Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Doctor Hugo Hackenbush, Tony, and Stuffy try and save Judy's farm by winning a big race with her horse. There are a few problems. Hackenbush runs a high priced clinic for the wealthy who don't know he has his degree in Veterinary Medicine. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Groucho Marx's character was initially to have been named Dr. Quackenbush, which he and everyone else thought was too silly a name to offend anyone. However, MGM's legal department discovered at least a dozen legitimate U.S. doctors named Quackenbush, so for legal reasons the name was changed to Hackenbush. Although initially dismayed by the name change, Groucho later came to like it. He cited "Dr. Hackenbush" as his favorite character from his films, and even occasionally signed letters to friends using that name. See more »
In the closing seconds of the film, Hackenbush takes off his hat and puts it up on the tip of his umbrella. When the camera angle changes to a wide shot, he does it again. See more »
I love movies from the 1930s and 1940s and TCM is my favorite channel, so I've seen most of the Marx Brothers movies over the years. My comments here about A Day at the Races could apply equally to any of the movies they made at MGM.
Something I was struck by is the stark differences between their early features - Animal Crackers and Duck Soup to name two - and later releases like A Day at the Races. The difference, I realized several years is in early releases done at Paramount the Marx Brothers are "best actors" - the focal point of the story. Once they moved to MGM the brothers became "supporting actors" and their gags were subordinated to romantic subplots and over-earnest sentimentality.
This change also affected my perception of the song and dance numbers. When the brothers were the leads the predictable formula - Chico comes across a piano and Harpo finds a harp - feels more integrated into the "plot". Whether in A Night at the Opera, The Big Store, or A Day at the Races the musical interludes feel self-consciously cute - an interlude that stops the storyline (opera singers or horse owners) while the music plays.
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