Mr. Hammer runs a bankrupt Florida hotel. He'll try anything to make money, even make love to rich Mrs. Potter. But his main scheme, selling real estate, is in danger of sabotage from zanies Chico and Harpo, who also reduce the schemes of a pair of jewel thieves to chaos. A subplot involves the star-crossed love of Polly Potter and architect Bob Adams. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Marx Brothers first motion picture and Paramount's first "all talking, all singing, all dancing" musical will delight fans of the Marx Brothers, musicals and early cinema alike. While dated and somewhat stagey, after all it *was* basically a filmed version of their hit Broadway show, it holds up better than many films of its day. Kaufman and Ryskind, who also wrote the stage show, wrote the screenplay with an eye to making the Marx Brothers wit appear spontaneous and natural. I remember how shocked I was when I first realized the boys were using a script!
The movie is laced with classics of Marxian comedy. The famous "Why a duck?" scene with Groucho and Chico (remember - it's pronounced Chick-o, not Cheek-o, because he was such a womanizer), Groucho answering the telephone at the hotel's front desk (Ice water? Ice water? Peel some onions. That'll make your eyes water.) and Harpo shaking hands with the house detective while all of the hotel silverware falls out of his coat pockets.
Margaret Dumont is priceless as the clueless matron. She claimed in later years it wasn't an act; she really had no idea what the brothers were doing. Regardless, she is the ideal foil for the boys as they tear into "polite" society.
Take a look at The Cocoanuts. You'll see the wellspring from which all that Marx madness flows.
Jon Brian Waugh
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