Actor: Margaret Dumont

Up in Arms (1944)

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Continuing with my own little private Danny Kaye film festival, I watched Up in Arms. Although Kaye is as funny and versatile as always, it immediately becomes clear that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which I watched yesterday, was his best film. The problem is the plot the sting together the comedic scenes is […]

The Big Store (1941)

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Marx Brothers fans love to discuss which film is the best, with the argument using coming down to Duck Soup or A Night at the Opera. (Horse Feathers is probably my personal favorite.) The next topic of conversation is usually which is their worst entry. Many Marxists place The Big Store at the bottom of […]

At the Circus (1939)

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Yesterday I finally got around to seeing Room Service, the only Marx Brothers film I hadn’t seen, and was just as disappointed with it as I was afraid I would be. I wanted to watch a better film that would restore my faith in the Marxes and also continue watching them in sequence. Fortunately, the […]

A Day at the Races (1937)

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MGM producer Irving Thalberg promised the Marx Brothers that he could make a film that would have half of the laughs of their Paramount films, but would have bigger box office returns. They were reluctant, but trusted the boy wonder. The gambled paid off, and the result, A Night at the Opera, was their highest-grossing […]

A Night at the Opera (1935)

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The Marx Brothers completed Duck Soup in 1933 and either opted not to renew their contract with Paramount, or were cut off from the studio due to the poor box office performance of their latest film. They were set adrift without a home, a situation similar to the one they found themselves in around 1923, […]

Duck Soup (1933)

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When the Marx Brothers started making motion pictures, they had already been through two successful careers—one as a touring Vaudeville act, and one as Broadway stars. When Groucho stepped in front of the cameras to film The Cocoanuts in 1929, he had already been in show business for 25 years.  Comparing their first two sound […]

Animal Crackers (1930)

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Today marks the 80th anniversary of the release of Animal Crackers. I have seen it about 80 times, I suppose, and it is one of the few movies that actually make me laugh out loud even after multiple viewings. While the Marx Brothers first talkie film The Cocoanuts was marred by some rough production quality, […]

The Cocoanuts (1929)

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The very first Marx Brothers film was Humor Risk, a 1921 two-reel silent comedy the Brothers produced themselves, with a script by Russian-born newspaperman Jo Swerling, who would later go on to do writing work on Hitchcock’s Lifeboat and Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Like so many other milestones in the Marxian saga, there is […]

Random Quote

“You really mean no Englishman flew until three years ago?”
-Lord Rawnsley (Robert Morley)
from Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines