columbia Pictures‘ part in the 1960’s. So, what sets this apart from the numerous versions that you can purchase for $1.00 (U.S.) in dollar stores, Wal-Mart and elsewhere?

The Three Stooges in color - restored and in color for the first time - Disorder in the Court, Malice in the Palace, Sing a Song of Six Pants, Brideless Groom

Primarily two things: first, the video and audio have been cleaned up enormously, to the point of looking as they must have in the theaters, if not better. Secondly, the shorts have been colorized, as you can see on the cover picture on the right.  That’s an actual image from the DVD. It’s breathtaking – for the first time, it looks as if the movies had actually been filmed in color, and is eminently enjoyable.  For a contrasting opinion, check the Editorial Review following. The DVD includes both black and white and colorized versions.

If that were all, I’d give “The Three Stooges in Color” a (rare) 5-clown rating.  But I can’t.  Before and after each colorized short you have the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 giving “commentary” – attempts at comedy that mostly fall flat. In addition, one of the segments (where one of the MST3K folks wears a dress, pretending to be a female Three Stooges fan) has them repeating things like, “I have no penis,” “I’m wearing women’s panties,” “I love the c**p out of those b*****ds” — not the things I need my children running around the house repeating – especially my 5-year-old son. In a nutshell, it’s not a child-safe DVD, which is a total pity.

I rate it 3 clowns on a 5-clown scale

Editorial Review of The Three Stooges in Color, courtesy of Amazon.com

A quartet of Three Stooges shorts, with a 3-to-1 balance tilting toward Shemp over Curly. The 1936 “Disorder in the Court” is definitely an honor-roll Stooges entry, with Curly providing testimony in a murder case. Note to prosecutors: Do not bring a vise into the same courtroom as Curly Howard. The other shorts shift to the late 1940s, adding (and highlighting) returning Howard brother Shemp in place of Curly. “Brideless Groom” has Shemp inheriting a half million dollars if he can get married in a few hours. As Moe observes, this should be a snap: “When Shemp pours on the charm, no dame can resist.” Ooof.

Sing a Song of Six Pants” is a lesser outing, with the boys running a tailor shop and getting mixed up with gangsters. It does provide an illustration of that Stooges truism: when a beartrap is located anywhere nearby, the law of probabilities favors an eventual convergence with Moe’s backside. “Malice in the Palace” takes place in an Arabian café, where Moe, Larry, and Shemp are waiters. The best sequence has the boys and their diners convinced that Larry has sacrificed a dog and cat for the evening’s entree.

This Fox DVD offers colorized versions of the shorts, but like the 2004 Columbia colorized discs, it also features the original black-and-white versions. The fake color looks pretty bad, with the lurid shades of the Arabian nights episode especially glaring. Stick with the improved black-and-white versions of these familiar shorts. Wraparound introductions are provided by Mike Nelson and a couple of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew–they’re hit and miss, but their mockery of poor, sputtering Shemp Howard is just a bit cruel. —Robert Horton

Quotes from The Three Stooges in Color:

(Judge is about to ask Curly if he swears to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth)


Judge: Do you swear…
Curly: No, but I know all the woids.
Judge: Why don’t you answer him?
Curly: He’s tawkin’ pig Latin! I dunno what he’s sayin’!
Judge: He’s asking you if you swear…!
(cuts the judge off)


Curly: Well, me and my pals, we’re musicians. We were tearin’ up some hot swing music in the York Esther. Gail over there was swingin’ her fans. Her sweetie Koik Robin was inhalin’ a bottle of hooch over at a table. And a hoofer by the name of Buck Wing was gettin’ ready to shake his tootsies.
Defense attorney: Kindly speak English and drop the vernacular.
(Holding his Derby hat)
Curly: This is a derby!
Defense attorney: Drop the vernacular!
(Curly drops his hat)


Moe: Now Gaily’s dance was over. I stuck my head in the office door, and I saw Koik Robin and Buck Wing ahgyin’ over by the parrot cage!
District Attorney: What were they arguing about?
(Demonstrates on Curly)


Moe: I say, Jasper, what comes after seventy-five?
Larry: Seventy-six!
Moe: That’s the Spirit!


Judge: Take the stand.
(Curly picks the chair up)
Judge: No, no, take the stand!
Curly: I got it! Now what’ll I do with it?
(angrily sets it back down)
Curly: I’m a victim of circumstance.


Defense Attorney: Address the judge as your honor.
Curly (to the Judge): It was like this, my honor …
Defense Attorney: “Your honor”. Not “My honor”.
Curly: Why? Don’t you like him?


Curly: I’m no mule.
Moe: No, your ears are too short.


(Larry shatters his violin)
Larry: Oh, my Stradavarius. Oh, my beautiful Stradavarius.


(With Curly taking the oath, the court clerk is speaking rapidly)
Curly: Are you trying to give me the double talk?
Judge: He’s asking you if you’ll swear to tell the truth.
Curly: Truth is stranger than fiction, Judgie-Wudgie.


Moe: You’re in court, not the woods, Tarzan.
Court clerk: I’ll SUE you for this.
Moe: Oh, sue-perstitious eh?


Judge: Please control your killing instincts.


Shemp: That’s enough for today, you might hurt your voice. Ya know, bend it or crack it or break it or something.


Moe: Shut up and listen. Do you remember your Uncle Caleb?
Shemp: Do I? Why, that old tightwad! He’d steal flies from a flying spider!
Moe: But, Shemp, he’s…
Shemp: He’s a louse and a weasel!
Moe: Yeah? Well, he just died and left you $500,000 bucks.


Larry: How’d you like to be married to a dame like that?
Shemp: Don’t even say that!

Trivia about The Three Stooges in Color:

  • Apparently, this is one of a number of Stooge shorts that fell into public domain after the copyright was accidentally not renewed in the 1960s.
  • In one scene, Christine McIntyre discovers that Shemp is not the “Cousin Basil” she thought he was, and slaps him around, then punches him and knocks him through the door. McIntyre, who was not a professional stuntwoman, leaned too far in when she “punched” Shemp, and actually did hit him, breaking his nose. The sequence was left in the picture.
  • Although Emil Sitka is famous for the line “Hold hands, you lovebirds” from this short, the first time he says the line, he actually says, “Join hands, you lovebirds.”
  • According to The Three Stooges Encyclopedia, Curly Howard (who left the Stooges due to a stroke several years earlier) filmed a cameo playing a chef. This scene, according to the Encyclopedia, has been cut from all TV prints.
  • Larry Fine’s autobiography contains a photograph of Curly Howard in a deleted scene from this film. Curly had suffered a stroke a few years earlier and had left the act. He returned for a couple of heavily-disguised cameos, including the one in this film. He had clearly lost weight, and his face was disguised with a huge handlebar mustache.

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