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Marx Bros.: Go West/The Big Store
Marx Bros Go West/The Big Store
Actors: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Tony Martin, Virginia Grey
Directors: Charles Reisner, Edward Buzzell
Genres: Westerns, Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
R     2006     2hr 43min

Groucho, Chico, Harpo - all certifiably wacko in a double dip of comedies. The Marxmen Go West (Side A) to where the sun always shines, the fun never sets and where they outwit a land grabber. Highlights include the $1 sca...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Tony Martin, Virginia Grey
Directors: Charles Reisner, Edward Buzzell
Creators: Buster Keaton, Hal Fimberg, Irving Brecher, Nat Perrin, Ray Golden, Sid Kuller
Genres: Westerns, Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Classic Comedies, Musicals
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/02/2006
Original Release Date: 12/06/1940
Theatrical Release Date: 12/06/1940
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 43min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A sporadically good showcase, but mostly for completists
Phil S. | USA | 05/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"There are Marx Brothers Classics out there and Go West isn't one of them, although longtime afficionados who must have read negative reviews of their latter films somewhere along the way, might be very surprised at the number of clever, successful gags, and energetic performances by the comedy legends.
The somewhat complicated plot (feature comedies in the '40s were big on plots with bad guys and young lovers who are threatened by them and seek the aide of the starring comedy team) involving the search for gold, land deeds, corrupt sheriffs, and a few other things, actually involves the stars (they're not used as "comic relief", a typical device of the times).
The problem is that the good stuff sometimes over-milked, for example, the climactic scene of the Marxs' attempt to keep the train chugging by breaking up the train into little pieces and tossing them into the engine, needed a strong comedy director and editor to keep it from getting tiresome.
There's an entertaining musical number near the end of the film in which Groucho sings and plays guitar - always fun for the fans. Unlike the scene in "Horse Feathers" in which Groucho sings and plays for Thelma Todd, unfortunately the booming baritone of John Carroll is also heard, along with Chico, and a great chance is lost. Okay, Carroll is the handsome co-lead (?) but the credits list GM first, and let's assume that most fans paid to watch Mr. Marx. [Speaking of production numbers, in the 1947 "Copacabana" with Groucho, at center stage he performs a number originally written for Go West!].
Of course, there are depressing aspects to this film, which can be expected for the period - a sequence in which the boys and the lovers stop off on the trail on a Native American "reservation", and, hence, the stereotypically cliched dialogue and situations. However, something miraculous happens, Harpo happens upon a stringed object, transforms it into a harp and plays in duet with the "Chief", who plays a woodwind instrument - it's actually a great scene, which fades with the latter placing his hand gently on Harpo's shoulder. One of those rare, touching moments; the brothers were quite capable of injecting pathos into the proceedings when the moment was right.
The Big Store is contemporary - this time the Marxs' help the lovers retain a huge department store, despite tentative credentials as store detectives. Here's another one which has some good bits and pieces, contrary to the generaln consensus of film critics. We don't have over-milked gags as much as one lost opportunity after another; some of that disappointment actually due to the fact that surreal comedy was really a thing of the past by 1941. For example, in The Big Store we find Groucho asleep in the bed department. The effect is ruined by one of the supporting actors prefacing the scene with mention that Mr. Flywheel was up all night examining the books and it was okay for him to sleep there. Another scene has Harpo dressed in Revolutionary War era attire and playing the harp in duet with himself - a beautifully crafted scene. But, alas, it was in his imagination.
Margaret Dumont is on hand and she's always a pleasure to watch - she's given some decent dialogue in a typically wild courtship scene with you know who.
Both Go West and The Big Store have plenty of music, and that's not a negative, as they successfully showcase the performing talents of the Marxes. It's really astonishing to note that they could perform all kinds of comedy, plus play classical music quite impressively, even kick up their heels - Flywheel's dance moves are absolutely balletic in the otherwiseoverdrawn, impossible "Sing While You Sell" number. The viewer/fan can make up his/her mind with both entries as to whether they're watching a musical comedy, a comedy with music, a comedy, or....the Marx Brothers. For deep fans there will be a plethora of coulda-shoulda(s) - both features are in a completely different cosmos from "Duck Soup". DVD Extra Features are entertaining for both fan and historian, including an apparent radio promo/sketch for Go West."
Classic Comedy!!!
Pumpkin Man | 10/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Go West- I'm glad I watched 'A Night at the Opera' because that caused me to want to watch more Marx Brothers movies! Groucho is my favorite, because he's always hilarious in a stressful situation! Groucho plays an embezzler named S. Quentin Quale, who tries to rip off Joseph and Rusty Panello at the train station. Later, they all work together and stop a greedy rich man from building a town on an old man's land. The Marx Brothers help get the deed back and stop the bad guy. I love the awesome show-down on the train and how they tear up the entire framework for more firewood. If you love classic comedy, and The Marx Brothers, you'll love GO WEST!!!

The Big Store- The Marx Brothers get better everytime I see them! Groucho plays out-of-work Detective Wolf J. Flywheel who has been hired to go to The Phelps Department Store and protect Tommy Rogers from being killed. Wolf gets help from Wacky and Ravelli. I thought it was awesome toward the end when they all go through the store on roller skates, trying to stop a bad guy from getting evidence that shows he's tring to kill Tommy. If you love classic comedy, and the Marx Brothers, you'll love THE BIG STORE!!!
Another Ok Marx Brothers Duo
Lynn Ellingwood | Webster, NY United States | 09/06/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"These films are only Ok but if you are a Marx Brothers fan, they are essential to own. The brothers are still full of antics and craziness, but the films seem underproduced and not as momentous as they used to. MGM generally tended to treat comedies as B level pictures and after Irving Thalberg's death, the Marxes were not accepted as A level stars."
Lukewarm films for diehard Marx Brothers fans
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 12/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD offers two of the later films by The Marx Brothers; they're not the very best movies but that is because L. B. Mayer at MGM Studios simply didn't like them. The brothers got lesser quality scripts as a result. Sigh.

Go West was surprisingly funny; I expected a much slower plot bogged down with corny songs. Yes, there are a couple of brief musical numbers but make no mistake about it: There are plenty of gags in the flick that are sure to make you laugh!

The action starts at a train station when S. Quentin Quale (Groucho Marx) is trying to raise a little money to go west to seek his fortune. There's a very funny routine Quale does with Joe Panello (Chico Marx) and his brother Rusty (Harpo Marx); and somehow all three manage to eventually go west. By a chance meeting Joe and Rusty loan an old man some money and as "security" for the loan they get a deed to Dead Man's Gulch. What none of the men realize yet is that Dead Man's Gulch is actually precious land because it is wanted by a wealthy railroad company. The railroad wants Dead Man's Gulch at almost any price to make a huge, profitable rail line from New York all the way out west.

Quale soon hitches a ride further west on the very same stage coach that Joe and Rusty are on; and from here on in the plot becomes even more hilarious. Quale, Joe and Rusty wind up in the town where the railroad company wants to buy the deed to Dead Man's Gulch; and look for some zany plot twists as the deed passes back and forth amongst several men.

There's a weak subplot about two younger people from feuding families falling in love--if the railroad deal can go through; and the scenes with some Native Americans are embarrassingly dated. Ouch!

Will Dead Man's Gulch finally be safely in the hands of people who want to build a railroad and do good deeds--or will the crooks 'Red' Baxter (Robert Barrat) and Beecher (Walter Woolf King) beat them to and milk the railroad company for way more than the land is worth? Will the young couple marry? How will Quale, Joe and Rusty get the deed back to New York? No spoilers here folks; but the train ride near the end of the movie is an elaborate and wonderful climax that lasts a good fifteen minutes or so. You'll love it!

As for The Big Store, this again is not the best Marx Brothers movie although Marx Brothers fans will want this in their collection. The plot moves along but is often interrupted by musical numbers; and one or two numbers are tiresome. The acting is convincing and Margaret Dumont plays the straight role for Groucho's one-liners.

The action begins when Phelps Department Store mogul leaves half the store to his younger relative, Tommy Rogers (Tony Martin). Unbeknownst to Tommy, people are planning to do him in and get total control of the store. Douglass Dumbrille does an excellent job playing department store executive Mr. Grover who keeps trying unsuccessfully to have Tommy murdered; and Grover's plans to court Martha Phelps (Margaret Dumont) are another scam to get his hands on her half of the store and then bump her off, too!

Martha Phelps suspects trouble is afoot and she hires Wolf J. Flywheel (Groucho Marx), a loser detective if there ever was one, to track events in the store. Although Grover and his cronies are against it, Martha Phelps wins and Wolf J. Flywheel is on the case.

Look for some funny scenes between Wolf J. Flywheel and Martha Phelps; Margaret Dumont and Groucho Marx have many of the best lines in the film as he pursues her romantically. It's too bad that this was the last pairing of Dumont with Groucho Marx and his brothers. In addition, Harpo is paired with Groucho for the first and only time while Chico plays a guy simply named Ravelli who also wants to protect Tommy Rogers.

Virginia O'Brien's "Rock-a-Bye Baby" is too unnatural even if it was meant for her to deliver it with an expressionless face. "Tenement Symphony" is good but wedged into a film that it doesn't belong to but Harpo's playing of the harp is always welcome.

In short, these two mediocre Marx Brothers films are good for some entertainment--but I wouldn't go too far out of my way to see these two films unless I was a diehard Marx Brothers fan.