The Marx Brothers take on high society. Two lovers who are both in opera are prevented from being together by the man's lack of acceptance as an operatic tenor. Pulling several typical Marx Brothers' stunts, they arrange for the normal tenor to be absent so that the young lover can get his chance. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
A rejected plot for the film circulated for more than three decades as a Broadway legend and popular backstage tale. The plot featured Groucho Marx as a producer plotting to stage the worst opera in history so that the show would close quickly. The backers he had soaked for ten times the production costs would assume they had lost their money, and Groucho could escape to South America with the sizable profits. But his plans are thwarted when the opera becomes a huge hit and he is left owing ten times what the show actually brings in. Groucho loved the idea, but producer Irving Thalberg nixed it. He explained that he didn't want a funny story but a good, simple plot that the Marx Brothers could use as a springboard for their comic ideas. The basis of the plot floated around both Hollywood and Broadway for many years, before Mel Brooks filmed a version of the plot with his breakout hit, The Producers (1967). It is unclear which of the myriad writers for this film was responsible for suggesting the now-famous bogus play idea. See more »
During the antics on stage during the opera, a battleship backdrop falls into the scene. But just seconds later, the battleship backdrop has vanished. See more »
[upon seeing a cast member made up to appear hideously ugly]
Otis B. Driftwood:
Boogie, boogie, boogie. How would you like to feel the way she looks?
See more »
This is probably the best Marx Brothers film. It is certainly my favorite. The brothers destroy pomposity and pretension by the ton. The pieces of comic business were worked out through many live theater performances before the scenes were finally filmed. This craftsmanship never shows, but it pays off completely. The stateroom scene is a classic, and the total devastation of the opera is a delicious piece of craziness.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?