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At the Circus (1939)

Passed  -  Comedy | Musical  -  20 October 1939 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,788 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 21 critic

The Marx Brothers try to help the owner of a circus recover some stolen funds before he finds himself out of a job.

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Title: At the Circus (1939)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Kenny Baker ...
Florence Rice ...
...
Peerless Pauline
...
Mrs. Suzanna Dukesbury
...
Goliath
Fritz Feld ...
Jardinet
James Burke ...
John Carter
Jerry Maren ...
Little Professor Atom (as Jerry Marenghi)
Barnett Parker ...
Whitcomb
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Storyline

Jeff Wilson, the owner of a small circus, owes his partner Carter $10000. Before Jeff can pay, Carter lets his accomplices steal the money, so he can take over the circus. Antonio Pirelli and Punchy, who work at the circus, together with lawyer Loophole try to find the thief and get the money back. Written by Michael Zolk <mzolk@ix.urz.uni-heidelberg.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

circus | money | strongman | lawyer | aunt | See All (71) »

Taglines:

Keep the world laughing! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Day at the Circus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For Groucho Marx's performance of "'Lydia, the Tattooed Lady", additional lyrics were written by lyricist E.Y. Harburg exclusively for screenings of the film for Allied servicemen in European war zones. The special lyrics included the line "When she stands the world grows littler; When she sits, she sits on Hitler.' The version of the song featuring the special lyrics was filmed, and included in prints of the film distributed in Great Britain and France. The version of the song containing the special lyrics was greeted with marked enthusiasm during screenings in those countries. See more »

Goofs

When Jeff first gets on the train, his badge keeps changing position on his coat. See more »

Quotes

Peerless Pauline: But it's so easy. The bottom of your shoe creates a suction that holds you up on the ceiling.
J. Cheever Loophole: No, no, I'd rather not. I have an agreement with the houseflies. The flies don't practice law and I don't walk on the ceiling.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Undead (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Tiger Rag
(1918) (uncredited)
Written by Edwin B. Edwards, Nick LaRocca, Tony Sbarbaro, Henry Ragas and Larry Shields
Played in the background at the circus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Possibly their best; up there with Duck Soup, anyway
21 December 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

I wrote this right after I saw it, without having read other comments on it. I have to say I'm appalled by the critical injustices done to this film. No joke flops in this Marx Brothers masterpiece. All three of the remaining brothers, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico, have a plethora of great scenes. Groucho has possibly his best line of his entire career. I won't ruin it for you. Chico's best moments are as Chiccolini in Duck Soup, but he is nearly as funny here. The scene in the midget's room is as funny a set piece as ever existed. Chico also has a great piano scene. Harpo is hilarious as well, playing a card game with a seal, and he delivers his best harp number. Usually they're awful, but the one here is great. He plays ambassador to the races again in this film, as he did in A Day at the Races. He dances around with a group of black people who show up out of nowhere. These scenes might be dated, but they're excellent in their context. I'd call them both scenes of great beauty, showing harmony between the races. Margaret Dumont, the fifth Marx Brother - well, maybe we out to call her the fourth; she's in more of them than Zeppo is! - is as funny as usual. The only let down is the romantic subplot, but you probably come to expect that from Marx Brothers' films. Perhaps the one here will be funny to you. The guy is one of the biggest dorks in history. His girl isn't too bad though. She has a great musical number with a horse. But even the two together have a decent scene where they sing to each other while they are desperately trying to lose a waiter who's intently watching their courtship. At the Circus contains maybe the best climactic sequence of their career, with the three brothers, Dumont, the villain, and a gorilla swing around on the trapeze swings. The final shot is a doozy, as well. 10/10.


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