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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Producer Irving Thalberg would often call people in for meetings, and then keep them waiting in his office for hours while he attended other meetings on the MGM lot. One day, during pre-production for this picture, Thalberg kept The Marx Brothers waiting for several hours in his secretary's office while he was in his own office making phone calls. When Thalberg's secretary went home for the day, the brothers decided they'd had enough. They pushed the office file cabinets against Thalberg's door, trapping the producer in his office. Afterwards, Thalberg kept his appointments with the Marx Brothers, but would often interrupt his meetings with them and step out to attend other meetings--again keeping the brothers waiting for hours. One day Thalberg came back from another meeting to find Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx sitting in his office completely naked, and roasting potatoes on sticks in his office fireplace. Thalberg sat down with them, had a potato and never missed or interrupted another meeting with the Marx Brothers. See more »
When Harpo Marx plays the harp, the sound is briefly out of sync a couple of times. This is due to the fact that Marx always recorded his harp music in a studio and then synced during the shoot. See more »
Otis B. Driftwood:
[to Tomasso, who's knocked out Lassparri]
Nice work I think you got him. Ah, smelling salts? That will bring him to. You're sorry for what you did eh? That shows a nice spirit. Now he's coming along. He'll be fine.
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No doubt that "A Night at the Opera" is right up there with "Duck Soup" as the best Marx Brothers movie. Some Marx-purists complain "ANatO" is when the brothers started to grow soft and their quality started to decline. For one thing, instead of ridiculing romantic couples (the love story subplot plays a big part), they support them. Also, it's not as surreal or satirical as their past films. To those purists, I say: Lighten up! "ANatO" is just as funny as anything the Marx Bros did in the past (heck, I think it's funnier than "Monkey Business"), and it's withstood the test of time perfectly. In fact, "ANatO" is said to be Groucho's favorite; he even called his previous films "duds"! The film is filled with jabs at the upper class and double entendres courtesy of Groucho. Sample:
Mrs. Claypool: Do you have everything, Otis?
Otis: I haven't had any complaints yet!
The love story subplot isn't as nauseating as 1937's "A Day at the Races". Allan Jones may be a bit too mushy, but Kitty Carlisle, the love interest, is cool and calm enough to help it go down easily (that's really her singing, by the way). Chico and Harpo have some inspired moments, such as their gleeful butchering of "Il Travotore" (sp?). The hapless villains are the funniest Marx foils ever, and the finale is just uproarious. "ANatO" is a wonderfully silly romp, and it's rather harmless, so kids can probably watch and enjoy it. The famous stateroom scene is nothing short of brilliant, and you'll find yourself humming along to "Cosi Cosa" (I just wish the ballad "Alone" had been left, well, alone). Don't miss this hilarious masterpiece. And now, on with the opera!!
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