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November 2, 2007 12:59 AM   Subscribe

Marx Brothers Filter:
Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933).

And while the full film itself wasn't on google, here's everything you ever needed to know about A Night at the Opera (1935). Previously.
posted by miss lynnster (37 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
And a special bonus... Harpo on I Love Lucy.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:09 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this miss lynnster!
posted by rfbjames at 2:25 AM on November 2, 2007


You just can't beat the Marx Brothers. They are in a category all their own. I didn't know these were on the web in their entirety, so big thanks for the post, miss l.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:36 AM on November 2, 2007


"You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are."

Duck Soup is simply the greatest movie ever made. (2001 is a close second.)
posted by dgbellak at 2:36 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah...the Marx Bros....I found this treasure trove of You Bet Your Life shows on archive.org last month:

You Bet Your Life at archive.org.
posted by rmmcclay at 2:36 AM on November 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


A serialized The Cocoanuts is on the 'Tube.
posted by dgbellak at 2:45 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Apparently, their live shows were far better than anything committed to film. Ah, for a time machine...
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 2:45 AM on November 2, 2007


Thank you. Thank You. Thank You.
posted by adamvasco at 4:17 AM on November 2, 2007


Brilliant!

There goes any shred of productivity I may have mustered today . . .
posted by Shohn at 6:44 AM on November 2, 2007


Apparently, their live shows were far better than anything committed to film. Ah, for a time machine...

Yes, they were already well established as a live show.
Some of their movies hit and are brilliant, others fall incredibly flat. The ones where they actually toured the country and adapted to the audience reactions tended more towards the brilliant, I think. There are a LOT of pop culture references, so you'd have to set the time machine back a ways to really get all the jokes in context, but hell yeah I'd love to see a live performance in the middle of one of their tours.

and hoorah for this. My father took my DVD set of their earlier stuff.
posted by Busithoth at 6:47 AM on November 2, 2007


The common wisdom is that everything the Marx Brothers did after "Night at the Opera" more or less blew, and that "Animal," "Monkey," "Horse" and "Duck" are all you really need to know. But I've gone back over "A Day at the Races," "The Big Store," and "At the Circus" over the past year, and those films are damned funny. It's true the films are more "produced" and less anarchic than the Paramount pictures. But the scripts are good, the boys are in high spirits, and (with a few clunky "big" chase sequences that fall flat) they keep you laughing. What I'm trying to say is, don't write off the MGM-era Marx Brothers.
The pre-MGM "Room Service," you can skip. The Marx brother look and act old, tired and depressed in that movie. I think they hated the whole project. I've also found that the "You Bet Your Life" series (while a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s), doesn't hold up all that well any more. Just my opinions...
posted by Faze at 6:47 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just referenced Freedonia last night, and no one in my circle had a clue what I was talking about. It was very sad.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:54 AM on November 2, 2007


Love the Marx Brothers!!! Now I have to go home to watch videos.

And have to upgrade miss lynnster from "Contact" to "Crush"...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:06 AM on November 2, 2007


Also, here's a Marx Brothers quiz.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:17 AM on November 2, 2007


I have all of these on video, but very cool post! Duck Soup is, indeed, the best comedy film ever made. My home wireless network SID is "freedonia," and is, appropriate to the movie, locked down as securely as possible.

Groucho was always the best source for funny quotes, ever. My favorite is probably:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
posted by cerebus19 at 7:21 AM on November 2, 2007


Faze writes "I've also found that the 'You Bet Your Life' series (while a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s), doesn't hold up all that well any more"

I totally disagree. I used to watch it on Nick at Nite, before they moved to '70s and '80s sitcoms. It's still the best game show I've ever seen, and it's all due to Groucho. His conversations with the contestants before the game started was the best part of the show, and often the longest. It's not as good as most of the Marx Bros films, but you get to see Groucho improvise, and he's quite good at it.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:23 AM on November 2, 2007


Yeah, I agree about "You Bet Your Life" being good. The nice thing is Groucho has fun with the contestants, but not really at their expense though it might appear so. Groucho was just funnier than hell.
posted by Eekacat at 7:35 AM on November 2, 2007


krinklyfig -- I wonder how much of Groucho's "improvisation" was real. 1950s TV was so clunky and difficult from a production standpoint, I suspect they didn't leave much room for chance.
posted by Faze at 7:36 AM on November 2, 2007


miss lynnster, I've enjoyed many of your posts and comments, but loving the Marx Brothers? That takes it over the top.

Thanks for the links.
posted by mikeh at 7:37 AM on November 2, 2007


Faze writes "krinklyfig -- I wonder how much of Groucho's 'improvisation' was real. 1950s TV was so clunky and difficult from a production standpoint, I suspect they didn't leave much room for chance."

Actually, most of '50s television was live. However, YBYL was one of the few shows that was filmed, so we still have most of the episodes available. YBYL was designed to "feel" improvised, and much of it was, but much of it was also scripted. Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me so much how "pure" the improv was. It's still hilarious, at least to me, and there is improv involved. Groucho was always very good at pulling lines out of the air, and the show meant to emphasize that, even if it "cheated" a little.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:45 AM on November 2, 2007


Ah, here we go (from a review of a DVD set of YBYL):

"You Bet Your Life worked hard to create the illusion that it was entirely improvised, even going so far as to omit any writing credits. It was at least partially scripted, but that ultimately doesn't matter. What's important is that the show feels improvised, that it sustains an aura of thrilling unpredictability in which seemingly anything could happen—the rules of polite behavior were discarded, and Marxian mayhem ruled. Decades before Howard Stern, Marx let his anarchic id run wild on national television, delighting in asking questions that flouted decorum. When a female contestant indignantly refuses to answer Marx's query about her age, he persists, refusing to take her hint. When a wrestler with a flamboyant oratorical style and a predilection for five-dollar words comes on the show, Marx asks whether professional wrestling is fixed, and whether the guest's professional success is attributable to his diligence in reading his scripts.

...

"The main attraction, however, serves as a showcase for Marx's famed wit, feisty intellect, and genius for ad-libbing first, a talk show second, and a game show a distant third. You Bet Your Life was smart enough to give Marx a loose, relaxed forum to strut his stuff, then politely get out of his way."
posted by krinklyfig at 7:51 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks rmmclay. There's some really interesting stuff there. Like this unedited YBYL featuring "Irish bachelors & Irish spinsters."
posted by miss lynnster at 7:56 AM on November 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damn you... I have work to do today.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:25 AM on November 2, 2007


My uncle was on YBYL, but I'll have to ask him which episode...searching this archive fails me.
posted by brujita at 9:13 AM on November 2, 2007


BTW, what is the song they always play and hum? Harpo plays it at about 6:40 here. I keep thinking it's Hello My Ragtime Gal, but more often than not I think I'm wrong.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:29 AM on November 2, 2007


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

Groucho stole from the best. Mark Twain said that first, or at least before Groucho did. (Twain was also good at stealing - he stole "Mark Twain" after all.

Another Groucho quote stolen from Mark: "I wouldn't beliong to any club that would have me as a member."
posted by tommyD at 10:32 AM on November 2, 2007


Chico: (reviewing contract) "Whats that?"

Groucho: "Why that is the standard sanity clause..."

Chico: "AH! Hah HAH! You can't fool me. There is no such thing a Santa-dee Klaus!"

Groucho, sighs, and tears another piece of paper off the bottom of the page.
posted by tkchrist at 11:00 AM on November 2, 2007


BTW, what is the song they always play and hum? Harpo plays it at about 6:40 here. I keep thinking it's Hello My Ragtime Gal, but more often than not I think I'm wrong.

No. I was going to say the Anvil Chorus, but that's not it either...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:12 PM on November 2, 2007


Another Groucho quote stolen from Mark Twain: "I wouldn't belong to any club that would have me as a member."

So all the media types should be powdering their noses at the Mark Twain Club? I like that.

Miss Lynnster, perfect notion for an FFPP (Friday etc). Thank-you
posted by MinPin at 12:49 PM on November 2, 2007


Well, some hero you are, "OBSCURE REFERENCE MAN"...

The other song it sounds just like is Sugartime. But that supposedly wasn't written until 1957. Sooooo... huh. That's probably not it either.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:55 PM on November 2, 2007


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

That's up on the wall coming out of the back office at work. (They sneak by with "Attributed to Groucho Marx".) It's one of the few highlights of my workday. Thanks for this post, misslynnster. I'll be busting out the platinum collection box when I get home (it has all of these movies I think, and one or two more).
posted by carsonb at 1:23 PM on November 2, 2007


I know. Very anitponisterical of me. But I will be doing some research on this one.

But the tune does have the rhythm of Sugartime. And checking songtapper, it's also similar to Catch a Falling Star.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:35 PM on November 2, 2007


ObscureReferenceMan, Miss Lynster, etc. --

From looking into this, it seems pretty clear that this song is indeed "Sugartime", aka "Sugar in the Morning", written by Odis Echols. At least, according to allmusic.com and also marx-brother.org. Details on when it was written or introduced seem sketchy so far, but I'm still researching this. On AMG site, you can hear brief samples of the tune, and it's indeed the same one as in the Marxian one.

I appreciate Miss Lynster's reason that is was supposedly written in 1957, but that appears not to be so. The song was public domain, (so no songwriter fees need to be paid) and was repopularized by the Maquire Sisters -- in 1957. It's also has been covered (as a country tune) by Johnny Cash and many others.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 2:48 PM on November 2, 2007


Hello!
I must be going.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:11 PM on November 2, 2007


The suspicious death of comedienne and actress Thelma Todd in 1935 adds a tragic footnote to their films:
A line of dialogue in the Marx Brothers film Monkey Business (1931) [still of Groucho and Thelma] appears to predict Todd's death. Alone with Todd in her cabin, Groucho Marx quips: "You're a woman who's been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten those brakes, but you'll have to stay in the garage all night." While the reference is nothing more than a coincidence, it is perceived by many fans as sick and eerie in light of the tragic events that would take place only five years later.
More about "Hot Toddy" with image links.
posted by cenoxo at 9:56 PM on November 2, 2007


I once walked into a class I was TAing for, before the professor arrived, and announced to full voice to the class:

HELLO!
I must be going.
I came to say, I cannot stay, I must be going.
I'm glad I came but all the same, I must be go-iiiing...

I'll stay a week or two!
I'll stay the summaah thru!
But. I. Am. Telling. You.

(very low voice) I must be going.

Then I left. What else can you do after that? Anyway, awesome links!
posted by JHarris at 4:38 AM on November 3, 2007


Grew up knowing the screenwriter for Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, SJ Perelman. Was never a fan of the work he did for the Marx Brothers. Tried to like the inanity but never did. However, really like SJ's awesome wit in The Rising Gorge, Acres and Pains, Eastward Ha etc but that kind of mischief doesn't translate onto the screen.
posted by nickyskye at 1:25 PM on November 3, 2007


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