REEL 13
Best Movies by Farr
RSS Feed asl RSS Feed

Marx x 5

April 12, 2010

by John Farr

Revisit five of the Marx Brothers’ Depression-era Paramount masterpieces.


The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Edition (1930-1933)

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

The best way to enjoy the nutty antics of Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo is to indulge yourself in this boxed set of five early Paramount classics. A struggling Miami hotel is the scene of The Coconuts, based on the hit Broadway play and starring Groucho as a penurious manager. Animal Crackers tracks the efforts of a certain Captain Spaulding to crack an art-theft case, while the wacky Monkey Business finds the Marx Brothers stowing away on a luxury ship. Horse Feathers follows the demented siblings’ efforts to engineer a comeback for a college-football team, and in Duck Soup they try to govern the unruly nation of Freedonia.

WHY I LOVE IT:

Still one of the funniest vaudeville acts ever to grace stage, television, or silver screen, The Marx Brothers pioneered an antic, anarchic style of gut-busting entertainment that left audiences of the 1930s howling with delight. Even today, the hilarious mix of song-and-dance routines like “The Monkey Doodle-Do” and “Shirt Song”-accompanied, of course, by Harpo’s harp, Groucho’s guitar, and Chico’s expert ivory-tinkling-combined with the sheer nuthouse fervor of their adventures simply dazzle. In fact, “Duck Soup” was a political farce so extreme that Mussolini banned it . This “Silver Screen” set collects the Brothers’ early, outrĂ© Paramount outings, the only films where all four funnymen appeared together. Will social satire ever be this goofy again?


Visit Best Movies by Farr for more great DVD recommendations.

©2016 WNET All Rights Reserved.   825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019