IMDb > A Day at the Races (1937)
A Day at the Races
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A Day at the Races (1937) More at IMDbPro »

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A Day at the Races -- Trailer for this comedy follow up from the Marx Brothers

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   9,269 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Robert Pirosh (screen play) &
George Seaton (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for A Day at the Races on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 June 1937 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Three Great Laff Stars ! . . . more gags and gals . . . more songs and dances ! See more »
Plot:
A veterinarian posing as a doctor, a race-horse owner and his friends struggle to help keep a sanitarium open with the help of a misfit race-horse. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
"Either he's dead or my watch has stopped." See more (62 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Groucho Marx ... Dr. Hackenbush (as The Marx Brothers)

Chico Marx ... Tony (as The Marx Brothers)

Harpo Marx ... Stuffy (as The Marx Brothers)

Allan Jones ... Gil

Maureen O'Sullivan ... Judy

Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Upjohn
Leonard Ceeley ... Whitmore

Douglass Dumbrille ... Morgan
Esther Muir ... 'Flo'
Sig Ruman ... Dr. Steinberg (as Sig Rumann)
Robert Middlemass ... Sheriff
Vivien Fay ... Dancer
Ivie Anderson ... Vocalist
The Crinoline Choir ... Vocal Ensemble
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hooper Atchley ... Race Judge (uncredited)
King Baggot ... Race Track Official Starter (uncredited)
Kenny Baker ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Vivian Barry ... Telephone Girl (uncredited)

Barbara Bedford ... Secretary (uncredited)
Vangie Beilby ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Edna Bennett ... Nurse (uncredited)
Edward Biby ... Racetrack Spectator with Wrong Hat (uncredited)
Lennie Bluett ... Black Singer (uncredited)
The Plantation Boys ... Performers (uncredited)
Troy Brown Sr. ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Jean Burt ... Telephone Operator (uncredited)
Ben Carter ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Ruth Cherrington ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Jacqueline Clancy ... Child (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Man Boarding Bus (uncredited)
DeForest Covan ... Black Singer (uncredited)
George Cowl ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Jack Daley ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)

Dorothy Dandridge ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Vivian Dandridge ... Black Singer (uncredited)

Frankie Darro ... Morgan's Jockey (uncredited)
Frank Dawson ... Doctor (uncredited)
Dudley Dickerson ... Wheelchair Attendant (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Billy Dooley ... Race Track Bugler (uncredited)
Edward Earle ... Race Judge (uncredited)
Aaron Edwards ... Plainclothesman (uncredited)

Richard Farnsworth ... Jockey (uncredited)

Pat Flaherty ... Detective with Sheriff (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Ray Flynn ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
J.C. Fowler ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Jack George ... Musician (uncredited)
John Hiestand ... Radio Announcer (uncredited)
Leyland Hodgson ... Policeman at Racetrack (uncredited)
Arthur Stuart Hull ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
John Hyams ... Judge (uncredited)
William Irving ... Man for Horn Business (uncredited)
Si Jenks ... Messenger (uncredited)
Jack W. Johnston ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Darby Jones ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Etta Jones ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Jack Kenney ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Edith Kingdon ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)

Carole Landis ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Harry Lash ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Alexander Leftwich ... Musician (uncredited)
Edward LeSaint ... Doctor (uncredited)
Carl M. Leviness ... Party Guest Who Calls the Sheriff (uncredited)
Max Lucke ... Doctor (uncredited)
Wilbur Mack ... Race Judge (uncredited)
Mary MacLaren ... Nurse (uncredited)
Charles McAvoy ... Policeman Pursuing Hugo (uncredited)
Alex Melesh ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Norma Miller ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Edmund Mortimer ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Etta Moten ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Henry Mowbray ... Man for Hat Business (uncredited)
Lee Murray ... Judge (uncredited)
Field Norton ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Jack Norton ... Drunk (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Racetrack Guard (uncredited)
Cullen and Pauline ... Performers (uncredited)
Victor Potel ... Horn Blower (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
James Quinn ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Bob Reeves ... Policeman Pursuing Hugo (uncredited)
Cyril Ring ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Gus Robinson ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Allen D. Sewall ... Policeman Pursuing Hugo (uncredited)
Four Hot Shots ... Black Performers (uncredited)
Phillips Smalley ... Racing Spectator with Wrong Hat (uncredited)
Carolynne Snowden ... Black Singer (uncredited)
Arthur Thalasso ... Policeman Pursuing Hugo (uncredited)
The Three Chocolateers ... Black Performers (uncredited)
Charles Trowbridge ... Dr. Wilmerding (uncredited)
Elizabeth Williams ... Racetrack Spectator (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Detective with Sheriff (uncredited)
Florence Wix ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Buck Woods ... Black Singer (uncredited)

Directed by
Sam Wood 
 
Writing credits
Robert Pirosh (screen play) &
George Seaton (screen play) and
George Oppenheimer (screen play)

Robert Pirosh (original story) and
George Seaton (original story)

Al Boasberg  original story (uncredited)
Al Boasberg  screen play (uncredited)
Leon Gordon  original story (uncredited)
Leon Gordon  screen play (uncredited)
George S. Kaufman  screen play (uncredited)

Produced by
Max Siegel .... associate producer
Irving Thalberg .... producer (uncredited)
Lawrence Weingarten .... producer (uncredited)
Sam Wood .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Franz Waxman (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Joseph Ruttenberg (photographed by)
Leonard Smith (photographed by) (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Frank E. Hull (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert A. Golden .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Stan Rogers .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
 
Stunts
Richard Farnsworth .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ted Wurtenberg .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Ben Carter .... casting: black sequence (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dolly Tree .... wardrobe
 
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... choral arrangements
Leo Arnaud .... orchestral arrangements
George Bassman .... orchestrator
Roger Edens .... musical arrangements
Walter Jurmann .... music by
Gus Kahn .... lyrics by
Bronislau Kaper .... music by
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator
Merrill Pye .... musical presentation
Franz Waxman .... musical director
Wayne Allen .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Bassman .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Roger Edens .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Dave Gould .... musical numbers staged by
Reginald Le Borg .... director: musical scenes (uncredited)
Carl 'Major' Roup .... script clerk (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
111 min | Germany:105 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White | Black and White (Sepiatone) | Black and White (blue tinted)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Finland:S | Portugal:M/6 | Sweden:Btl | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #3231) | West Germany:6

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The "Grand Steeplechase" sequence at the end had to be shot twice. Both times a crew member persuaded Chico Marx to gamble on it and not only to bet on the outcome of a rigged non-race, but to bet on a horse other than the one scripted to win. Chico, all his life an avid gambler, could offer as excuse only, "The odds were 20 to one."See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Stuffy gets on the horse with the wagon, he is wearing a coat and dark trousers. As jockey he wears white pants and jockey shirt. While he could have lost the coat easy enough, there was no opportunity for him to change pants.See more »
Quotes:
Dr. Hackenbush:And I've got a question for you: Steinberg, what do you do with your old razor blades?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Some More of Samoa (1941)See more »
Soundtrack:
Cosi-CosaSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
28 out of 42 people found the following review useful.
"Either he's dead or my watch has stopped.", 13 February 2001
Author: The_Movie_Cat from England

Forty years after the release of A Night At The Opera the rock group Queen released an album with the same title. When, the following year, they released another called A Day at the Races, it was largely knocked for not matching the quality of its predecessor. The actual films follow this pattern, too, with Races, coming two years later, being held to be good but lacking in comparison. It's a fair assessment.

Everyone knows the Marx brothers, of course. There's Groucho (The anarchic wise guy with the drawn-on moustache), Chico (The likable Italian stereotype), Harpo (The mute, childish, slightly annoying one, there for kid appeal) and Zeppo (The normal-looking one who was always left as the straight guy). Zeppo didn't appear in either of these two films, of course, though gets his usual substitute - in Day it's Allan Jones as the stiff romantic lead.

Even today Groucho is still very funny and his rapid one-liners hit the target ("Take these bags and run up to my room and here's a dime for yourself" "Oh, no, no, no, no - this is Mr. Whitmore, our business manager." "Oh, I'm terribly sorry - here's a quarter.") but after many lines there's a forced silence, as if to anticipate the audience laughter. As a result it feels strangely artificial and muted, never more so than in his first scene at the sanatorium. Things do get better, particularly when he's appearing opposite Chico, with whom he understandably has a greater rapport. Groucho talking to Whitmore via phone and Dictaphone, using multiple voices, is another winner.

The need for a romantic subplot and occasional reliance on the traditional trappings of the American sitcom do hold things back. The Brothers would be held to have more art and attitude than Laurel and Hardy, though they're nowhere near as amusing. Perhaps this is because Stan and Ollie generally avoid the over-earnest sentimentality of a Marx Bros. Movie.

Another major sticking point is the song and dance sequences. There are three in total, all of them lasting over twenty minutes combined. That's twenty minutes where we could have had more verbal by-play from Groucho, who is a little neglected in sections. An elaborate routine (not all that well directed) during the first forty minutes slows things to almost a standstill, even before the film has really got going. It's really quite irksome and not what a Marx Brothers film is - or should be - about. Much funnier is Groucho doing the rumba. For someone so well known as a verbal comedian, it's notable how much of a gifted physical performer he is, too. Okay, he's not a full-on slapstick contortionist like some of his peers, but just seeing the way he walks into a room has me in hysterics.

The film adheres to a formula as usual, with Chico again coming across a piano and Harpo again coming across, yes, you guessed it. It's another musical interlude that is too self-consciously cute, and, at six minutes, too long. The best musical segment is a later sequence where Harpo leads a group in a rendition of "Gabriel Blow Your Horn". This is marred only by t he fact that the group in question is the most stereotyped portrayal of black people ever laid to celluloid. After much hand shaking and eye rolling, the brothers themselves get in on the offensive act by dousing their faces in oil in an attempt to blend in. Like Laurel and Hardy's "Pardon Us", this is a film that cannot be judged by contemporary sensibilities... it's just the way things were.

Sometimes the mania can be a little forced and artificial - witness the "examination" scene, where the brothers - Harpo particularly - do zany things just because they're zany and not because of any consequence of plot. The ending is satisfying, though, with a well-presented sabotage of the horse race and the eventual song to play out. This isn't a perfect film by any means - judging it via the rather trite metaphor of a cake mixture, then the ingredients aren't quite right. With two additional songs that were removed, there's clearly too much music in the film. There's also slightly too much Harpo and there was room for more Groucho. The romantic subplot should have been scrapped and there are long stretches that unfortunately discard the need for dialogue. Yet while the cake isn't baked to perfection, the basic ingredients are there, and this is still, if not wholly satisfying, a worthwhile view. 6/10.

POSTSCRIPT 2012: "Now listen, it was nobody's fault but mine." Words that Groucho should never speak. It's almost 11 years to the day since I reviewed this movie, and, as I'd only seen A Night At The Opera beforehand, I really had nothing to compare it to. It was a little bold on my part, reviewing a Marx Brothers movie when I really didn't know the Marx Brothers.

Generally I'd still agree with most of it, except for the examination scene, which is at least an attempt to claw back what they once were, albeit an unsuccessful one. For this is the end of the Marx Brothers, an out of character endeavour that's way too plot-heavy to register. Their longest picture, it drags terribly, and the "boys who just want to help others" is the anathema of the gang who sent Freedonia to war, or cheated in college football games. It's the Marx Brothers stripped bare and declawed, retooled as cutesy foils to a dreary romantic plot, often support in their own film, narratively speaking.

There's still a certain amount of class to the production and enough funny moments to maintain my initial 6/10 rating, but the MGM track record for Marx Brothers movies is a poor one, letting just A Night at the Opera (Q.V.) stand as a genuinely worthwhile work. Should you care, I take up the story in a review of Go West...

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