Tag Archives: Duck Soup

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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A Night In Casablanca

Directed by Archie Mayo
Produced by David L. Loew
Starring Groucho Marx
Harpo Marx
Chico Marx
Charles Drake
Music by Bert Kalmar
Harry Ruby
Werner Janssen
Distributed by United Artists
Release date May 10, 1946 (U.S. release)
Running time 85 min
Language English

I finally watched this movie this morning. It was the last film that the Marx Bros. made together and it’s not their greatest of moments. The film does feature a fair bit of the Marx’s trademark humour but other than the hotel room scene, which drags on a little too long, there is nothing that they had not done in earlier films. There are no classic Marx Bros. moments here. The film is primarily about Nazis and stolen Jewish artworks that were hidden in the hotel Casablanca. The plot is a little disjointed and there seems to be a bit too much going on a lot of the time. The Brothers don’t really get too much time to do their gags justice, with the exception of the amusing hotel room scene that I previously mention. That’s not to say that it is a bad movie, it is still more entertaining than anything that Adam Sandler has made in the last decade or so. While it may not be as hilariously funny as Duck Soup or A Night At The Opera it is still very interesting and worth a look.