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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In Mr. Grover's office, Mr. Grover closes the account book and keeps his
hands on the sides of the book, but in the next shot he has his hands crossed on the book. See more »
Wolf J. Flywheel:
[Flywheel has mistaken the Hastings brothers for the killers and handcuffed them]
There you are. I give you the killers.
Why, it's the Hastings brothers, the men who are going to buy the store.
Wolf J. Flywheel:
Gentlemen, I'm terribly sorry, but it's really not my fault. You certainly do look like crooks.
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When people are asked which is their least favorite Marx Brothers movie, "The Big Store" is one of the most frequent choices. And it's not hard to understand why: this must be the Marx movie with the least comedy content in it - if not in quality, then certainly in quantity. Apart from the hilarious scene near the start where Margaret Dumont tries to explain the case "in detail" to supposedly busy detective Groucho while Harpo is typing loudly and a toaster goes out of control (a sequence that can make you laugh no matter how many times you see it), it's hard to name another classic piece of comedy here. The scene with the 14-member Italian family and the climactic chase inside the store are more chaotic and frenetic than funny (and there's also way too much fast motion used). On the bright side, this film has a better supporting cast than "Go West", "Sing While You Sell" is a grand and catchy number, Harpo and Chico have a delightful piano duet and Harpo's harp-playing scene is pure magic. While in many Marx Brothers movies I find the piano and harp numbers a dull interruption of the comedy, in "The Big Store" they are a welcome relief from the absence of comedy! **1/2 out of 4.
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