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A Night at the Opera (1935)

Passed | | Comedy, Music, Musical | 15 November 1935 (USA)
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 (uncredited)

Writers:

George S. Kaufman (screen play), Morrie Ryskind (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Groucho Marx ... Otis B. Driftwood
Chico Marx ... Fiorello
Harpo Marx ... Tomasso
Kitty Carlisle ... Rosa Castaldi
Allan Jones ... Riccardo Barone
Walter Woolf King ... Rudolfo Lassparri (as Walter King)
Sig Ruman ... Herman Gottlieb (as Siegfried Rumann)
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Claypool
Edward Keane ... Ship's Captain
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Police Sergeant Henderson (as Robert Emmet O'Connor)
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't miss it! The funniest picture ever made!

Genres:

Comedy | Music | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

15 November 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Una noche en la ópera See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1948 re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Wood was by most accounts a very serious, conservative man who had little or no sense of humour. Allan Jones remembered him as "a disagreeable guy, very insecure." Jones also said Wood responded to actors' questions by saying, "I don't know, I don't know. Just do it again." Wood, who was against improvisation and ad-libbing, would shoot as many as 20 takes of each scene, a method the Marx Brothers found irritating and inhibiting. Jones believed he shot so many takes because he wasn't really sure which was the best until he looked at the day's work. See more »

Goofs

When Tomasso is playing the harp, he is whistling. The fourth time he whistles, we hear his whistle but he doesn't move his mouth until about a second later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Waiter: The gentleman has not arrived yet?
Mrs. Claypool: No, he has not.
Waiter: 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: Oh, boy?
Bellboy: Yes, ma'am?
Otis B. Driftwood: Will you page Mr. Otis B. Driftwood, please? Mister Otis B. Driftwood.
Bellboy: Paging Mr. Driftwood! Mr. Driftwood!
Bellboy: [Driftwood's dinner companion giggles out loud] Mr. Driftwood! Mr. Driftwood!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Freshman (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
(1908) (uncredited)
Music by Albert von Tilzer
Played by The MGM Symphony Orchestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The best Marx Brothers film, the best comedy, the best everything
1 January 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"A Night at the Opera" is one of those films you can see dozens of times and laugh just as hard as you did the first time. The brothers get mixed up with an opera company and a divo and diva in love - Allan Jones and Kitty Carlisle, and trying to get the two to perform together.

The one-liners come so fast - you keep thinking you'll remember them, but one is funnier than the next. I do remember what Groucho says when he sees the gypsy Azucena in the opera, however. "How would you like to feel how she looks?" The stateroom scene is, of course, a classic, and my favorite part is when Groucho tells the housekeeper, "I want two pillows on that bed" and Harpo sound asleep and being moved everywhere, including onto a tray of food.

But nothing beats the last half hour - the performance of "Il Trovatore" with Harpo using the stage ropes like Tarzan, and Chico playing baseball in the orchestra while Groucho sells peanuts. They have replaced part of the overture with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Allan Jones plays the tenor Ricardo Baroni who is hoping for his break. Why they cast the blond Jones as a tenor named Baroni - well, there you go. He sings very well and is quite handsome. Kitty Carlisle is the diva waiting, petite and pretty and singing music out of her vocal type, with the exception of "Alone." "Stridono lassu" and Leonora in Trovatore were both much too heavy for her. She does sing well and what a woman - she's still alive and recently performed at a New York supper club recently at the age of 95.

The only problem with any Marx Brothers film is that when they aren't in front of the camera, suddenly their films become very slow. Because I was trained in opera and have some interest in it, this was less the case than with some of their other films. They were too magical, too energetic, and too darn funny to ever share a spotlight with anyone else. Thank goodness they did, though, as they left us with many treasures. This is one.


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