Animal Crackers-Marx Brothers
The Marx Brothers' second film is an adaptation of their Broadway hit. Mrs Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont) is throwing a high society party, at which African explorer Jeffrey T. Spaulding (Groucho Marx) is the guest of honour. When a valuable painting is stolen from the house, Spaulding teams up with Italian musician Emanual Ravelli (Chico Marx) and the eccentric Professor (Harpo Marx) to track down the thieves - in between trading insults with their fellow guests and generally creating mayhem!
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There are only 3 entertaining sections that last about 3 minutes each in this film: 1 - Chico playing the piano; 2 - Harpo dealing the cards at a Bridge game: 3 - Chico and Harpo hammering very loudly in the dark while trying to subtly steal the painting from the wall. That's your lot. The rest of the film is boring and it's too long. Margaret Dumont sounds like Anne Widdicombe, ie, she has a terrible voice and there is no real need for the insipid characters that play the romance story that runs simultaneously. Harpo has always creeped me out a little and that's what he does in this film. The brothers should have rehearsed something funny.......more practice needed....
At the home of wealthy society woman Mrs. Rittenhouse [Groucho's almost regular foil Margaret Dumont] there's a party going on. Where a valuable painting will be unveiled. Guests include the famous African explorer Captain Spaulding [Groucho] musicians Ravelli and the Professor [Chico and Harpo]. And others who have their eye on the painting for various reasons.
Chaos and romance and a hunt for missing art ensue.
Being a direct translation of the stage play onto the screen means it's longer than their later films, which were especially written for the big screen. But it comes from their earlier movies with Paramount, which are generally held in higher regard as they emphasised the chaos.
It's a little overlong. And it's a very old film now, so it can feel a little bit dated. You could also, as ever, easily do without the musical interludes. But there are great set pieces and some amazingly clever wordplay plus some excellent physical comedy. The picture quality is very good. The audio is a little weak at points, but never enough to make it a problem.
Not the best Marx Brothers movie all in all, but still a classic piece of screen comedy, and it should be in every film fan's collection.
The dvd has no extras.
The language and subtitle options are as follows:
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish.
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Greek, Turkish, Portugese, Russian.
Watching this, I was nearly reaching for the paracetamol it was that good.
The one that stands out for me as the most ridiculous is the elephant in the pyjamas joke. It falls into the so bad it's hilarious category.
Can't wait to watch another.