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Inside the Marx Brothers
Inside the Marx Brothers
Actors: Marx Brothers, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Documentary
NR     2003     1hr 30min



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Movie Details

Actors: Marx Brothers, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo
Genres: Comedy, Kids & Family, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Classics, Biography
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 11/11/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An interesting if not very meaty documentary
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 02/05/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Although this might be a potential springboard for a new fan, there's just not a lot here for the more serious fan. It gives a very basic and truncated narrative of their careers, and what information there is is already common knowledge and available in superior documentaries. The non-casual fan isn't liable to learn a lot of new stuff from watching this. These guys led such fascinating lives both onscreen and off, with a veritable goldmine of material to have used, yet what we get is something that's not much over an hour and that really does seem kind of like Cliff Notes. For example, in the section dealing with their film career, we don't get much more than a series of film clips instead of a serious discussion on these films, their place in movie history, how they were made, what the early scripts were like, etc. So many important things were just glossed over. Most of the film clips themselves, from both their movies and the tv appearances, are in very shabby condition. With better prints available, why choose the bottom of the barrel? Even the audio quality is off in some of the clips. This documentary also seems to focus excessively on Groucho's life and career; just because he seems to be the most popular of the brothers doesn't mean that the other four should be ignored! Typically, we don't even really get that much information about poor Gummo and Zeppo after they left the act. There also weren't enough people used for interviews; they were mostly Groucho's son Arthur and his personal assistant Steve Stoliar, who worked with him late in his life.

However, this disc is worth it for the rare home movies, tv commercials, tv appearances, and film clips from solo projects. Included among these clips are the recently-rediscovered 1925 film 'Too Many Kisses,' in which Harpo had a small role, a clip from the 1925 comedy 'A Kiss in the Dark,' in which Zeppo made a minor appearance, a commercial Chico and Harpo made for shampoo, and clips from the (reputedly dreadful) 1957 Technicolor film 'The Story of Mankind,' which the three brothers appeared in but not together. The most priceless of the film clips are in the section dealing with their later careers and lives, after they'd stopped making movies, since so few people know about what they did after retiring from the screen. It's one of those things that's worth a look for the more seasoned fan, but which ultimately holds more interest for a newer fan who doesn't already know all of these things and hasn't seen most of their films yet."
It's just like home video !!!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 12/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Inside The Marx Brothers is a rather good documentary that I enjoyed. It's not perfect; but it does have rare newsreel footage, a sound clip of Harpo's voice, a couple of great extras, interview footage with Arthur Marx, Groucho's son--and more!

The documentary goes roughly in chronological order; we see the Marx Brothers and their parents through the early years in still photos with some rare footage of Harpo in a 1925 silent film entitled Too Many Kisses; and we also get footage of an early vaudeville comedy routine the four brothers replicated for a 1931 Paramount promotional film, The House That Shadows Built. The quality of the older footage is not good, unfortunately; and this is particularly frustrating in the twenty minute extra when Groucho is interviewed in 1954 by Edward R. Murrow.

On the other hand, we get good insights about the four brothers and their personal married lives with the children they raised; and we see them survive the move from Paramount Studios to MGM Studios. The group did well at MGM until Irving Thalberg died suddenly; after that things slowly but surely went downhill for The Marx Brothers essentially because Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM Studios, just didn't personally like their act.

Look also for rare footage from an ill fated 1959 comedy sitcom pilot that was scrapped very early on because it was poorly conceived; and Ann Miller gives a good interview about the Marx Brothers as well.

Overall, this documentary isn't completely thorough but it does offer interview and rare footage that we don't get in the other documentary entitled The Marx Brothers In A Nutshell. I am beginning to think that to truly cover all the ground a Marx Brothers fan will simply have to pick out more than one documentary to get the fullest understanding of this great comedy team.

Four stars.