Thursday, September 30, 2004

Marx Brothers on DVD! Must-Have!

Marx Brothers on DVD: In celebration of 75 years of the funniest siblings ever to grace the silver screen, Universal Studios Home Video releases The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection on November 9, 2004. This boxed set includess the first five films made by Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo − and the only films to star all four brothers together. In addition to the classic full-length features The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and Duck Soup, The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection also boasts a bonus disc containing rare archival telecasts from the "Today" show with Groucho and Harpo Marx. Also included is a spectacular 40-page collectible booklet. The DVD is priced at $59.98 SRP. Pre-order close is October 5, 2004 for the DVD.

The American Film Institute included five Marx Brothers films on its list of America's 100 Greatest Comedies. Duck Soup, probably the quartet's best-known film, was ranked No. 5 on the comedy list and also earned a spot on AFI's 100 Best Films of all time.

Two rare telecast segments from the archives of the "Today" show are contained on a bonus disc. One features Harpo Marx in an interview. The other offers a fascinating anecdote from Groucho Marx about working with a bit player who got the part solely on her distinctive walk - Marilyn Monroe.


The Cocoanuts
Adapted from the Marx Brothers' second Broadway hit, The Cocoanuts was the boys' first feature film. Groucho portrays a hotel owner out to fleece everyone, from innocent bellboys to wealthy society matron Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont). Chico and Harpo play resort con men, (a fact Groucho recognizes instantly when their suitcase pops open − empty). When Mrs. Potter discovers her priceless jewels are missing, Chico and Harpo spring into action to exonerate the falsely accused bell clerk (Oscar Shaw), find the jewels and nab the real perpetrators. Complete with music and lyrics by songwriting great Irving Berlin, this nonstop screwball comedy features some of the Marx Brothers' best routines, including Groucho's famous land auction and the classic "Viaduct" ("Why a duck?") exchange.

HAMMER: You - you know what an auction is, eh?
CHICO: I come from Italy on the Atlantic Auction.

Animal Crackers
A classic of screen history, Animal Crackers is as uproariously funny today as it was over 70 years ago. This film introduced Groucho's most famous character, Captain Spaulding, whose song became the theme of his legendary "You Bet Your Life" TV program. Highlights include Groucho's Africa lecture ("One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know") and the card game between Harpo, Chico and society dowager Mrs. Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont).

SPAULDING: As I say, we tried to remove the tusks. But they were embedded so firmly we couldn't budge them. Of course, in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa but that is entirely ir-elephant to what I was talking about.

Monkey Business
The brothers' third film was their first originally written for the screen and their first made in Hollywood. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo play four stowaways on a luxury ocean liner who end up becoming bodyguards for rival gangsters. Written by S.J. Perelman, this laugh-filled escapade contains some of the Marx Brothers' wackiest routines, including the famous disembarkation sequence where they all pass themselves off as Maurice Chevalier. Opinions are split as to whether you can hear the normally mute Harpo's voice when the stowaways sing "Sweet Adeline." Either way, lunacy rules the waves in this madcap voyage.

MAN: What's the idea putting your hand in my pocket
CHICO: Just a little mistake. I had a suit once just looked like that, and for a moment I thought those were my pants.
MAN: How could they be your pants when I've got them on?
CHICO: Well, this suit had two pair of pants.

Horse Feathers
The Marx Brothers are at their manic peak in this uproariously anarchic parody of college life. As Prof. Quincy Adams, the fun-loving president of Huxley College, Groucho tries to keep the student body in line − and his own body close to a flirtatious blonde (Thelma Todd) who is secretly trying to rig the upcoming football game. Horse Feathers contains some of the funniest sequences in movie history including the unforgettable football game finale, each of the four brothers' distinctive renditions of "Everyone Says I Love You" and a speakeasy sequence that forever gave a new meaning to the word "Swordfish." The fourth Marx Brothers comedy boasts a script by brilliant humorist S.J. Perelman (Monkey Business, Around the World in 80 Days), songs by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby (including Groucho's theme, "I'm Against It") and direction by the great Norman McLeod (Topper, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

BARAVELLI: Hey, what'sa matter? You no understand English? You can't come in here unless you say "swordfish." Now, I give you one more guess.

Duck Soup
Released in 1933, this uproarious political satire is thought by many to be the Marx Brothers' greatest movie. Groucho is Rufus T. Firefly, the hilarious dictator of mythical land Freedonia. Harpo and Chico are commissioned as spies by Groucho's political rival, the calculating Trentino (Louis Calhern). The film contains many of the Brothers' most famous sequences: the lemonade stand, the Paul Revere parody, the "We're Going to War" number − a dead-on spoof of '30s musicals −and the often imitated final battle episode.

FIREFLY: To my dentist. Er .. 'Dear Dentist: Enclosed find cheque for five hundred dollars. Yours very truly.' Send that off immediately.
BOB:I'll ... er I'll have to enclose the cheque first.
FIREFLY: You do and I'll fire you.

CAST & FILMMAKERS (The Cocoanuts)

Director: Joseph Santley and Robert Florey
Screenwriter: Morrie Ryskind
Based on Musical Play, book by: George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind
Producer: Walter Wanger
Director of Photography:
Production Designer:
Cast: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Oscar Shaw, Mary Eaton, Kay Francis, Margaret Dumont, Cyril Ring, Basil Ruysdael, Sylvan Lee, Gamby-Hale Ballet Girls and Allan K. Foster Girls.

CAST & FILMMAKERS (Animal Crackers)

Director: Victor Heerman
Screenwriter: Morrie Ryskind
Based on the Musical Play by: George S. Kaufman, Bert Kalmar, Morrie Ryskind and Harry Ruby
Director of Photography: George J. Folsey
Art Director: Ernst Fegté
Cast: Groucho, Harpo Chico, Zeppo, Lillian Roth, Margaret Dumont, Louis Sorin, Hal Thompson, Margaret Irving

CAST & FILMMAKERS (Monkey Business)

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Screenwriter: Arthur Sheekman
From a Story by: S.J. Perelman, Roland Pertwee and W.B. Johnstone
Producer: Herman J. Mankiewicz
Director of Photography: Arthur L. Todd
Production Designer:
Cast: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Thelma Todd, Rockcliffe Fellowes, Ruth Hall, Tom Kennedy and Harry Woods

CAST & FILMMAKERS (Horse Feathers)

Director: Norman McLeod
Screenwriters: Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and S.J. Perelman
Producer: Herman J. Mankiewicz
Director of Photography: Ray June
Cast: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Thelma Todd, Florine McKinney, Robert Greig, James Pierce and David Landau


Director: Leo McCarey
Screenwriters: Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby
Additional Dialogue: Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin
Producer: Herman J. Mankiewicz
Director of Photography: Henry Sharp
Art Director: Hans Dreier, Wiard B. Ihnen
Editor: LeRoy Stone
Cast: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Thelma Todd, Rockcliffe Fellowes, Ruth Hall, Tom Kennedy and Harry Woods


Street Date: November 9, 2004
Order Close: October 5, 2004
Rating: R
Suggested Retail Price: $59.98
DVD Selection Number: 21250

Chico Marx (1887 -1961) Born: Leonard Marx; New York, USA

Harpo Marx (1888 - 1964) Born: Adolf Marx; New York, USA

Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977) Born: Julius Henry Marx; New York, USA

Gummo Marx (1897 - ?) Born: Milton Marx; New York, USA

Zeppo Marx (1901 - 1979) Born: Herbert Marx; New York, USA