Sunday, January 4, 2009


As the avid Internet surfer behind our resident comedienne Ms. Waxy Dragon and other avatars takes the holiday weekend off to be with their family, I would like to take this opportunity to reminisce about one of the great comedic teams of filmdom: The Marx Brothers.

Although Gummo (Milton) did not make the transition from the vaudeville and Broadway stages to the big screen, for Brothers Groucho (Julius), Harpo (Arthur), Chico (Leonard), and Zeppo (Herbert) Marx; the comedic moments were always of more importance than the plot, with the Brothers known to improvise moments that were never in the original script. Especially when Groucho quipped one of his infamous ad libs.
Musical numbers were a prerequisite, with Chico tickling the ivories with his "shoot the piano" finger technique, and Harpo playing the instrument he was nicknamed for. Even Groucho sang an occasional number, such as "Hello, I Must Be Going" from Animal Crackers or "Sing While You Sell" from The Big Store.
Their first two movies: The Cocoanuts (from 1929, with the funny "Why A Duck?" sequence) and Animal Crackers (1930), were adapted from their stage plays. But with the aptly named Monkey Business in 1931, the hijinx began in earnest.
Gummo stayed with the group through Horse Feathers (1932), but left after the classic romp to save the tiny country of Freedonia in 1933's Duck Soup. Afterwards, the remaining trio were always joined by another actor playing the romantic interest that they inevitably ended up helping out.
Next came what some consider the best movies of their career: 1935's A Night At The Opera (Just how many people were in that room?) and A Day At The Races (1937), although the movies afterwards: Room Service (1938), At The Circus (1939), Go West (1940), and The Big Store (1941), have their funny moments.
Sadly, time passes for us all. In this case, A Night In Casablanca (1946) and 1949's Love Happy were the group's last outings together.

Now obviously there is no way this "short" post can do the Marx Brothers the justice they deserve. But if you happen to see one of their movies for rent or sale somewhere, or you come across one in a future TV schedule, do your funny bone a huge favor and watch it.

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