I was a little shocked in Derek Malcolm’s choice that he chose The Marx Brother’s “A Night At The Opera”, but he gave me a chance to choose their best!
The Marx Brother’s had come into film just as sound was coming in when “The Cocoanuts” appeared for Paramount in 1929, followed by “Animal Crackers” in 1930, “Monkey Business” in 1931, “Horse Feathers” in 1932 and “Duck Soup” in 1933, after this they left Paramount for MGM and Zeppo left, only their first film at MGM, “A Night At The Opera” is a classic. Their remaining output have moments of brilliance, but never again was their humour captured as it was as Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) becomes President of Fredonia and war breaks out with it’s neighbour. This is the one without the instrumental interludes, it has the lemonade stand and the mirror sequence, what more could you want?
The Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy were the pinnacle of 30’s cinema and this is the Marx brother’s masterpiece, 68 minutes of pure brilliance. It was perhaps just pure coincidence that Leo McCarey had directed Laurel & Hardy in a few shorts (including “We Faw Down”, “Liberty” and “Wrong Again”, he also directed WC Fields (“Six Of A Kind”), Mae West (“Belle Of The Nineties”) and Harold Lloyd (“The Milky Way”).
In the 1940’s he won an Oscar for best director for the Bing Crosby vehicle “Going My Way”, but never quite made up to the films he made in the 30s (which also included the Cary Grant vehicle “The Awful Truth” and the Charles Boyer / Irene Dunne romance “Love Affair”).
I was introduced to this film thanks to Cult Movies by Danny Perry… (cue a Starburst Memory …)
US Release 17/11/1933
DF Viewing 10/04/1992 0n Channel 4
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