40 user 10 critic

The Big Store (1941)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 20 June 1941 (USA)
A detective is hired to protect the life of a singer, who has recently inherited a department store, from the store's crooked manager.


(as Charles Riesner)


(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Go West (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Marx Brothers come to the rescue in the Wild West when a young man, trying to settle an old family feud so he can marry the girl he loves, runs afoul of crooks.

Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
At the Circus (1939)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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

Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Marx Brothers are employed at a hotel in postwar Casablanca, where a ring of Nazis is trying to recover a cache of stolen treasure.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Room Service (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A penniless theatrical producer must outwit the hotel efficiency expert trying to evict him from his room, while securing a backer for his new play.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On a transatlantic crossing, the Marx brothers get up to their usual antics and manage to annoy just about everyone on board the ship.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, The Marx Brothers
The Cocoanuts (1929)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

During the Florida land boom, the Marx brothers run a hotel, auction off some land, thwart a jewel robbery, and generally act like themselves.

Directors: Robert Florey, Joseph Santley
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley University, hires bumblers Baravelli and Pinky to help his school win the big football game against rival Darwin University.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding.

Director: Victor Heerman
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.

Directors: Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Love Happy (1949)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The Marx Brothers help young Broadway hopefuls while thwarting diamond thieves.

Director: David Miller
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Copacabana (1947)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Agent has his only client pose as both a French chanteuse and Brazilian bombshell to fool nightclub owner.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Groucho Marx, Carmen Miranda, Steve Cochran


Cast overview, first billed only:
Virginia Grey ...
Martha Phelps
Mr. Grover
William Tannen ...
Fred Sutton
Marion Martin ...
Peggy Arden
Henry Armetta ...
Anna Demetrio ...
Paul Stanton ...
George Hastings
Russell Hicks ...
Arthur Hastings
Bradley Page ...


The Phelps Department Store is about to be sold by its new part owner, Tommy Rogers with the permission of Martha Phelps, the dowager co-owner. The current manager doesn't want this as the irregularities in the books will show up. When an attempt is made on Tommy's life, Martha enlists the worst private eye in the world to protect him, Wolf J. Flywheel. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Howl . . . And Farewell ! Their Last Picture . . . And Their Best ! See more »


Comedy | Musical


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 June 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En dag i varuhuset  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was watching a private screening of this film when he received news that Nazi second-in-command Rudolf Hess had flown to Britain on an unauthorized mission to end the conflict between Britain and Germany during World War II. Churchill decided that the news was so unimportant he ignored it, went back into his screening room and watched the rest of the movie (in "An Evening with Groucho' [1972], Groucho Marx' tells this anecdote but the movie he refers to is Monkey Business (1931)). See more »


When Martha Phelps comes to see Flywheel, he's pretending to talk on the telephone. When he hangs up, he puts the receiver upside-down in the cradle, but in the next shot it's in the normal position. See more »


Ravelli: I take-a your picture. Hey! Look at me and laugh.
Wolf J. Flywheel: I've been doing that for 20 years.
See more »


Featured in News from Planet Mars (2016) See more »


Minuet in G major, WoO 10, No. 2
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Played on the harp by Harpo Marx
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Flywheel's in Command."
8 January 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

After Zeppo Marx refused to move on with his brothers to MGM from Paramount, the Marxs usually secured the services of another player, usually a singer to function in Zeppo's nondescript place. Usually that person had a lot more personality than Zeppo did. It was Allan Jones in two films, Kenny Baker in one and in The Big Store it was Tony Martin.

The still very much alive, but retired Tony Martin, had one of the great voices of the last century. He never made the screen impact that other singers did, though he was in some very good films. His main media outlets were records, radio, and as one of the premier nightclub attractions, especially when he appeared with his second wife Cyd Charisse. Martin had two songs to sing in The Big Store, the much maligned Tenement Symphony and a really nice ballad, If It's You.

Martin is the heir to one half of Phelps Department store. The other half is owned by his aunt Margaret Dumont. The Hastings Brothers, who own a chain of department stores, are looking to buy this one.

Manager Douglass Dumbrille has been doing a little embezzling on the side and he's afraid that if Martin sells his half, he's taking a stretch up the river. After Martin becomes the victim of an attempted murder, Dumont hires who else, detective Wolf J. Flywheel who is of course Groucho Marx.

By a happy coincidence, Groucho has Harpo as a sidekick and Harpo's brother in the film Chico is a friend of Martin's. So now we have all the Marx Brothers working at the store.

The Big Store is usually dismissed as one of the Marx Brothers lesser films, but it's always been a favorite of mine. Another reviewer said there were too many musical numbers. I don't think there were any more or less than in other films of their's. The running time is a bit short so it might seem like there's more.

The highlight for me is always the final chase seen through the store, especially since Douglass Dumbrille joins in the fun. Dumbrille on screen usually plays some serious villains, probably his best known part is that of Mr. Cedar the lawyer who is milking the estate that Gary Cooper is inheriting in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.

Dumbrille is just as successful dealing with the Marx Brothers over embezzlement as he is with Gary Cooper. But here this very serious and obviously classically trained actor joins right in the slapstick fun. Dumbrille looks like he's having a ball. Later on he would really cut loose in a couple of Abbott and Costello films.

A question to all movie fans. Who do you think had the most inventive screen character names, W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx?

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Vocal Groups in 'Sing While You Sell' Number bowiebks
Nagasaki? losun
anyone notice the credits? syzygy90
Chico's Smaller Role fiat0903
Sing While You Sell gofer2004
cooking breakfast in the desk ksf-2
Discuss The Big Store (1941) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: