The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

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Drucker
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#51 Post by Drucker » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:29 am

Monkey Business didn't thrill me too much, though for different reasons from the weakness of Animal Crackers. It's certainly more film-like than their other films, but my main problem with this film is as they start to do more physical comedy, it's just not that good here! Boring chases across the cruise ship with people knocking into each other and running around tables didn't excite me too much. A few good jokes but nothing spectacular.

Horse Feathers is where I found it started to get interesting. Compare the chase scenes in MB with Harpo/Chico sawing themselves through the floor, or the scene where they are all in the lady's apartment, and Harpo is running on top of everyone on the couch as he runs across the room. Those made me laugh far more than the previous film. My wife also pointed out that they really start doing "sketches" in this film, which is something they don't really do too much of in the first films. Standalone bits like Tootsie Frutti Ice Cream and packing everyone into a room on the ship in ANATO really have their roots here.

This feels like the film they hit their stride and had begun to master the medium of film to really take advantage of the potential chaos, especially since I have a real fondness for Night At The Opera and A Day At the Races as well, and the best scenes from those films far outweigh any slow sections.

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Drucker
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Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#52 Post by Drucker » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:57 am

Never got to jot down some quick notes on Duck Soup, so I will now. It is so far and away superior to the other films in this set, I have to wonder if I am watching a different film as others here who didn't care for it. The famous fake mirror scene hasn't aged a day, and my sides were absolutely splitting during it. McCarey's direction is clearly on display, not necessary because it has some sort of unique personal touch, but because the film is that much more cinematic and tight. Duck Soup takes all of the things the Marx's do well and throws everything else away. On top of that, the ever elusive plot is actually easier to follow and makes more sense than in any other film.

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oldsheperd
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Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#53 Post by oldsheperd » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:21 pm

Been a fan of all of these since forever. For me, the Marx Bros. start to fall of around At the Circus, but there are still some good moments in Go West, Big Store, Night in Casablanca, even Room Service and Love Happy are worth a couple chuckles.
However, I do think they lose their bite when the Marx Bros. go to Paramount. They're not as nihilistic and a bit more endearing starting with Night at the Opera.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#54 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:07 pm

Went from Paramount to MGM thanks to Irving Thalberg.

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Roscoe
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Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#55 Post by Roscoe » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:03 pm

I'm a big fan of all of these -- as much as I love DUCK SOUP, I'll cop to having a particular fondness for MONKEY BUSINESS, which has to come as close as classic Hollywood ever came to having just no plot at all. And watching Groucho romance Thelma Todd is one of life's greatest pleasures ("Madam you're making history, and in fact you're making me, and I wish you'd keep my hands to yourself!"), and it has to be said it's at least partly because she seems more than willing to take him up on the offer. Yeah, the film ends with a whimper rather than a bang, but I can't say I mind all that much. The passport scene where they pass themselves off as Maurice Chevalier has me helpless every time.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#56 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:15 pm

I'm with roscoe. ;-)

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hearthesilence
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Re: The 4 Marx Brothers at Paramount 1929-1933

#57 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:18 am

Love the Marx Brothers and I vastly prefer the Paramount films. Even when they were technically crude, the comedy was anarchic in a way that has allowed them to age very well (at least with me) - the MGM films were much more polished and initially pretty good, but even the best ones feel restrained to a fault.

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