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The Marx Brothers: Animal Crackers [VHS]
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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!
This second Marx Brothers classic has Groucho playing Captain Spaulding (an inside joke pertaining to a renowned Hollywood drug pusher), whose song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" became his signature anthem. Despite its staginess, it has some hilarious gags as the boys try to solve the mystery of a stolen painting among the high-society crowd. Some of the highlights include Groucho's African lecture about shooting an elephant in his pajamas, and a wacky card game between Harpo, Chico, and the always-gullible Margaret Dumont. The musical interludes here don't seem as awkward as in later films. It's really quite charming watching Chico and Harpo show off their graceful talents. --Bill Desowitz --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Also remembered for the famous phrase,"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know."
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow.... I didn't expect much from an 86 year old comedy. But the jokes are just as funny as I'm sure they were at the time of original release. Read morePublished 5 months ago by adamw91
Having recently discovered Marx brothers, bought this expecting more laughs and was not disappointed. The slapstick is original and extremely funny and well acted.Published on 17 July 2013 by Al18561
Classic film and i just love the brothers making me laugh!! I'll be buying more of theirs too and laughing plentyPublished on 17 Mar. 2013 by Jules
Mrs Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont) holds a society party at which Captain Spaulding (Groucho Marx) is the guest of honour and Roscoe Chandler (Louis Sorin) will unveil a painting. Read morePublished on 16 Aug. 2009 by Alex da Silva