Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Marx Brothers - At the Speakeasy

I am a fanatical fan of the Marx Brothers. I just stumbled across the clip below of one of the great scenes from their movies. It's from Horsefeathers, circa 1931, during the Paramount period, which was their best. While at Paramount, they were effectively in charge of their movies and focused totally on humor. The movies produced during this era were, in order of release, The Coconuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horsefeathers and Duck Soup. Classics all, in their own way, but the best in my order of preference were Monkey Business, Horsefeathers and Duck Soup. Despite their ancient look and feel, the humor is thoroughly modern and stands up amazingly well. Duck Soup is particularly timely. Produced before World War II, it is a hilarious depiction of the insanity of war. Unfortunately, these movies were before their time and didn't attract large audiences. The Marx Brothers were essentially fired by Paramount and went to MGM, where later movies had to include the romantic subplots with th singing lovers and dance production numbers to attract a crowd. Still, there were some classics during that period, chief among them was A Night at the Opera.

This 6 minute scene includes non-sequitor, theater of the absurd, surrealism, slapstick, puns, irony, parody, nonsense, satire and some incredible wit. They were the best...ever. Gave me chills to watch again.

Check it out.

1 comment:

Margie Burns said...

Possibly you already knew this, but the FBI under late director J. Edgar Hoover spied on the Marx Brothers. See