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>
Sam Wood was by most accounts a very serious, conservative man who had little or no sense of humour. Allan Jones remembered him as "a disagreeable guy, very insecure." Jones also said Wood responded to actors' questions by saying, "I don't know, I don't know. Just do it again." Wood, who was against improvisation and ad-libbing, would shoot as many as 20 takes of each scene, a method the Marx Brothers found irritating and inhibiting. Jones believed he shot so many takes because he wasn't really sure which was the best until he looked at the day's work. See more »
Ricardo 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:
You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie.
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"A Night at the Opera" is great Marx Brothers entertainment. It has comedy, music, and a good cast - everything except Zeppo, who by this time had left the act. It fully deserves its reputation as one of the two best Marx Brothers films, along with "Duck Soup".
"A Night at the Opera" is probably slightly less funny than "Duck Soup" (it is no criticism to say that of any film), but it has more of a story to connect the great comic bits. There is a good supporting cast in both films
here Sig Ruman is especially funny, in addition to the perennial Margaret
Dumont. It also has several fairly long musical interludes - some are operatic, but the most entertaining is Chico and Harpo's impromptu shipboard entertainment.
Of course, the real attraction in any of these films is the comedy, and there are some memorable bits in this one. The contract negotiations between Chico and Groucho, and the scene in Groucho's stateroom, are especially hilarious, and you have to see the stateroom scene more than once to catch everything. And for sustained zany humor, the climactic sequence at the opera might be the funniest part of all.
This is certainly a must for Marx Brothers fans.
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