IMDb > Monkey Business (1931)
Monkey Business
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Monkey Business (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Release Date:
19 September 1931 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
On a transatlantic crossing, the Marx brothers get up to their usual antics and manage to annoy just about everyone on board the ship. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
NewsDesk:
(18 articles)
It’s A Gift
 (From Trailers from Hell. 29 March 2014, 3:07 PM, PDT)

Super-8 Steven Spielberg Movie Madness March 4th at The Way Out Club in St. Louis
 (From WeAreMovieGeeks.com. 28 February 2014, 6:35 AM, PST)

Film Review: ‘Ain’t Misbehavin”
 (From Variety - Film News. 17 February 2014, 11:37 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
The Original Ship of Fools See more (64 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

The Marx Brothers (as The Four Marx Brothers)

Groucho Marx ... Groucho

Harpo Marx ... Harpo

Chico Marx ... Chico
Zeppo Marx ... Zeppo
Rockliffe Fellowes ... Joe Helton
Harry Woods ... Briggs
Thelma Todd ... Lucille
Ruth Hall ... Mary Helton
Tom Kennedy ... Gibson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eddie Baker ... Ship's Officer (uncredited)

Bobby Barber ... Hoarse Barber Customer (uncredited)

Billy Barty ... (uncredited)

Billy Bletcher ... Man in Deck Chair (uncredited)
Eddie Borden ... Joe (uncredited)
James Bradbury Jr. ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Maxine Castle ... Opera Singer at Party (uncredited)

Maurice Chevalier ... Singer (voice) (uncredited)
Davison Clark ... Passport Official (uncredited)
Cecil Cunningham ... Madame Swempski (uncredited)
Bobby Dunn ... Gangster (uncredited)
Al Flosso ... Punch and Judy Puppeteer (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Indian's Wife at Party (uncredited)
Otto Fries ... Ship's 2nd Officer (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Reporter (uncredited)
Pat Harmon ... Indian at Party (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw ... Cabbie at Barn (uncredited)
Wilfred Lucas ... Extra (uncredited)
Sam Marx ... Boat Passenger / Man at Quayside at Arrival (uncredited)
Charlotte Mineau ... Emily (uncredited)
Harold Minjir ... Emily's Lover (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Waiter (uncredited)
Evelyn Pierce ... Manicurist (uncredited)
Cyril Ring ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Constantine Romanoff ... Butch (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... Barber #2 (uncredited)
Frederick Sullivan ... Pickpocket Victim #1 (uncredited)
Ben Taggart ... Capt. Corcoran (uncredited)
Leo White ... Barber #1 (uncredited)
Leo Willis ... Gangster (uncredited)
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Directed by
Norman Z. McLeod  (as Norman McLeod)
 
Writing credits
S.J. Perelman (by) and
Will B. Johnstone (by)

Arthur Sheekman (additional dialogue)

J. Carver Pusey  contributing writer (uncredited)
Al Shean  contributing writer (uncredited)

Produced by
Herman J. Mankiewicz .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
John Leipold (uncredited)
Ralph Rainger (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Arthur L. Todd (photographed by)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Barton .... first assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Harry Caplan .... props (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Daniel L. Fapp .... camera operator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Al Flosso .... puppeteer: "Punch" and "Judy" (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
77 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
Australia:G | Finland:S (1976) | Spain:T | UK:U | USA:Unrated | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #2720-R, 26 September 1936)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In the movie, Groucho Marx tells Thelma Todd, "You're a woman who's been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten your brakes, but you'll have to stay in the garage all night." Four years after making this movie, Thelma Todd died under mysterious circumstances. She was found dead in her car inside her backyard garage with the engine running. It is not known if her death from carbon monoxide poisoning was accidental, a murder, or suicide.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Groucho's position on the bed changes, when he 'shysters' a shyster layer.See more »
Quotes:
Gibson, First Mate:Who are you?
Groucho:I'm the tailor.
Gibson, First Mate:Oh, that reminds me, where are my pants?
Groucho:You've got 'em on.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in King Kong (2005)See more »
Soundtrack:
It's A Great Life (If You Don't Weaken)See more »

FAQ

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
The Original Ship of Fools, 9 January 2004
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

MONKEY BUSINESS (Paramount, 1931), directed by Norman McLeod, and written by S.J. Perelman, presents those four zany Marx Brothers in their third feature comedy. Following their previous efforts in THE COCOANUTS (1929) and ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930), each based on their 1920s stage works filmed at Paramount's Astoria studios in Long Island, NY, MONKEY BUSINESS, produced in Hollywood, was the team's first original comedy and one of their most funnier outings. While no relation to the 20th Century- Fox 1952 comedy starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, except in title only, and having nothing to do with monkeys, this presentation does get right down to business when comedy is concerned.

Here Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo play four stowaways aboard ship bound for the states who, after being discovered hiding in barrels singing "Sweet Adeline," they are pursued by First Officer Gibson (Tom Kennedy) and his crew, which has the foursome running all over the ship, eluding authorities and driving practically everybody out of their minds. Eventually the four stowaways separate, with Chico and Harpo posing as barbers; Groucho acting as the captain, invading the sanctity of the captain's quarters where he and Chico makes themselves at home by eating his meals; Harpo later chasing the young ladies as well as entertaining little children at a puppet show while at the same time making a fool out of Gibson. Harpo even finds time making friends with a frog, but keeps it under his hat. As for Zeppo, in between chases, he finds time escorting a young lady named Mary (Ruth Hall) around the deck. Afterwards, they all encounter rival gangsters, Groucho encounters Alkie Briggs (Harry Woods), after being found with his wife, Lucille (Thelma Todd) in her state room. Briggs, however, takes a liking to Groucho and offers him a job, along with Zeppo, as his personal bodyguards. Chico and Harpo encounter Briggs' rival, Joe Helton (Rockcliffe Fellows), Mary's father and Zeppo's love interest, each becoming Helton's bodyguards as well. After docking in New York, the Marx Brothers find they must get past custom officials to get off. After obtaining the passport belonging to the popular French entertainer, Maurice Chevalier (who does not appear), they pass themselves off as Chevalier, singing one of his current hit songs, "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me," but to no avail. How the silent Harpo gets by with this must be seen to be believed. While the final 25 minutes shifts over to a swank party given by Kelton to introduce his daughter, Mary, to high society, the Marxes join in the function with dysfunctional tendencies as Groucho insults the guests, Chico and Harpo entertain with their traditional piano and harp interludes, while Briggs and his gang sneak in, posing as musicians, to carry out their plot of kidnapping Kelton's daughter, Mary, by holding her hostage inside a barn.

Virtually plot less in a sense, MONKEY BUSINESSS plays like an extended comedy short that would have worked equally well had it starred the Three Stooges. MONKEY BUSINESS is pure Marx Brothers nonsense that appears to be every bit as funny today as it possibly was way back in 1931. Anything goes with this film, including many memorable shipboard moments including Groucho's comedic dance with Thelma Todd; Groucho doing his bit by posing as a reporter interviewing and insulting the cultured Madame Pucchi (Cecil Cunningham, in a manner somewhat similar to Margaret Dumont, Groucho's frequent foil and straight-woman). GROUCHO: "Is it true you're getting a divorce as soon as your husband recovers his eyesight? Is it true you wash your hair in clam broth? Is is true you used to dance in a flea circus?" MADAME PUCCHI: "This is outrageous! I don't like this innuendo." GROUCHO: "That's what I always say. Love flies out the door when money comes innuendo."; the Chico and Groucho exchange regarding Christopher Columbus: GROUCHO: "Columbus sailed from Spain to India looking for a short cut," CHICO: "Oh, you mean a strawberry short cut?;" Harpo coming out from a barrel of hay in the barn and seen kissing a calf, and much more.

As with most of the Marx Brothers films produced by Paramount, MONKEY BUSINESS is pure comedy at best. Had this been done over at MGM, where the Marx Brothers would be employed (1935 to 1941), MONKEY BUSINESS most definitely be toned down some in comedy antics with extended romantic subplots and straight-forward and lengthy musical numbers. MONKEY BUSINESS has none of that. Unlike most Marx Brothers comedies, their characters in MONKEY BUSINESS have no background, no professions and no spoken character names (the closing cast credits them with their first names only). They are just unusual stowaways trying to keep themselves from being caught and taken to the brig. However, in this case, MONKEY BUSINESS has its full quota of belly-laughs. Nothing really drags and nothing provided is unnecessary. And whatever scenes may not be of importance or interest to the viewers, it passes by very quickly.

MONKEY BUSINESS, hailed as one of the top 100 comedies by the American Film Institute, has become a perennial favorite to many Marx Brothers enthusiasts. After many years being presented on commercial television on the afternoon or evening to after midnight hours, it became available on video cassette through MCA Home Video in the 1980s, and to cable television on several channels, from the Comedy Channel shortly prior to 1990, then to American Movie Classics (1991-1992), and, a decade later, on Turner Classic Movies where it premiered December 2001. Regardless of its age, MONKEY BUSINESS, for all its silliness, continues to bring laughter to a new generation of movie lovers whenever shown, thanks to those funny men billed as The Marx Brothers. Because of them, no ocean voyage would ever be the same again, which is why no self respecting ship should ever set sail without them either. Bon Voyage. (***)

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