The Marx Brothers take on high society. Two lovers who are both in opera are prevented from being together by the man's lack of acceptance as an operatic tenor. Pulling several typical Marx Brothers' stunts, they arrange for the normal tenor to be absent so that the young lover can get his chance.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Screenwriter Al Boasberg was brought on to punch up some of the jokes and add some new scenes to the film, his most notable contribution is the now-famous stateroom scene. However, producer Irving Thalberg frequently hounded Boasberg to complete his material, much to his annoyance. Boasberg finally called Thalberg to let him know that his material was ready, and that he could come get the script in his office. When Thalberg and The Marx Brothers showed up to Boasberg's office, they found no script and no Boasberg. The men searched the office to no avail and were about to give up when Groucho Marx happened to look up and find the script ripped to shreds and nailed to the ceiling. According to Groucho, it took the men hours to piece together to script, but they were quite pleased with Boasberg's work once they had restored it. See more »
Fiorello plays a turn at the piano surrounded by boys and girls. When he gets up, there is a boy there dressed in a light shirt with nothing around his neck. Tomasso comes to sit down, and the same boy now has a darker shirt with a neckerchief. See more »
The gentleman has not arrived yet?
No, he has not.
I'm afraid the dinner will be spoiled.
Otis B. Driftwood:
What difference does it make? It's too late to dine now.
Otis B. Driftwood:
Otis B. Driftwood:
Will you page Mr. Otis B. Driftwood, please? Mister Otis B. Driftwood.
Paging Mr. Driftwood! Mr. Driftwood!
[Driftwood's dinner companion giggles out loud]
Mr. Driftwood! Mr. Driftwood!
[...] See more »
All references to the first portion of the film taking place in Italy were edited from the original negative sometime after the original release. There is speculation that this was done during WWII when Italy was as Axis power, but it also may have been done in the late 1930's to appease Mussolini, who didn't like the way Italians were being portrayed. Either way, the film's first scene begins rather abruptly and is missing a musical number and references to Milan, Italy. See more »
A Night At the Opera is the first film that three Marx Brothers did at MGM after leaving Paramount. Zeppo, who's contributions to the team are pretty negligible, decided not to make the trip.
Nothing was lost and a lot was gained because Allan Jones assumed a Zeppo like character with a lot more personality and a great singing voice. With the story set at an opera company you would hope that a great voice would be a minimal requirement. In fact we have a bunch of great voices, not only Allan Jones, but Kitty Carlisle, and even egotistical tenor Walter Woolf King.
The plot such as it is concerns the three brothers trying to get talented singer Allan Jones a break at the opera company. They're operating on many fronts here and that includes Groucho wooing the New York Opera Company's grande dame, Margaret Dumont. Harpo and Chico in the meantime become the bane of the existence for opera director Sig Ruman and Walter Woolf King.
I'm always amazed that Groucho, the king of one liners and innuendo, is constantly exasperated and occasionally defeated by Chico who baffles him with non sequiters and ignorance. Case in point their 'negotiation' over Allan Jones's contract and the fact that poor Groucho thinks he's signing star Walter Woolf King. Chico knows better than anyone there's no such thing as a sanity clause.
Allan Jones gets to sing two famous numbers identified with him, a duet with Kitty Carlisle in Alone and later a typical MGM extravaganza number in Cosi Cosa. Harpo does an Alone obbligato on the harp and Chico dazzles the crowd with his pistol fingered piano rendition of All I Do Is Dream Of You.
I'm not sure how Giuseppe Verdi would have taken the finale of A Night at the Opera in which the opening of Il Trovatore is mangled for the ages. All in the interest of seeing Allan Jones gets both a break and Kitty Carlisle. And they do make beautiful music.
And the Marx Brothers make some really funny comedy in one of their best films.
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