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Groucho (1982)

| Biography
The life story of Groucho Marx.

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(as Robert Fisher),
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Groucho
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Concetta D'Agnese ...
Margaret Dumont / Thelma Todd (as Connie Danese)
...
Chico Marx
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Performed on stage, this (mostly) one-man show gives us the story of Groucho Marx, told in the first person, from his early days in Vaudeville, through his many movie performances, to his later days as a star of radio and television. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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Entertaining, but too abbreviated, and at times inaccurate.
13 July 2010 | by See all my reviews

As a fanatic for all things Groucho and Marx Brothers, I greatly enjoyed this production, and I recommend it, if you can find it, or know somebody who taped it back when it aired on HBO.

It is essentially an abridgment of Arthur Marx's stage production, "Groucho: A Life in Revue", which starred Frank Ferrante. (I recommend that even more, and you'll have a much easier time finding it - it's readily available on DVD from the major online outlets.)

This abbreviated version has a few minor, but not insignificant flaws. For one, Gabe Kaplan is not a particularly good actor (as anybody who ever watched an episode of "Welcome Back Kotter" knows) - and that's somewhat distracting. But his charisma, comedic timing, and dead-on impression of Groucho - as well as the considerable acting chops of his two co-stars - almost compensate for his thespian shortcomings.

Another problem is it's TOO abbreviated - I suppose they had to accommodate HBO's programming schedule, but a lot of great stuff was left out.

There are also some surprising historical inaccuracies, such as the assertion that the brother's nicknames "were the inspiration of a theater manager in Dayton, Ohio." That's not the generally-accepted story, nor even one of the less-accepted stories. In fact, I've never seen any evidence to support it in any of the many Groucho Marx or Marx Brothers books in or out of print.

But these are quibbles - it's still an enormously entertaining show, and if you are any sort of Marx Brothers fan, you will certainly enjoy watching it - if you can get your hands on a copy.


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