6.7/10
4,285
46 user 24 critic

Room Service (1938)

Approved | | Comedy | 30 September 1938 (USA)
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

Writers:

Morrie Ryskind (screen play), John Murray (from the play by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Groucho Marx ... Gordon Miller (as The Marx Brothers)
Chico Marx ... Harry Binelli (as The Marx Brothers)
Harpo Marx ... Faker Englund (as The Marx Brothers)
Lucille Ball ... Christine Marlowe
Ann Miller ... Hilda Manny
Frank Albertson ... Leo Davis
Cliff Dunstan ... Joseph Gribble
Donald MacBride ... Gregory Wagner
Philip Loeb Philip Loeb ... Timothy Hogarth
Philip Wood Philip Wood ... Simon Jenkins
Alexander Asro Alexander Asro ... Sasha Smirnoff
Charles Halton ... Dr. Glass
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Storyline

The Marx Brothers try and put on a play before their landlord finds out that they have run out of money. To confuse the landlord they pretend that the play's author has contracted some terrible disease and can't be moved. Originally a stage play, the setting shows it's origins, but this is vintage Marx Brothers. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Better . . . Battier . . . Funnier Than Ever !

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

30 September 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Marx Brothers - Zimmerdienst See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The only film The Marx Brothers made at RKO. During salary negotiations with the studio, erstwhile member Zeppo Marx represented The Marx Brothers, threatening to rejoin the group if their demands weren't met. See more »

Goofs

Wires visible on the turkey when it flies around the room. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gordon Miller: [pulls newspaper down] Well, what do you want? Can't a man have a little privacy around here?
Sasha: The check, Mr. Miller.
Gordon Miller: Oh, the check... Is this check any good?
Sasha: Why, uh... yes, sir.
Gordon Miller: Well, we'll soon find out. There you are.
[signs the check]
Sasha: Thank you.
Gordon Miller: Don't give me any of that 'thank you' stuff.
Sasha: Mr. Miller, many times I have seen your company rehearsing on the 19th floor. Please, I would like to play the part of the Polish miner.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on doors that flip around for each new screen of names. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Classic Comedy Teams (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Good Night Ladies
(1847) (uncredited)
Written by Edwin P. Christy
In the score during the end credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Best Performance You'll Ever See In A Hotel Room"
23 September 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

As was pointed out by another reviewer, the Marx Brothers were languishing at the MGM studio under Louis B. Mayer because they had been brought there by his rival, Irving Thalberg. There last film had been A Day At the Races and they were idle for over a year when RKO requested their services for Room Service. Which L.B. Mayer gave them I'm sure for a good price.

Room Service is a fast moving slapstick farce which the Marx Brothers adapted easily to. There's even a Zeppo part which in this case is filled by Frank Albertson as the naive kid from Oswego who wrote the play that Groucho is trying by hook or crook to get produced. Emphasis on the latter.

Room Service ran for 500 performances on Broadway in the 1937-1938 season and the great George Abbott directed it. Here he was the supervising producer and I'm sure credited director William Seiter served under some real strict supervision. Frank Albertson's role was played by Eddie Albert and the three Marx Brothers parts were played by Sam Levene, Phillip Loeb, and Teddy Hart. Loeb who had Chico's role in the Broadway show played the bill collector trying to get $42.00 on Albertson's typewriter. Well money stretched a lot farther in 1938.

Repeating their Broadway roles were Alexander Asro as the waiter with ambitions to be an actor and Cliff Dunstan as Gribble the hotel manager who is Groucho's brother-in-law. And of course Donald MacBride who had the slowest burn in film next to Edgar Kennedy and could get exasperated faster than anyone else on screen is Dunstan's boss. MacBride usually gets as many laughs as stars do in their films and Room Service is no exception. JUMPING BUTTERBALLS.

The key to the whole plot is the fact that a big backer of Groucho's show pulled out and stopped payment on a $15,000.00 check. But the bank is in California and it took five days for the stop payment to go through. That was interesting to me because in the film Catch Me If You Can, forger/confidence man Frank Abegnale played by Leonardo DiCaprio used that exact same gimmick in the sixties to get a whole lot of money by memorizing codes for routing on checks. Was Abegnale inspired by Room Service?

Favorite scene, the Marx Brothers and Albertson chasing a turkey through their room that Harpo finagled. Favorite line belongs to Frank Albertson which is ironic with Groucho Marx in the same film. When they decide to fake the fact that Albertson is dying, Albertson says that, "I'll give the best performance you'll ever see in a hotel room."

How did that one get by Mr. Breen?


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