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Humor Risk (1921)

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This silent short saw the Marx Bros. teamed for the first time prior to their move to features. The film had only one public screening. Groucho later claimed that it was not very good.


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Title: Humor Risk (1921)

Humor Risk (1921) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Credited cast:
Zeppo Marx ...


This silent short saw the Marx Bros. teamed for the first time prior to their move to features. The film had only one public screening. Groucho later claimed that it was not very good.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

lost film


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

1921 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmed in Fort Lee, New Jersey, this film was previewed once and not released. Legend has it that Groucho hated the film so much that he burned the negative. The film is now believed to be lost. Please check your attic. See more »

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User Reviews

One of the "Holy Grails" of Missing Movies
13 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I suspect that if HUMOR RISK was ever located, and transferred to video or DVD, it would eventually disappoint people.

The problem is that only one of the four (in 1926 five) Marx Brothers was silent - Harpo. Groucho and Chico required sound for their types of humor, with malapropisms, puns, double entendres, and mistaken words thrown in so much. Zeppo too would have needed some type of script (due to the parts he was playing in the five films he did with them). However, Zeppo (like Harpo) did apparently make one silent film (though not a major one - Frank Tuttle directed it, and Ziegfeld star Ann Pennington appeared in it).

It would be a curiosity to us if we watched it, and we would wait for it to take off. But the glorious mangling of the English tongue by Chico, and the souring confusion of metaphors and similes by Groucho would have been sorely missed.

It's curious that Jobyna Rawlston, the co-star of Harold Lloyd, was in this film. Is it just possible that Lloyd or his producer Hal Roach had some hand in the production. Maybe (if a copy survives) it's in Lloyd's or Roach's vaults. Just a guess though.

It is always welcome to see a missing film turn up, or an unexpected film turn up. For a number of years a film short with the brothers (including Zeppo) has popped up and been shown. It is of the four of them trying to get hired for a show and going to the agent's office. The skit (which is in spoken and sung rhyme) is actually the same one that would be used in a new setting in MONKEY BUSINESS where the brothers try to leave the ocean liner claiming to be Maurice Chevalier. Here they all come in wearing straw hats, trying to impress the agent. Harpo also does an interesting gag never done by him in his films. He blows up a rubber glove so that it looks like a cow's udder, "milks it into a bottle (as his hand slowly lets the air out of the glove, then he "drinks" the milk! Apparently the whole routine is from the brother's first Broadway hit: I'LL SAY SHE IS! That show appeared in 1927, before THE COCONUTS. It's nice that they saved a scene from the show.

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