6.9/10
4,975
53 user 23 critic

At the Circus (1939)

Not Rated | | Comedy , Musical | 20 October 1939 (USA)
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

Writer:

Irving Brecher (screen play)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
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
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
    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
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
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 7.6/10 X  

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
Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, The Marx Brothers
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
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
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
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Groucho Marx ... J. Cheever Loophole
Chico Marx ... Antonio
Harpo Marx ... 'Punchy'
Kenny Baker ... Jeff Wilson
Florence Rice ... Julie Randall
Eve Arden ... Peerless Pauline
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Suzanna Dukesbury
Nat Pendleton ... Goliath
Fritz Feld ... Jardinet
James Burke ... John Carter
Jerry Maren ... Little Professor Atom (as Jerry Marenghi)
Barnett Parker ... Whitcomb
Edit

Storyline

Jeff Wilson, the owner of a small circus, owes his partner Carter $10000. Before Jeff can pay, Carter lets his accomplices steal the money, so he can take over the circus. Antonio Pirelli and Punchy, who work at the circus, together with lawyer Loophole try to find the thief and get the money back. Written by Michael Zolk <mzolk@ix.urz.uni-heidelberg.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

NOT SUITABLE FOR GENERAL EXHIBITION (Australian one-sheet poster) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Day at the Circus See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was first telecast in Chicago Wednesday 20 February 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2) ,followed by Seattle 22 February 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by New York City 4 March 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), by Philadelphia 15 March 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), by New Haven CT 22 March 1957 on WNHC (Channel 8), by Portland OR 26 March 1957 on KGW (Channel 8), by Altoona PA 30 March 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), and by Hartford CT 17 May 1957 on WHCT (Channel 18); its first television showing in San Francisco occurred 26 April 1958 on KGO (Channel 7); but its first Los Angeles telecast did not take place until 27 January 1959 on KTTV (Channel 11). See more »

Goofs

When Jeff first gets on the train, his badge keeps changing position on his coat. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Suzanna Dukesbury: Now, be sure; when the Normandy docks tomorrow in New York, the Jardinet and his entire orchestra come directly here.
J. Cheever Loophole: This bedroom will be awfully crowded.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Mickey's Polo Team (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

My Melancholy Baby
(1911) (uncredited)
Music by Ernie Burnett
Played a bit on a trombone in the "Swingali" number
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Problems Of Circus Movies.
16 March 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

The decline of the Marx Brothers does not begin with ROOM SERVICE, which is hysterical at it's conclusion, but with AT THE CIRCUS. Groucho always insisted that had Irving Thalberg lived his care would have made the other films in the contract after A DAY AT THE RACES as good as that and A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. This meant that the film had to be taken on the road as a Vaudeville show, and the material tested carefully. But Thalberg was dead, and Louis B. Mayer was quite unsympathetic to these three clowns who were...well clowns, and who had gotten too good a sweetheart contract from Thalburg in terms of profits. Mayer thought of comedians as interchangeable, and could not care about allowing talented ones to test their material - you hand them a script and that was that: they are paid to make it funny. If they don't you fire them.

So it is traditional to blame AT THE CIRCUS, GO WEST, and THE BIG STORE on Mayer's hostility. That hostility played a major role (there is just no denying it), but in the case of AT THE CIRCUS there is another point that is frequently overlooked. In movies by comedians, it was rare for a circus comedy to be really funny. W.C.Fields, YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN was an exception - a truly funny circus comedy, but it's strength was the film record of Field's radio feud with ventriloquist dummy Charlie McCarthy. Had it been set in a movie studio or a bank or a foreign country it would have been just as successful. But other comedians were not as lucky. Charlie Chaplin worked two years on THE CIRCUS, and while a good film it was not the great film he hoped to make. The atmosphere of a circus should have been inviting to comics - after all, here clowns were really clowns. But for some reason the special needs of movie funny-men were hard to translate into the atmosphere of the big top. Possibly the best use of the big top as a comic background was in Laurel & Hardy's short film THE CHIMP. The first quarter of the film shows how they wreck the circus (which was on it's last legs anyway). But the remaining three quarters of the film deal with the boys problems with a rooming house owned by a jealous Billy Gilbert, and the title "chimp" they hope to sell to a zoo.

With the Marxes the circus just does not absorb them too much. Groucho is there, hired as a lawyer to assist Kenny Baker and his pal Chico. Harpo, as Chico's brother, is a circus roustabout. But there is little example of their involvement in the circus life of the troop or of the animals (Harpo should have been involved with circus horses, anyway). Bits of the film are actually quite good - like Chico and Harpo trying to find papers in Nat Pendleton's (the circus strongman's) room. They manage to turn it into a Christmas nightmare for poor Pendleton. And Groucho certainly has two great moments: the business of trying to get on the circus train without knowing the password (even one of the animals knows the password), and his singing "Lydia The Tattooed Lady".

There were some cuts, apparently. Groucho had a sequence where his trial skills were shown in a court presided over by Edgar Kennedy. One wishes they had kept that in the film. The poor portions, mostly tied to the sickeningly sweet and naive Kenny Baker (fighting the crooked James Burke) are overwhelming. At least Groucho was able to have another session with Margaret Dumont as Mrs. Dukesberry (Baker's aunt), and poor Margaret gets shot out of a cannon in the end. But the drab spots outnumber the good ones. Not too bad, but still just mediocre as a result.


11 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 53 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed