Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
An Affordable Introduction To The Marx Brothers
SirGeorgeMartini | Chihuahua Legs, Wyoming | 01/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If case you didn't know, the rock group Queen named two of their albums after these films. Zeppo had quit performing with his brothers and the studio replaced him with Allan Jones to keep the same balance of music and comedy that their other successful films had. Typically, Jones will sing a corny, sentimental song to the female love interest while the Marx Brothers aren't on the screen. Fortunately, their comedic talent more than makes up for these boring parts. Groucho's one-liners are still undated and Chico's and Harpo's musical performances are quite impressive."
Two classic MGM era films
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 11/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Duck Soup" nearly did them in. The Marx Brothers' last film for Paramount bombed at the box office. Why? It was ahead of its time. Audiences were used to a structured and coherent story and "Duck Soup" featured the brothers at their most anarchic and insane. Thinking their career was over, Zeppo left the brothers (he wasn't happy playing straight man anyway), Groucho almost quit for radio and Chico & Harpo planned to try and carry on. Then Chico ended up playing cards with the wunderkind Irving Thalberg and, suddenly, they had a career again. Thalberg knew that the brothers' humor would reach audiences within the context of a more conventional formula and story. He helped craft "A Night at The Opera" with that in mind. His midas touch helped relaunch their career.
Both of these films receive sharp and clear transfers with numerous extras about the making of the films. "Remarks on Marx" provides a neat summary of their vaudeville career (including how they got their nicknames)and includes a discussion of why "Duck Soup" failed to reach an audience. There's also a discussion with Kitty Carlisle, irving Brecher one of the writers the Marx Brothers worked with, film historian Robert Osborne, Dom DeLuise and others about their comic style, the making of the film and working with Thalberg. There's also an excerpt from "The Hy Gardner Show" where Groucho discusses his then current book (this is 1961)and working with Thalberg. Leonard Maltin provides an enthusastic commentary track on the making of the film packed with trivia.
"A Day at The Races" continued the winning streak for the brothers. While viewed as inferior by many fans because it repeats the formula of "Opera", in some respects "Races" is superior because it hones the formula of the first film. The commentary by author Glenn Mitchell is exceptionally good filled with a number of witty and interesting stories. "On Your Marx, Get Set, Go" discusses some of the difficulties the Marx Brothers encountered while making the film including the death of savior Thalberg. There's also a discussion hot/cold relationship the trio experienced working with director Sam Wood. The audio only outtake of Allan Jones, MGM radio promos and trailer round out this terrific film. "Races" looks and sounds stellar here as well.
If you're only going to pick up a handful of Marx films, I'd recommend both these classics. While the boxed set from Universal featuring "Duck Soup" and all their early Paramount films is essential, the lack of extras and so-so transfers make them a bit more promblematic at best. I'd recommend waiting a bit and picking up "Duck Soup" and "Horse Feathers" when they're released individually. If you can't wait, you'd do far worse than picking up the "Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection" despite the indifference showed by Universal in their release (although the design of the set is nice)."