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 <email@example.com>
Fresh off the success of their previous film, The Cocoanuts (1929), their first, The Marx Brothers had gained the reputation for being a profitable and crowd-pleasing act, but they had also earned the reputation of being a rambunctious and unrestrained troupe during filming. Their nonconformist lifestyle attracted audiences, but proved to be a bit of a headache for Paramount Studios. While filming their first picture, the brothers had showed up late, slept in their dressing rooms, would walk out on filming to play a round of golf, or would call it a day after lunch. Paramount hired director Victor Heerman for this film due to his reputation for being a disciplinarian. The studio hoped that Heerman could extract the comedic magic from the Marx Brothers while also enforcing more professional work habits. See more »
In the opening credits, the first name of Captain Spaulding, is spelled "Jeffrey". Moments later in newspaper clip, his first name is spelled "Geoffrey." See more »
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 »
Entertaining - Of Course, But I Wouldn't Rank It Their Best
Once again, this Marx Brothers film is different from most comedies in that is features a mile-a-minute gags, either verbal or sight, constant silliness and some music thrown in the mix. All of it runs the gamut from very clever to stupid. However, if it gets stupid hang around another minute or so and you'll find something to laugh at.
One problem, especially with this film, is that some of the humor is dated and/or topical, meaning what was funny back then isn't necessarily now or the subject Groucho or Chico is talking about was big news back then but unknown now.
Nonetheless, I still enjoyed this and found a lot of funny material. I enjoy the Marx Brothers clever stuff and their slapstick. I particularly appreciated Groucho apparently ad-libbing one scene. In a few others he acted like he was ad- libbing, turning his head and talking to the camera. You don't see much of that stuff, and it's funny.
Two of the three songs were instrumentals, and they seemed to take away from the pace of the story. Groucho's song, "Hooray For Captain Spaulding," is a classic.
Some consider this to be the best Marx Brothers movie but I found several others I liked a lot more, such as "Horse Feathers" and "Duck Soup," just to name two.
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