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>
The famous "stateroom scene" was originally conceived as a way of getting a cheap laugh by having Groucho Marx, crowded out of his room, changing his pants in the corridor. After this was not liked by test audiences, the scene was improvised on the spot. A total of 15 people were in the scene: Driftwood (1); the stowaways Fiorello, Tomasso and Riccardo [who were in the trunk] (2-4); two chambermaids (5-6); an engineer who comes to turn off the heat (7); a manicurist (8); the engineer's burly assistant (9); a young woman looking for her Aunt Minnie and asking to use the phone (10); a cleaning woman (11); and four staff stewards bearing trays of food (12-15). They all tumble out when Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont) opens the door. 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 Tomasso placed it earlier. See more »
"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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