#38 A Night at the Opera

Watched: September 10 2016

Director: Sam Wood

Starring: The Marx Brothers

Year: 1935

Runtime: 1h 36min

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Is there anything left to say on the Marx Brothers? We think not, and so we will not, except to tell you to watch this one too. Boom! Shortest blog entry in 1000filmsblog history!

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Cue out-of-context pictures

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What we learned: we still love the Marx Brothers. Groucho is still the most quotable bastard in movie history. Chico is still our favourite pianist. Harpo is still creepily likable. Zeppo is still oddly replaceable…

Next time: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

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#12 Animal Crackers

Watched: August 11 2016

Director: Victor Heerman

Starring: The Marx Brothers

Year: 1930

Runtime: 1h 37min

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have moved on to talkies! And a talkie with musical numbers to boot!

This is a very different kind of absurd from Un Chien Andalou, and thankfully free from eye-stuff… Animal Crackers is a silly Marx Brothers comedy with lots of physical and verbal humour which made us both snort with laughter throughout (but, you know, snort in a very charming, feminine way). Despite Harpo’s quest to rape that poor girl, the film is funny, farcical and very silly indeed. You can clearly see Mel Brooks (among others) being influenced by the Marx Brothers, and never has the word “suicide” been pronounced better.

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Chico Marx has the best piano playing technique you’ll ever see

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The plot goes something like this: a wealthy society lady throws a party in honour of famous explorer Jeffrey T. Spaulding (fittingly for this project, the T stands for Edgar). During the course of the party, a valuable painting is replaced and stolen several times. However, the plot is just an excuse to showcase the visual gags, brilliant one liners and general comedic and artistic skills of Groucho, Harpo and Chico Marx, with poor Zeppo having a small part as the straight man. I can see why Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) would identify with him.

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Guess who is the one without superpowers…

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The film is whimsical, zany and hilarious as well as very quotable (our new chorus is “Pardon me while I have a strange interlude”). If comedy’s not your thing (really? You don’t like comedy? Who doesn’t like comedy?), then it’s worth watching for the musical numbers in the beginning as well as all the pretty dresses worn by the party-goers. Enjoy!

Next time: L’Age d’Or (1930)