Snow White And The Three Stooges

Snow White And The Three Stooges (1961)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Three Stooges, Carol Heiss, Edson Stroll, Patricia Medina, Guy Rolfe
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

With the exception of an error in the liner notes, Fox Home Entertainment’s DVD release of ’Snow White and the Three Stooges’ should please fans of the Stooges and collectors of Saturday matinee family fare.

The film’s concept couldn’t be simpler. We have the beautiful Snow White (Olympic ice skater Carol Heiss), the homicidally jealous Evil Queen (Patricia Medina) and our square-jawed Prince Charming (Edson Stroll) forming the basic plot triangle. Instead of seven dwarfs, however, there’s Moe, Larry and Curley- Joe providing the comic relief and the story support. For good measure, director Walter Lang and writers Ellwood Ullman (a Stooges veteran) and Noel Langley (screenwriter for such films as ’The Wizard of Oz’ and the 1951 ’Scrooge’) amp up the villainy with the lean, goateed Count Oga (Guy Rolfe) and a wish-fulfilling magic sword. The movie holds up quite well, in part I think because the filmmakers toned down the Stooges’ trademark shtick. There’s still plenty eye-pokes and slaps to please the Trio’s die-hards, but the storybook elements take center stage and Moe, Larry and Curley Joe wisely let the Brothers Grimm heroine have the spotlight.

Thanks to Fox for providing full screen and widescreen viewing options on the DVD via a double-sided flipper disc. Presented in its proper 2.35 aspect ratio, the anamorphic transfer is gorgeous, with rich, fairy-tale colors and hues. The poisoned apple is SOLIDLY red! For a minor catalog title that’s over forty years old, Fox has done an admirable job of cleaning up the source elements. Aside from the standard generational loss with opticals and dissolves, the source print exhibited few blemishes.

The Dolby Digital stereo audio offers a reasonably expansive front soundstage with the music score and sound effects, but sounds less like an original 4-track magnetic stereophonic mix and more like two-channel mono with a little sweetening. When the magic sword whisks the Stooges and Snow White to a snowy mountaintop, Moe’s echoes – which should logically carry into the rear channels – remain in the front L-C-R speakers. There’s a mono audio option, but stick with the stereo. A Spanish language mono audio track is also available.
A decent-looking, typically corny theatrical trailer presented in full anamorphic scope is the disc’s only supplement.

The error? The back cover states ’Snow White and the Three Stooges’ won the 1961 Writer’s Guild Award for Best-Written American Musical. The film was nominated, but lost to Ernest Lehman for ’West Side Story.’ Don’t hold that against the film or the DVD. Both are very enjoyable and a welcome addition to my DVD library. BTW, what’s with the PG rating? It’s the STOOGES for cryin’ out loud!