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The Cocoanuts (1929)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 3 August 1929 (USA)
During the Florida land boom, The Marx Brothers run a hotel, auction off some land, thwart a jewel robbery, and generally act like themselves.

Writers:

George S. Kaufman (book), Morrie Ryskind (adapted by)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
The Marx Brothers
Zeppo Marx ... Jamison
Groucho Marx ... Hammer
Harpo Marx ... Harpo
Chico Marx ... Chico
Oscar Shaw ... Bob
Mary Eaton ... Polly
Cyril Ring ... Yates
Kay Francis ... Penelope
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Potter
Basil Ruysdael ... Hennessy
Gamby-Hale Ballet Girls Gamby-Hale Ballet Girls ... Dancers (as Gamby-Hale Girls)
Allan K. Foster Girls Allan K. Foster Girls ... Dancers
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Storyline

Mr. Hammer runs a bankrupt Florida hotel. He'll try anything to make money, even make love to rich Mrs. Potter. But his main scheme, selling real estate, is in danger of sabotage from zanies Chico and Harpo, who also reduce the schemes of a pair of jewel thieves to chaos. A subplot involves the star-crossed love of Polly Potter and architect Bob Adams. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Paramount's All Talking Musicomedy Sensation See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los cuatro cocos See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (preview) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to The Marx Brothers biographer Joe Adamson, the Marxes were so appalled by this film version of their hit Broadway show that they offered to buy the negative from Paramount so that they could burn it. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene, Hammer sends Jamison to meet a 4:15 train. When Jamison gets back, he refers to it as a 4:30 train. See more »

Quotes

Hammer: I say, I'm holding an auction at Cocoanut Grove. And when the crowd gathers around, I want you to mingle with them. Don't pick their pockets, just mingle...
Chico: I'll find time for both.
Hammer: Well, maybe we can cut out the auction.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Instead of a conventional cast list, the actors are presented as they might be in a stage program: a single visual showing cameo portraits of the leading players identified by both their character names and their own. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Valimo (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

BALLET MUSIC
(1929) (uncredited)
Written by Frank Tours
Danced by Gamby-Hale Ballet Girls
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Some overlong singing/dance scenes don't stop this from being a very funny feature-length debut from the Marx Brothers

By 1929, the Marx Brothers had been in show business for quite sometime, mainly doing live theatre work, but the only film they did prior to that year was a 1921 silent comedy short entitled "Humour Risk", which was publicly screened only once and then never seen again. The comedy team made their feature-length film debut with this 1929 release, an early Hollywood talkie called "The Cocoanuts", based on the group's stage musical of the same name. This marked the beginning of a successful series of comedy movies from the brothers. Every member of this comedy team died before I was born, but I have now seen several of their films, most recently this one. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't as good as "Duck Soup", but it was perhaps a bit better than I expected.

Mr. Hammer runs a resort hotel in Florida known as Hotel de Cocoanut, with his assistant, Jamison. Unfortunately, business is not going well at all, as the hotel doesn't have enough paying guests. Harpo and Chico are two criminals who come to the hotel with empty luggage, and intend to fill it up during their stay by stealing from the other guests and conning them! It turns out that they are not the only thieves in the building. A rich widowed guest named Mrs. Potter wants her daughter, Polly, to marry a man named Harvey Yates, not realizing that this man is actually a con artist who intends to steal her diamond necklace with the help of his partner, Penelope! To add to this chaos, Mr. Hammer tries to make money by trying to win Mrs. Potter's heart, but does a very pathetic job, saying some ridiculous things to her.

I wasn't sure what I thought of this particular Marx Brothers effort right at the beginning, but knew I had to be patient, as none of the comedians had appeared yet. It isn't long at all before Groucho first appears in the role of Mr. Hammer and begins rapidly delivering his funny lines! The comedian had a remarkable gift for that. When Harpo and Chico enter, sharing their stage names with the characters they play, the laughs continue. Zeppo plays the straight role of Jamison, while the other three brothers who appear in the film all play very comical roles, and they all provide some hilarious moments! Groucho has so many priceless lines, such as some of the things he says to Mrs. Potter (played by Margaret Dumont, who appeared in a number of Marx Brothers films) to try and win her heart, and some of his lines in many other scenes. Harpo and Chico make a hilarious pair with their fighting and such, and Chico has some hilarious lines, while Harpo is responsible for a lot of the hilarity with his visual antics and honking noises. I would say each of these three is equally good in his own way.

This is not the most popular movie from one of the 20th century's groundbreaking comedy acts, but overall, it's still an extremely funny one. I didn't like everything about "The Cocoanuts". In addition to being a comedy, it's also a musical, and I found that the singing/dancing scenes generally don't work so well. They can be tedious and can also get in the way of the humour. Since this is the earliest talkie I've ever seen, it's not surprising that it probably has the worst audio I've ever heard in a movie. I guess it was the best they could do at the time, but as I watched this, it was sometimes difficult to understand some of the dialogue, and because of this, some of the jokes may have gone over my head. However, for the most part, these weren't big problems for me (I could usually tell what the characters were saying), and I certainly have to give the film credit for how much it made me laugh! The Marx Brothers' silliness is obviously not for everyone, but this feature-length debut of theirs is probably worth watching if you're a fan and you can get over the poor sound quality.


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