A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.
- Police Sergeant Hendersonas Police Sergeant Henderson
- (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
Up until a few nights ago, I never really appreciated the Marx Brothers for their films outside what I remember from Go West and left it at that. Then I happened across a documentary on PBS about the life of Groucho Marx and his rise, fall, and rise again in the Hollywood landscape. It was fascinating and if you ever get a chance, I recommend you check it out to- it really is a good introduction to Groucho Marx and what type of person he was. Anyway, a few nights later I saw the movie, A Night at the Opera, was playing on TV and decided that this would be a great movie to watch while all this new found knowledge and appreciation for the Marx Brothers was swirling in my head. I set my TiVO to record the program but ended up watching the whole thing in real time due to sheer interest and getting hooked into the film early.
The film tells the tale of one Otis P. Driftwood (Groucho) who plays a business manager of a wealthy woman (Groucho's long time straight madam Margaret Dumont) looking to become a well known name in New York's elite. While in Europe, Driftwood arranges to have her place a rather large sum of money into the New York Opera which uses the money to pay a famous opera tenor, Rodollfo Lassparri (Walter King) to sing in their upcoming season in New York. Lassparri has a thing for one of his female cast member who is in love with a younger and struggling tenor, and he uses his new found fame and wealth to bring her to New York to hopefully win her away from her young suitor all the while dealing with his dresser/lackey played by Harpo Marx and the young tenors cousin, played by Chico Marx.
The move is a seamless role of gags and one-liners that really never slows down except for a rather long musical number on a cruise ship. The film is a classic for seeing Grouch at the top of his game and you begin to look forward to his scenes since he really has no joke that doesn't fall flat. I did laugh out loud several times through out the movie and had steady chuckles the rest of the time.
It's a blast to watch the opening scene with Groucho and Margaret Dumont. Their chemistry is undeniable and as the scene rolls, the background characters stop what they are doing and just sit a watch these two actors go back and forth verbally for the whole scene. The film is filled with other memorable scenes (gags) such as people trying to get Harpo to talk (he was the silent one who communicated through sounds) or Groucho talking to large crowds of people while making them the subjects of the jokes he spews, and the classic stateroom scene- take my word for it, it is hilarious. The final act, in the New York Opera House, is a great example of the physical comedy that Harpo and Chico were capable of and is fun to watch since it was all done in live action (remember this is before the days of CGI stunt men). All in all a great film for families to watch together, there are plenty of jokes and sight gags for the kiddos and rants and raves of the Groucho and Chico for the adults.
- Nov 14, 2007