The Marx Brothers Collection [DVD]
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Collection of four classic Marx Brothers films. In 'Animal Crackers' (1930), 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. 'Monkey Business' (1931) features the brothers as stowaways aboard a luxury ocean liner. While Groucho, Chico and Harpo create mayhem attempting to escape the clutches of the captain and crew, Zeppo embarks on a romance with Mary Helton (Ruth Hall) - daughter of retired gangster Joe Helton (Rockcliffe Fellowes). When rival gang leader Alky Briggs (Harry Woods) hatches a plot to kidnap Mary and hold her to ransom, it is up to the boys to save the day. In 'Horse Feathers' (1932), the new president of Huxley College, Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Groucho) sets about attending to important school business; namely, winning the school their first football game since 1888. On the advice of his son Frank (Zeppo), he enters a local speakeasy, intending to bribe a couple of professional players to make the college team. What he ends up with instead are inept dog catcher Pinky (Harpo) and ice delivery man Baravelli (Chico). However, the duo prove invaluable when Wagstaff becomes romantically involved with the scheming Connie Bailey (Thelma Todd), a college widow who is secretly in league with Huxley's chief rivals, Darwin. Finally, in 'Duck Soup' (1933), Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is appointed president of Freedonia under the patronage of the wealthy Mrs Teasdale (Dumont) and sets about starting a war with neighbouring Sylvania. To this end he trades insults with Sylvanian ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern), unaware that Trentino's spies Chicolini (Chico) and Pinky (Harpo) are already working to bring down Freedonia from within.
Box set containing four of the Marx Brothers finest and funniest films. Contains: Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933).
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Top Customer Reviews
I got these details from Black Star
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.
* 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!
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 ;)
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved all of these films. A pity they have to keep breaking into song though!! You have to listen carefully to catch the gags as the sound quality being from the 1930's is poor. Read morePublished 3 months ago by EAP of B