7.6/10
10,101
73 user 35 critic

Monkey Business (1931)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical | 19 September 1931 (USA)
On a transatlantic crossing, The Marx Brothers get up to their usual antics and manage to annoy just about everyone on board the ship.

Director:

Norman Z. McLeod (as Norman McLeod)

Writers:

S.J. Perelman (by), Will B. Johnstone (by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley University, accidentally hires bumblers Baravelli and Pinky to help his school win the big football game against the rival Darwin University.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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

Director: Victor Heerman
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
The Cocoanuts (1929)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

During the Florida land boom, The Marx Brothers run a hotel, auction off some land, thwart a jewel robbery, and generally act like themselves.

Directors: Robert Florey, Joseph Santley
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Go West (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Marx Brothers come to the rescue in the Wild West when a young man, trying to settle an old family feud so he can marry the girl he loves, runs afoul of crooks.

Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Marx Brothers are employed at a hotel in postwar Casablanca, where a ring of Nazis is trying to recover a cache of stolen treasure.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Comedy | Musical | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A veterinarian posing as a doctor and a race-horse owner and his friends struggle to help keep a sanitarium open with the help of a misfit race-horse.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
At the Circus (1939)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Marx Brothers try to help the owner of a circus recover some stolen funds before he finds himself out of a job.

Director: Edward Buzzell
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
The Big Store (1941)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A detective is hired to protect the life of a singer, who has recently inherited a department store, from the store's crooked manager.

Director: Charles Reisner
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Duck Soup (1933)
Comedy | Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Room Service (1938)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A penniless theatrical producer must outwit the hotel efficiency expert trying to evict him from his room, while securing a backer for his new play.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.

Directors: Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding
Stars: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx
Love Happy (1949)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The Marx Brothers help young Broadway hopefuls while thwarting diamond thieves.

Director: David Miller
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
The Marx Brothers ... The Four Stowaways (as The Four Marx Brothers)
Groucho Marx ... Groucho
Harpo Marx ... Harpo
Chico Marx ... Chico
Zeppo Marx ... Zeppo
Rockliffe Fellowes ... Joe Helton (as Rockcliffe Fellowes)
Harry Woods ... Briggs
Thelma Todd ... Lucille
Ruth Hall ... Mary Helton
Tom Kennedy ... Gibson
Edit

Storyline

While stowing away on a ship to America, the boys get involuntarily pressed into service as toughs for a pair of feuding gangsters while trying desparately to evade the ship's crew. After arriving stateside, one of the gangsters kidnaps the other's daughter - and it's up to our unlikely heroes to save the day. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If it's a Paramount Picture it 's the best show in town. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Monnaie de singe See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The first The Marx Brothers film to be produced in Hollywood. See more »

Goofs

When Groucho Marx and Chico Marx hide under the table in the chart room (before their encounter with the Captain) Chico has a cigarette in his right hand. He didn't have it before diving under the table. See more »

Quotes

Groucho: I'm just trying to sneak off the boat, that's all.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are painted on the sides of barrels (In the film's opening, the Marx Brothers' characters are stow-aways on a cruise ship, hiding in barrels marked "Kippered Herring"). See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Night in Casablanca (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

O Sole Mio
(1898) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
Music by Eduardo Di Capua
Sung by Maxine Castle
Accompanied by Harpo Marx on harp
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Anarchy On B Deck
21 January 2015 | by Bill SlocumSee all my reviews

Groucho, Chico, and Harpo land themselves in another fine mess, and it's up to that heroic, charismatic dynamo Zeppo to bail them out and save the day.

Oh, well, I tried to validate my love for the under-appreciated Marx Brother. Yes, "Monkey Business" is the one where he clouts the bad guy and wins the girl, not to mention performs a mean Maurice Chevalier impression to help his brothers escape imprisonment. But he doesn't get much appreciation for his efforts. The fact the Marxes have little to do once they get off the boat is not my problem, unless I'm looking for a plot in this intentional shambles of a movie.

Recognized as the first Marx Brothers comedy to be based not on a stage play but original material, supplied by S. J. Perelman, Will B. Johnstone, Arthur Sheekman, a couple of uncredited script doctors, and probably much ad-libbing, "Monkey Business" is the first comedy the boys shot in Hollywood, after replicating a pair of their stage shows on a set in Astoria, New York. We meet them as stowaways on an ocean liner, staying one step ahead of the ship's crew, with no money, no food, and a lot of complaints.

"I don't care for the way you're running this boat," Groucho tells the captain. "Why don't you get in the back seat for a while and let your wife drive?"

When the first mate (Tom Kennedy) suspiciously asks Groucho if he knows about a stowaway going around with a mustache, Groucho is unperturbed: "Well, you couldn't expect a mustache to go around by itself."

"Monkey Business" is shorter on plot than one has a right to expect, even from a Marx Brothers movie. It's 20 minutes before one even puts in an appearance, when we meet gangster Alky Briggs (Harry Woods) and his restless wife Lucille (Thelma Todd). How Briggs gets the idea that Groucho and Zeppo would make ideal hit men is something that never makes sense. Nor is it supposed to. The plot is just something to keep us occupied in-between comic bits and odd musical interludes involving various Marxes.

The film at times seems to make fun of this very fact. Groucho can't even bother to help out when his brother Zeppo is getting roughed up in a climactic battle, instead providing boxing commentary as he watches overhead. Chico seems to sleepwalk through this film until he spots a piano to play, while Harpo has his most famous moment taking over a puppet show.

The jokes aren't all winners, but it's hard to complain when Groucho delivers them rapid-fire: "With a little study, you'll go a long way, and I'd wish you'd start now."

About the only person other than the Marxes to make an impression is Todd, with whom Groucho has a couple of amusing scenes. She'd be back for the next film, "Horse Feathers," playing up her sexy flapper persona to even bigger effect.

There are several odd cuts, and the pacing really drags in the last half hour, but give director Norman Z. McLeod points for giving the Marx Brothers a platform to play off of. "Monkey Business" is not a great film, but it's a fine comic vehicle that holds up well.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 73 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed