A Night At The Opera

Directed by Sam Wood
Produced by Irving Thalberg
Written by Story: James Kevin McGuinness
Screenplay: George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind
Uncredited: Al Boasberg & Buster Keaton
Starring Groucho Marx
Chico Marx
Harpo Marx
Margaret Dumont
Music by Herbert Stothart
Editing by William LeVanway
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Nov. 15, 1935 (Los Angeles)
Dec. 6, 1935 (New York)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Many people say that A Night At The Opera is the Marx Bros. finest film, although I do prefer Duck Soup. It was their first film for MGM and also the first without Zeppo. It also features some of the best one-liners in all of filmdom including Chico’s “You can’t fool me, there ain’t no sanity clause.” It also features a lot of Groucho quipping with his favourite straight man Margaret Dumont and Harpo’s silly slapstick. It also features the stateroom scene, one of the funniest in all of their movies.

Unfortunately this was also one of the first Marx Bros. films to feature a romantic sub-plot and the boring musical numbers that plagued the latter Marxist films. These are usually just some really boring 1930s ballads sung by some boring crooner or diva who are supposed to be the hero and heroine of the film. Anytime that someone who is not named Groucho Marx starts singing in a Marx Bros. film makes me grab the remote control for the DVD player. The same applies when Chico Marx starts playing the piano or Harpo Marx starts playing the harp. It takes a lot of effort to endure these pieces of tedium but the comedy on the other side is usually very funny and rewards the viewer with lots of laughs.

It is interesting to note that the silent film comedian Buster Keaton (old Stoneface) wrote for this movie but is uncredited for it.

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