After two sailors are conned into buying a lame race-horse, they go ashore to sort out the problem, but when they realize that the horse is one of a pair of identical twins, their plan for revenge becomes more complicated.
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>
According to MGM's dialogue cutting continuity, the film originally began (after the opening credits) with the image of a "boat on canal." A superimposed title reads: "ITALY - WHERE THEY SING ALL DAY AND GO TO THE OPERA AT NIGHT." What follows is a musical number featuring bits and pieces from Ruggero Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" performed by "everyday" Italians. A street sweeper sings part of the prologue ("Un nido di memorie...") as he greets a man who then hands out opera tickets to a group of children emerging from a store; the kids respond with "la-la-la-la-la, verso un paese strano." A "captain" comes down a set of steps, salutes a sentry, then bursts into "Vesti la giubba." There's a lap dissolve to a hotel lobby, where a "baggage man" is rolling a trunk and crooning about "nettare divino" (divine nectar). He's joined in song by a waiter who then enters the dining room, where he sings as he serves a man who also gets in a few notes. The waiter then crosses over to speak to Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont), marking the beginning of the film in existing copies. See more »
Riccardo is clearly standing on the dock as the ship pulls away, yet he turns up on board later as a stowaway. See more »
Otis B. Driftwood:
[to carriage driver]
Hey you. I told you to slow that nag down. On account of you I almost heard the opera.
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.
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