Giraffes on Horseback Salads
December 16, 2004 6:18 PM   Subscribe

S. Dali + 3 Marxes. From Marx-Out-Of-Print, "a tribute to The Marx Brothers with full reproductions of books and articles from magazines and other publications that are now 'out of print' and hard to find." Dali was a huge fan of Harpo and once gave him a harp strung with barbed wire. He also wrote a script for the Marx Brothers, which was deemed "too surreal."
posted by Joey Michaels (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From LSD to S. Dali. I'm learning more about the Marx Brothers this week than I ever have in my life.

But on a more sober note, Dali's "script" really doesn't work for the Marxes. Groucho, Chico and Harpo had a formula which Dali completely fails to notice, and instead just sort of plugs the Marx Brothers into a generically surreal landscape.

I once read an article which analyzed the Marx Brothers' comedy and concluded that their formula relied upon stripping away sense and meaning, layer by layer. First the straight character (i.e., Margaret Dumont) would deliver the setup, and then Groucho would use puns and other sophisticated language play to take the situation one step away from reality. Next, Chico would step in with his poor English and misunderstand Groucho, in order to go yet another step. Finally, Harpo would strip every last vestige of meaning away with his wordless antics. Dali's premise lacks this procedure, and while it could well be a stunning spectacle on screen, it neither suits nor is suited by the Marx Brothers.

Thanks for the post, Joey.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:50 PM on December 16, 2004

Beautiful. Thanks for this.
posted by ronin21 at 7:08 PM on December 16, 2004

Great post! I just finished watching 2 full box sets of Marx Bros. movies in the past few months, so this is good stuff...
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:01 PM on December 16, 2004

Fascinating. Especially Dali trying to write a movie for the Marx brothers. Why is it everything today seems to remind me of Harlan Ellison and the City on the Edge of Forever fiasco?

I love the last line of the FPP - 'which was deemed "too surreal."' I'm confident they probably told Dali exactly that to avoid saying that his script was deemed "to suck."
posted by soyjoy at 8:49 PM on December 16, 2004

Why is it everything today seems to remind me of Harlan Ellison and the City on the Edge of Forever fiasco?
Persistence of memory?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:17 PM on December 16, 2004

great stuff thank you. I read somewhere that poor Fleming ended up as a bag lady. True?
posted by ciaracat at 12:21 AM on December 17, 2004

Yay! Four artists I love!
Thanks muchly, Mr. Michaels.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:33 PM on December 17, 2004

Fleming passed away last year - apparently a suicide. She had, according to legend and a recent Groucho biography, been living on the street.

A surreal twist to her life, to be sure.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:41 PM on December 17, 2004

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