The Marx Brothers

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swo17
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The Marx Brothers

#1 Post by swo17 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:49 am

Is there seriously not a thread yet for the Marx Brothers? Anyway, I just noticed that the set of Paramount films that went OOP last year is being replaced with individual versions of each of the films, available in June. No idea yet on extras. Here are the Amazon links:

The Cocoanuts
Animal Crackers
Monkey Business
Horse Feathers
Duck Soup
Last edited by swo17 on Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#2 Post by domino harvey » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:51 am

They're only minor brothers

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Murdoch
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#3 Post by Murdoch » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:00 pm

I'm holding off for the eventual blus, hopefully eventual anyway.

In other news, that Zeppo always bugged me.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#4 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:24 pm

If they released the Paramount ones with an option to skip all the goddamn romantic comedy subplots that would be all the special feature I need.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#5 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:42 pm

Those prints are in such bad shape that I'm not sure Universal would ever consider releasing Blu-rays of them.
matrixschmatrix wrote:If they released the Paramount ones with an option to skip all the goddamn romantic comedy subplots that would be all the special feature I need.
As far as the Paramount films go, only the first two (THE COCOANUTS & ANIMAL CRACKERS - essentially filmed stage plays) feature the romantic subplots that MGM later revived; the remaining three are subplot-free or integrate the subplot so well into the comedy that you don't care.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#6 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:36 pm

Yeah, I was thinking specifically of the Cocoanuts- at least in the MGM movies, the non-Marx musical segments were sometimes entertaining in their own right. In the Cocoanuts, the almost kill the movie.

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Antares
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#7 Post by Antares » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:01 pm

From the looks of the DVD covers, it looks like they just ported over the cover images from the 1998 releases onto the boxset masterings. I seriously doubt they did anymore cleaning of the films.

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manicsounds
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#8 Post by manicsounds » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:49 am

Seems like a needless reissue, the best option is still the UK DVD boxset.

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swo17
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#9 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:18 am

Woah, and it's currently 68% off at Amazon UK.

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Murdoch
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#10 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:48 am

Is A Girl in Every Port as bad as it sounds? As much as I love the trio I can't see myself enjoying only Groucho for 90 minutes.

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swo17
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#11 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:54 am

Haven't seen it, but if you want a slimmer package, the 4-disc set including all the early films other than Cocoanuts is also heavily discounted (70% off).

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Murdoch
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#12 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:06 pm

I am so thankful for the crazy discounts on Amazon UK.

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tojoed
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#13 Post by tojoed » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:04 pm

Murdoch wrote:Is A Girl in Every Port as bad as it sounds? As much as I love the trio I can't see myself enjoying only Groucho for 90 minutes.
It is a real stinker. But the box set is a splendid thing at that price, and you can always use that disc as a coaster. "Love Happy" is a sad thing, too, although there's an early appearance by Marylin Monroe.

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Murdoch
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#14 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:15 pm

Love Happy I'm only interested in because Tashlin co-wrote the screenplay, so I'll just get that box. Shame about Every Port though, it would've been nice if they snuck in Skidoo instead, it's not like either are Marx brothers movies.

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MoonlitKnight
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#15 Post by MoonlitKnight » Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:41 pm

Murdoch wrote:In other news, that Zeppo always bugged me.
Hehe. It's almost as though their mother MADE them include him in their shenanigans as kids (even though he was clearly less talented than they were -- maybe Gummo, too, though I've never seen him perform) and it carried on into their adult lives. They were probably relieved once he left after their Paramount contract was up. :?

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knives
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#16 Post by knives » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:01 pm

When they were being short shrifted after Zeppo left didn't Groucho remark that they were 20% funnier without him or something like that.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#17 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:55 pm

Zeppo was NOT less talented -- he was understudy for Groucho, Chico and Harpo in stage productions -- and could supposedly play any of these three "roles" as well as the originals. It's just that he never was given much scope when playing his own character (though he's pretty good in things like Monkey Business).

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Murdoch
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#18 Post by Murdoch » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:53 pm

I guess Zeppo himself never bothered me as much as the roles he was given. He was in between being in on the humor and occupying another of the roles as the ditzy cardboard stereotypes of the secondary characters, which made him feel pointless as he was rarely the butt-end of the jokes but was never given much to do either. In Duck Soup he irks me the most when he joins in on the musical number, I just get annoyed and think "why are you there? You shouldn't get to bang that soldier on the head!"

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Roger Ryan
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#19 Post by Roger Ryan » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:00 pm

When you think about it, three comedians going at it is a lot for a film to handle; four seems an impossibility. Zeppo was really only given one decent chance to play the straight man in a comedy routine (the dictation scene in THE COCOANUTS), but it soon became obvious that the villainous or self-absorbed high society types were much better foils for Groucho, Chico and Harpo. Zeppo was never taken seriously as the romantic interest either; he was best suited as the boyfriend of the "campus widow" Thelma Todd in HORSE FEATHERS, but was still given next-to-nothing to do. In fact, he's even replaced with a stand-in for the film's fade-out gag.

As Michael points out, Zeppo was best utilized as an understudy for the other brothers on the stage. He should have bowed out before the move to film, but who wouldn't want to make some Hollywood money while expending very little effort?

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MoonlitKnight
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#20 Post by MoonlitKnight » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:56 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Zeppo was NOT less talented -- he was understudy for Groucho, Chico and Harpo in stage productions -- and could supposedly play any of these three "roles" as well as the originals. It's just that he never was given much scope when playing his own character (though he's pretty good in things like Monkey Business).
In that case it'd be interesting to know if he was ever called upon to play any of Groucho's, Harpo's, or Chico's characters in an actual performance... and how well he did. But, yeah, he was usually very much a fifth wheel in the 5 movies he did with the others (surely by that time he could've created a unique character of his own?).

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#21 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:37 pm

Yes -- he apparently regularly filled in for all three of his brothers onstage. I don't think there was _room_ for a fifth highly distinctive character (remember there was also Margaret Dumont or Thelma Todd to reckon with).

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Re: The Marx Brothers

#22 Post by masterofoneinchpunch » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:08 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Zeppo was NOT less talented -- he was understudy for Groucho, Chico and Harpo in stage productions -- and could supposedly play any of these three "roles" as well as the originals. It's just that he never was given much scope when playing his own character (though he's pretty good in things like Monkey Business).
I'm glad you mentioned this. Groucho always stated that Zeppo was the funniest one of the bunch (mentioned several times in Hello, I Must Be Going (1978, 2007) by Charlotte Chandler)
I was very unhappy doing what I had to with the Marx Brothers, and I was so confined with them, because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I had to be a straight man, which I didn’t want to be. I wanted to be a comedian. – Zeppo

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#23 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:32 pm

And yet -- as underutilized as Zeppo was -- he brought more to the unrewarding roles he had to tackle than his counterparts in the later MGM films. He really did have a certain straight-faced loopiness that was genuinely Marxian (however it may have been eclipsed by the antics of his brothers).

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Feego
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#24 Post by Feego » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:18 pm

I actually think Allan Jones did a nice job in A Night at the Opera, filling out the role Zeppo usually occupied. He had good screen presence, and I always thought he and Kitty Carlisle had good enough charisma to stand alongside the Brothers, even if the romantic subplot wasn't necessary.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Marx Brothers

#25 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:34 pm

Jones was okay -- but I missed Zeppo. ;~}

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