Marx Brothers films
The Marx Brothers are employed at a hotel in postwar Casablanca, where a ring of Nazis is trying to recover a cache of stolen treasure. Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Charles Drake. Votes: 6, By Marx Brothers standards, this isn't a great film. Jan 10, · Marx Brothers - Films Movies Preview 13 GBs of Marx Brothers. Contains most the production hits during their time in film. Be the first one to write a review. 1, Views. 13 Favorites. DOWNLOAD OPTIONS download 15 files. H Uplevel BACK M.
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The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City , that enjoyed success in Vaudeville , Broadway , and motion pictures from the early s to around The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico , Harpo and Groucho ; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo , did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers.
Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared only in the first five. A sixth brother, Manfred "Mannie" , was actually the first child of Samuel and Minnie, born in , [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] though an online family tree states that he was born in "Family lore told privately of the firstborn son, Manny, born in but surviving for only three months, and carried off by tuberculosis.
Even some members of the Marx family wondered if he was pure myth. But Manfred can be verified. A death certificate of the Borough of Manhattan reveals that he died, aged seven months, on 17 July , of 'entero-colitis,' with 'asthenia' contributing, i. Sadye Marks , who married comedian Jack Benny. The brothers were from a family of artists, and their musical talent was encouraged from an early age. Harpo was amazingly talented, learning to play an estimated six different instruments throughout his career.
He became a dedicated harpist, which gave him his nickname. Groucho's debut was in , mainly as a singer. The next year, Harpo became the fourth Nightingale and by , the group was expanded to include their mother Minnie and their Aunt Hannah.
The troupe was renamed "The Six Mascots". One evening in , a performance at the Opera House in Nacogdoches, Texas was interrupted by shouts from outside about a runaway mule.
The audience hurried outside to see what was happening. When they returned, Groucho, angered by the interruption, made snide comments about the audience, including "Nacogdoches is full of roaches" and "The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass". Instead of becoming angry, the audience laughed. The family then realized they had potential as a comic troupe. The act slowly evolved from singing with comedy to comedy with music. The last version of the school act, titled Home Again , was written by their uncle, Al Shean , of the famous vaudeville act Gallagher and Shean.
At about this time, Gummo left to serve in World War I , reasoning that "anything is better than being an actor! During World War I, anti-German sentiments were common, and the family tried to conceal their German origin.
After learning that farmers were excluded from the draft rolls, mother Minnie purchased a acre , m 2 poultry farm near Countryside, Illinois , but the brothers soon found that chicken ranching was not in their blood. By this time, "The Four Marx Brothers" had begun to incorporate their unique style of comedy into their act and to develop their characters.
Both Groucho and Harpo's memoirs say their now famous on-stage personae were created by Al Shean. Groucho began to wear his trademark greasepaint moustache and to use a stooped walk. Harpo stopped speaking onstage and began to wear a red fright wig and carry a taxi-cab horn. Chico spoke with a fake Italian accent, developed off-stage to deal with neighborhood toughs, while Zeppo adopted the role of the romantic and "peerlessly cheesy", according to James Agee [ 19 ] straight man.
The on-stage personalities of Groucho, Chico and Harpo were said to have been based on their actual traits. Zeppo, on the other hand, was considered the funniest brother offstage, despite his straight stage roles. As the youngest, and having grown up watching his brothers, he could fill in for and imitate any of the others when illness kept them from performing. Zeppo did impersonate Groucho in the film version of Animal Crackers. Groucho was unavailable to film the scene in which the Beaugard painting is stolen, so the script was contrived to include a power failure which allowed Zeppo to play the Spaulding part in near-darkness.
By the s, the Marx Brothers had become one of America's favorite theatrical acts. With their sharp and bizarre sense of humor, they satirized high society and human hypocrisy. They also became famous for their improvisational comedy in free-form scenarios. A famous early instance was when Harpo arranged to chase a fleeing chorus girl across the stage during the middle of a Groucho monologue to see if Groucho would be thrown off.
However, to the audience's delight, Groucho merely reacted by calmly checking his watch and commenting, "First time I ever saw a taxi hail a passenger".
When Harpo chased the girl back the other direction, Groucho ad-libbed, "The 's right on time. You can set your watch by the Lehigh Valley. Under Chico's management, and with Groucho's creative direction, the brothers' vaudeville act had led to them becoming stars on Broadway, first with a musical revue, I'll Say She Is — and then with two musical comedies, The Cocoanuts — and Animal Crackers — Playwright George S.
Kaufman worked on the last two and helped sharpen the Brothers' characterizations. Out of their distinctive costumes the brothers looked alike, even down to their receding hairlines. Zeppo could pass for a younger Groucho, and played the role of his son in Horse Feathers.
A scene in Duck Soup finds Groucho, Harpo and Chico all appearing in the famous greasepaint eyebrows, mustache and round glasses, while wearing nightcaps. The three are indistinguishable, enabling them to carry off the "mirror scene" perfectly. The stage names for four of the five brothers were coined by monologist Art Fisher [ 19 ] during a poker game in Galesburg, Illinois , based both on the brothers' personalities and Gus Mager 's Sherlocko the Monk , a popular comic strip of the day which included a supporting character named " Groucho the Monk ".
The reasons behind Chico's and Harpo's stage names are undisputed, and Gummo's is fairly well established. Groucho's and Zeppo's are far less clear.
Arthur was named Harpo because he played the harp , and Leonard became Chico pronounced "Chick-o" because he was, in the slang of the period, a "chicken chaser". In his autobiography, Harpo explains that Milton became Gummo because he crept about the theater like a gumshoe detective.
Groucho stated that the source of the name was Gummo wearing galoshes. Either way, the name relates to rubber-soled shoes. I kept my money in a 'grouch bag. Naturally, you're going to think that's where I got my name from. But that's not so. Grouch bags were worn on manly chests long before there was a Groucho. Herbert was not nicknamed by Art Fisher, since he did not join the act until Gummo had departed. As with Groucho, three explanations exist for Herbert's name, "Zeppo":. Maxine Marx reported in The Unknown Marx Brothers that the brothers listed their real names Julius, Leonard, Adolph, Milton and Herbert on playbills and in programs, and only used the nicknames behind the scenes, until Alexander Woollcott overheard them calling one another by the nicknames; he asked them why they used their own ordinary real names publicly when they had such wonderful nicknames.
They replied, "That wouldn't be dignified. Since Woollcott did not meet the Marx Brothers until the premiere of I'll Say She Is , which was their first Broadway show, this would mean they used their real names throughout their vaudeville days, and that the name "Gummo" never appeared in print during his time in the act.
Other sources report that the Marx Brothers did go by their nicknames during their vaudeville era, but briefly listed themselves by their given names when I'll Say She Is opened because they were worried that a Broadway audience would reject a vaudeville act if they were perceived as low class. The Marx Brothers' stage shows became popular just as Hollywood was changing to " talkies ".
They signed a contract with Paramount and embarked on their film career. Their first two released films they had previously made — but not released — one short silent film titled Humor Risk were adaptations of Broadway shows: The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers Both were written by George S.
Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. Following these two feature-length films, they made a short film that was included in Paramount's twentieth anniversary documentary, The House That Shadows Built , in which they adapted a scene from I'll Say She Is.
Their third feature-length film, Monkey Business , was their first that was not based on a stage production, and the only movie in which Harpo's voice is heard he sings tenor from inside a barrel in the opening scene.
Horse Feathers , in which the brothers satirized the American college system and Prohibition , was their most popular film yet, and won them the cover of Time. It included a running gag from their stage work, where Harpo revealed having nearly everything in his coat.
At various points in Horse Feathers Harpo pulls out of his coat: a wooden mallet, a fish, a coiled rope, a tie, a poster of a woman in her underwear, a cup of hot coffee, a sword; and, just after Groucho warns him that he "can't burn the candle at both ends," a candle burning at both ends. In another famous sketch, shown in Animal Crackers , Harpo drops a full banquet's worth of pilfered silverware out of his sleeve, followed by a coffeepot. Although the series was short lived, much of the story material developed for it was used for subsequent films starring the Brothers.
Furthermore, the scripts and recordings were believed lost for decades until copies of the scripts were found in the s in the Library of Congress and both published in a book and performed with Marx Brother impersonators for BBC Radio. Their last Paramount film, Duck Soup — directed by the most highly regarded director they ever worked with, Leo McCarey — is the highest rated of the five Marx Brothers films to make the American Film Institute 's " years It did not do as well as Horse Feathers , but was the sixth-highest grosser of The film also led to a feud between the Marxes and the village of Fredonia, New York.
Freedonia, of course, was the name of the fictional country in Duck Soup , and the city fathers wrote to Paramount and asked the studio to remove all references in the film to Freedonia because "it is hurting our town's image".
Groucho fired back a sarcastic reply asking them to change the name of their town because "it's hurting our picture". The Marx Brothers left Paramount because of disagreements over creative decisions and financial issues. Zeppo left the act to become an agent and went on to build with his brother Gummo one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood, helping the likes of Jack Benny and Lana Turner get their starts.
Groucho and Chico did radio, and there was talk of returning to Broadway. Unlike the free-for-all scripts at Paramount, Thalberg insisted on a strong story structure, making them into more sympathetic characters, interweaving their comedy with romantic plots and non-comic musical numbers, while the targets of their mischief were largely confined to clear villains.
Thalberg was adamant that these scripts had to include a "low point" where all seems lost for both the Marxes and the romantic leads. Another idea of Thalberg's was that before filming would commence on an upcoming picture, the Marx Brothers would try out its material on the vaudeville stage, working on comic timing and learning what earned a laugh and what did not.
The first film that the brothers shot with Thalberg was A Night at the Opera , a satire on the world of opera , where the brothers help two young singers in love by throwing a production of Il Trovatore into chaos. The film which includes a scene where they cram an absurd number of people into a tiny stateroom on a ship was a great success, and was followed two years later by the even bigger hit A Day at the Races , where the brothers cause mayhem in a sanitarium and at a horse race this sequence includes Groucho and Chico's famous "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" sketch.
However, during shooting in , Thalberg died suddenly, and without him, the brothers did not have an advocate at MGM. Prior to the release of The Big Store , the team announced their retirement from the screen, but Chico was in dire financial straits; to help settle his gambling debts, the Marx Brothers made another two films together, A Night in Casablanca and Love Happy , both of them released by United Artists.
From the s onward, Chico and Harpo appeared separately and together in nightclubs and casinos. Groucho and Chico briefly appeared together in a short film promoting the Saturday Evening Post entitled "Showdown at Ulcer Gulch," directed by animator Shamus Culhane , Chico's son-in-law.
In , the three began production of Deputy Seraph, a TV series starring Harpo and Chico as blundering angels, and Groucho in every third episode as their boss, the "Deputy Seraph.
Groucho made a cameo appearance—uncredited, because of constraints in his NBC contract—in the last scene, and delivered the only line of dialog "We won't talk until we see our lawyer! In addition to being a non-fiction biography of the Marxes, the film would have also featured the brothers reenacting much of their previously unfilmed material from both their vaudeville and Broadway eras.