7.7/10
11,946
89 user 47 critic

Animal Crackers (1930)

Mayhem and zaniness ensue when a valuable painting goes missing during a party in honor of famed African explorer Captain Spaulding.

Director:

Victor Heerman

Writers:

George S. Kaufman (based on the musical play by), Morrie Ryskind (based on the musical play by) | 4 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
The Marx Brothers
Groucho Marx ... Captain Jeffrey Spaulding
Harpo Marx ... The Professor
Chico Marx ... Signor Emanuel Ravelli
Zeppo Marx ... Horatio Jamison
Lillian Roth ... Arabella Rittenhouse
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Rittenhouse
Louis Sorin ... Roscoe Chandler
Hal Thompson Hal Thompson ... John Parker
Margaret Irving ... Mrs. Whitehead
Kathryn Reece Kathryn Reece ... Grace Carpenter
Robert Greig ... Hives
Edward Metcalfe ... Hennessey
The Music Masters The Music Masters ... Six Footmen
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Storyline

Captain Spaulding, the noted explorer, returns from Africa and attends a gala party held by Mrs. Rittenhouse. A painting displayed at that party is stolen, and the Marxes help recover it. Well, maybe 'help' isn't quite the word I was looking for--this is the Marx Brothers, after all... Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The maddest comics of them all!

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Os Galhofeiros See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The decision to cast Lillian Roth in this film was in essence a mild rebuke or punishment for the young star. Roth had proven difficult to work with while filming Cecil B. DeMille's Madam Satan (1930), and Paramount head B.P. Schulberg decided to put Roth in this film. Schulberg told Roth "We're sending you back to New York to be kicked in the rear by the Marx Brothers until you learn to behave." The brothers' antics had the intended effect on Roth, who recalled that her experiences working on the film were "one step removed from the circus." See more »

Goofs

When Professor replaces the handgun for a rifle after he shoots himself in the foot, Hives can be seen in the background walking behind the column, clearly awaiting his turn to enter the scene. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Spaulding: You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, which doesn't say much for you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Censored for a 1936 reissue to meet Production Code requirements; this censored version was the only one available for television showings and subsequent VHS/DVD releases. A surviving complete and uncensored print was found in England, and is the source being used for the 2016 blu-ray release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Here's Lucy: Goodbye, Mrs. Hips (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Daffy Over You
(1930) (uncredited)
Written by Chico Marx and Sol Violinsky
Performed by Chico Marx on piano
See more »

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User Reviews

 
strangely modern and modernly strange
22 June 2004 | by dr_foremanSee all my reviews

Judging by the script, you'd never believe that "Animal Crackers" is over seventy years old. Think of all the "postmodern" things that happen in this movie: Groucho directly addresses the audience to apologize for a bad joke; Harpo shoots a gun at a statue, only to see the statue come to life and return fire; and Margaret Dumont freezes in time while Groucho has a "strange interlude" and rambles to the audience about the perils of marriage and living with your folks! Of course, the absolutely ancient and decaying print will remind you that "Animal Crackers" is older than the hills, but otherwise, it's much fresher and weirder than the stuff that passes for comedy today.

Like "The Cocoanuts," this movie is based on a play, and as such it is considerably longer and stagier than most of the later Marx movies. The pace does drag a bit towards the end, especially since the plot disappears (along with Zeppo) for long segments at a time. But many of the individual segments are classic, including the often (and rightly) praised bridge game and Harpo's gag with the cutlery-filled sleeves. Even the music segments hold up well, particularly Chico's piano routine that gets savaged by Groucho.

Interestingly, there is a prominent romantic subplot to this film, which puts paid to the fallacy that Marx Brothers movies didn't have romances until MGM got its hands on them. However, the romance isn't nearly as intrusive or annoying here as in their later vehicles, so there's still plenty of reason to be annoyed with good old MGM...


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