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>
In Leonard Maltin's commentary on the current DVD release, he states that there was a longer opening sequence. Starting with a title card that places the movie in Milan, Italy, there was then a musical number in which people on the street were "passing along" the melody line of a song, as in the Maurice Chevalier vehicle Love Me Tonight (1932). The song was followed into the restaurant where Mrs. Claypool was waiting for Otis B. Driftwood. Maltin says the scene was cut during World War II to remove references to Italy, and unfortunately, the main negative was cut as well, so the scene is now lost. This was why the stated running time of the movie was three minutes longer than it is now. See more »
During the overture to "Il Trovatore" when the orchestra members turn their pages and immediately launch into "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" you can see that their score consists of two pages of sheet music side by side. If they were really following it they should have continued playing the correct music from the opera on the left-hand page before they came upon the baseball anthem, which sits atop the right-hand page where Harpo Marx placed it earlier. See more »
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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