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4.7 out of 5 stars69
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2004
To get the Marx Brothers fours best films in one compilation, well, what more could anyone want? Animal Crackers is a bit creaky, but still very funny, with Groucho in cracking form as Captain Spaulding the African Explorer. Even better is Monkey Business, with the brothers stowed away on a ship, creating havoic with crew and passengers (the scene where they all try to get off the boat by imitating Maurice Chevalier is just marvellous). In Horse Feathers we are in college, with all four brothers romancing Connie Barnes the College Widow (what on earth is a College Widow anyway?) and singing that wonderful song'Everyone Says I love You'. Funniest ever Marx Brothers moment, when the tramp asks Harpo "Can you help me out, I want to get a cup of coffee" and Harpo takes a steaming cup of coffee out of his pocket and hands it to amazed tramp. Then there's the scene in the speakeasy, and the bit with the seal, and the ice, and the football match and - oh, just take your pick. In Duck Soup we are in the surreal world of politics gone mad in Freedonia, with Groucho as a dictator and Chico and Harpo as spies, this is the one with the famous 'mirror' sketch. All four films are quite wonderful, and they come in a beautiful box with beautiful pictures of all four stars, including gorgeous Zeppo (I know he wasn't funny, but the films he was in are the funniest ones, they were never the same after he left the act, and he was SO goodlooking, lovely voice too). Smashing.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2003
First, to answer Comic Genius's question, the disc contains Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and Duck Soup - no Night at the Opera. Sad, but then I'd want A Day at the Races too.
Nevertheless, this is a welcome start to a Marx Bros library on DVD, and gives an excellent overview of how they developed from their early movies to their peak.
Animal Crackers is an early effort based very closely on their stage performances: lots of good jokes, but not as slick as they later became. Monkey Business and Horse Feathers are classic Marx Bros (you'll never beat the opening card-playing scene of Monkey Business for sheer lunacy). And Duck Soup is a true great, with a sharper edge than we're used to from the team.
The big downer is the total lack of extras. How can anyone wait this long and not find time to provide some background?
Still, the movies are there, and that's what counts. Buy'em, watch'em and laugh.
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on 22 November 2003
This is another answer to the query above, as Amazon don't list the contents of the boxed set. You get the second, third, fourth and fifth Marx Brothers films, to wit:
Animal Crackers
Monkey Business
Horse Feathers
Duck Soup
I got these details from Black Star
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on 1 January 2004
Same old version of Horse Feathers I'm afraid. In fact - same old prints of all four movies. Only the soundtracks have been restored. Very funny films, but had they made the effort to restore the picture it would have been 5 stars, and I for one would have been a lot happier.
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on 30 December 2003
of my Marx Bros dvd collection is now in place with these four films. It always seemed strange that in spite of the obvious popularity of the Marx's, the supply of the films is always very patchy.
That said, it's nice to have these in a format where the quality of the sound isn't going to degenerate. The films are not improved in any way over what has been released before from what I can tell [to the previous reviewer - I'm afraid that the College Widow scene in Horse Feathers is no better] though some work on the sound is claimed. This is a collection of the best four films and it's only natural that they would be released first. Lets all hope that the other nine follow in short time.
All this aside, Marx fans will buy this whatever...I was lucky enough to be gifted it for Christmas ;)
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on 5 December 2003
The 4 films in this box set (i.e. Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and Duck Soup) were all Paramount releases. The first Marx Brothers' film 'Cocoanuts' was also a Paramount release and is available on DVD but currently only in region 1 format. The following Marx Brothers outings were released by different companies as follows:
* A Night At The Opera, A Day At The Races, At The Circus, Go West & The Big Store by MGM
* Room Service by RKO
* A Night In Casablanca and Love Happy by United Artists.
This explains why A Night At The Opera and others are not included in this particular collection. However, it doesn't explain why the other companies haven't got their collective fingers out and provided us fans with the rest of the Marx Brothers' comic output. Come on guys, there's a market out there for this stuff!
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on 21 November 2003
The films are
Animal Crackers
Monkey Business
Horse Feathers
Duck Soup
Duck Soup is probably the best of the bunch, but there's not much in it. A Night at the Opera as well would be the icing on the cake, but this is four of their five best films.
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on 28 November 2003
Something weird is going on here. It's just been released and it's out of stock and Amazon recommends buying it elsewhere? Does anyone know what the story is?
Actually I'm in Australia and the same company has released it - without Animal Crackers- but no store can seem to get copies of it here either.
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on 1 June 2016
Watching this it is hard to believe what has happened to American films which have become predictable self-satisfied examples of a great trade. These films made at the start of sound, rich in theatricality of all sorts - songs, acrobatics musical turns and some stiff acting [some fine acting too] They are performed by people who grew up in late 19th century America - they are WILD , undisciplined raucous and shot through with rebelliousness and sexual ambiguity. The exploration of just what you can get away with is a joy; the unpredictable twist ing of words conversation and the segways into physical theatre are unknown in todays stiff and uninspired film industry. I found the all astounding, all flawed and all mind teasing. Heartily recommend them for young people who have OPEN minds and hearts.
I grew up with knowledge of these films and the of The MARX BROS. Looking at them now I can see why they are so special. The past was NOT so predictable, not so straitlaced. It had a youthful desire to change defy and explore everything.
JOY!
The sound quality seemed to me surprisingly good for such old and - it has to be said - battered films [On of them has vertical black threads running through it] Sad that better and more comprehensive collected editions are no available in this day and age. But time will tell.
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on 8 December 2003
HMV Oxford Street said today (8-12-03) that they have no idea when they will have copies of this elusive collection again. But if anyone ever does find it, I would love to know whether it contains a reasonable version of Horse Feathers. In every version I have seen, whether on the big screen or small, the scene in which the brothers serially invade the College Widow's room has been a butchered, cut-to-ribbons travesty, all but imcomprehensible. No broadcaster ever mentions, let alone apologises for this. Could it be we will get a decent version of the scene at last?
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