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By 1946 the Marx Brothers considered themselves retired as a screen
team--but brother Chico's on-going financial difficulties coaxed them
back into the studio for a final film. The result is a film that will
never compete with their sharp-edged comedies of the 1930s but which
possesses considerable charm nonetheless.
Although the film began as a parody of the classic CASABLANCA, the plot changed quite a bit by the time it reached the screen. Groucho has been employed as the manager of the Hotel Casablanca--where three previous managers have met sudden death. Attempts on his life soon follow, and before too long the brothers stumble upon the tale of former Nazis in search of treasure hidden somewhere inside the resort.
Time, it seems, mellowed the brothers, and although they retain their sparkle they perform without the manic edge that characterized their earlier films; the result is a much friendlier, cozier style of comedy that feels as comfortable your bedroom slippers. All three have at least one opportunity to shine, with perhaps the most memorable moments being the ever-shrinking dancefloor and the hilarious packing scene, and it has tremendous charm--and is all the more welcome for following the several uninspired films the brothers made during the early 1940s.
Although the Marx Brothers would appear in one more film, LOVE HAPPY, it is uninspired--and rather curiously the three never appear together in the same scene! So it is perhaps best to regard A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA as their final appearance as a screen team. And while it isn't among their great films, it is indeed lots of fun.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
The Marx Brothers are the greatest comedy team of all time. Even in their later films, including this one, which weren't among their best efforts, they still manage to make you laugh. They filled their films with social commentary, sexual innuendo, and slapstick, all with effortless ease, and without being offending. The scenes of Groucho going from one hotel room to another, trying to get Annette alone, with brother Chico as his bodyguard thwarting his every attempt, are gems. I introduced the Marx Brothers to my son while he was very young, and he loves them. Now, more then ten years later he still pulls out the old videotapes occasionally. Then for the next week all we hear in the house is, I once shot an elephant in my pajamas. How they got in my pajamas I'll never know.' Nothing compares to the Marx Brothers, before or since.
That the Marxes could make this as their final film together (Groucho was
"Love Happy" as an afterthought and had no scenes with Chico and Harpo)
could go out with a flourish. Groucho's jokes were back in form, not-so-sly
and all, and the dross of the MGM years was cut away: the romantic leads had
screen time and did NOT sing, and the special effects laden last reel chase
scene was cut
mercifully short. Although it's unfortunate that the script had the
resort to poor stage fighting to overcome the Nazis. I believe it was while
the ladder in that chase scene (in what's too clearly the California desert)
decided there must be a better way to make a living, and went to what became
PS: It suddenly struck me that Sig Ruman's voice, without the accent, could have been a perfect double for Marvin the Martian. Anyone know if he could have inspired Mel Blanc?
I got some hearty laughs out of it, so that's what counts in the end.
At last, another highly enjoyable Marx Brothers movie from their later
days! In fact, I'd almost consider CASABLANCA as enjoyable as A NIGHT
AT THE OPERA, which is the best of the latter movies for my money. This
is a very well-written comedy with Groucho in excellent form and given
an endless array of funny lines to spout. Harpo is a laugh riot from
start to finish and Chico --- well, he's still just Chico, but I loved
his piano playing segment this time around, and he's got some nice
scenes supporting Harpo. Sig Ruman adds a lot of spice in his role as
the perfect recipient of the team's gags.
With my still being fairly new to the Marx Brothers at the time of this viewing, I'd say it appears the writing seemed to be everything when it came to their comedy. When it's bad (ROOM SERVICE) they don't have a leg to stand on. When it's superb (like in OPERA and CASABLANCA) they're comical geniuses.
I enjoyed this movie a lot, it took a while to find it in the shops but it was worthwhile looking around for. My favourite scene is definitely the one with Harpo minding Chico's peanut stall with the angry neighbouring stall owner. It makes you laugh for ages! Groucho plays the part of the manager of the Hotel Casablanca because all the previous managers were murdered by ex-Nazis looking for Nazi treasure hidden within the hotel prior to the end of the war. Some of the funniest moments in Marx Brother's history are featured in this movie eg. Harpo holding up a wall, Chico and Harpo rearranging a dance floor that keeps getting smaller and a funny suitcase packing routine towards the end. A very humorous movie and I would definitely recommend it.
The Marx Brothers came out of retirement to make this film in order to
help the financially-strapped Chico, who was forever broke due to his
The movie begins slowly, and there are some rather unfunny scenes featuring Harpo, but when Chico and Groucho arrive on the scene the film really picks up. There are some truly great scenes in this film. My favorite is Harpo desperately trying to convey important information to Chico via whistles and inspired charade.
The plot is rather silly, but who cares? While not on a par with their classics "Duck Soup" and "A Night at the Opera", this movie is very much worth seeing.
There are two kinds of people in this world: People who love the Marx Brothers, and stupid people. "A Night in Casablanca", however, should be more for people who are already fans - it's certainly not the Marx Brothers' best work. However, it is very watchable, and much better than some of their earlier work with MGM. If "A Night at the Opera" is their last great film, then "A Night in Casablanca" is their last good film. A bunch of good lines here. Not bad, check it out!
"A Night in Casablanca" is filled with the usual Marx Brother's energy and then some. It is their slapstick that is uniquely displayed by these masters of the craft. Even though this particular comedy is not their best, it is still worth an evening of fun. It takes place in Casablanca, and the name alone conjures up the Bogart film. There is a series of murders of prior hotel managers. The plot thickens from there. All fans of the comedy of the Marx Brothers should view this film in addition to their entire collection. Without a doubt it is not to be missed. Harpo is especially funny in his typical antics. Groucho is a quick and witty as ever. It gets a very good rating from me.
A Night in Casablanca does have a somewhat contrived plot about spies
and hidden treasure, and it mayn't quite have the consistent genius of
their earlier outings primarily Duck Soup, however it is still
thoroughly enjoyable thanks to some of the gags and performances.
It does look striking and has a quirky score. And the dialogue is pretty darn hilarious and quotable, and I liked the cheeky comparisons with Casablanca, one of my all-time favourite movies. A Night in Casablanca is salvaged though by the gags, Groucho's attempts to get inside various hotel rooms in order to woo Annette and Chico thwarting him every time is a great gag that does not wear out its welcome, but Harpo has the best gag that happens in the opening minutes. The acting is great, Harpo and Chico are very funny and Lois Collier is a nice surprise too, but once again Groucho elevates this film, being as quick and witty as I've come to know him by and going into one-line overdrive.
In conclusion, not outstanding but a lot of fun. 8/10 Bethany Cox
In their first post World War II film, the Marx Brothers take aim at
those films of adventure and intrigue set in far away places and filmed
at studio back lots. Such a film was the classic Casablanca and so was
A Night In Casablanca.
Personally I can't believe Jack Warner wanted to sue the brothers and United Artists over this film. He certainly had deeper pockets than they did, why make such a fuss?
In any event the film is about looted Nazi treasure from the late war and it being hidden in a Casablanca hotel. Two of the hotel managers have met violent and sudden death and the third one is already earmarked by Nazi bigwig Sig Ruman on the run from the Nuremberg court. He's stopping in Casablanca to get the treasure on the way to South America. But when his valet Harpo accidentally vacuums his toupee off his head, his plans halt. Ruman can't go out or he'll be instantly recognized without the rug.
That hotel manager whom they want to get is none other than Groucho and he gets his usual assistance from self appointed bodyguard Chico. Of course that sets up a lot of typical Marx situations.
A Night In Casablanca is not as good as most of their films from the Thirties, still it has its moments. Harpo literally 'holding' up a building is one of them. And the brothers gas lighting Sig Ruman as he's trying to pack is another.
Fans of the brothers will enjoy this one. As for those who don't know them, I'd look first at their early films from Paramount to get a true gauge of their surrealistic comedy.
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