"I love this movie. There is minimal singing and dancing here, the only unbearable points being whenever Zeppo starts singing to Thelma Todd in his gimpy voice. Groucho for some reason is made a president of a university in this film, and he is as would be expected incredibly inadequate, and causes plenty of mayhem. Chico is a dopey Italian as usual, Harpo plays a dog catcher. Hoping to gain respect for his school, Groucho tries to hire football players, and accidentally hires Chico and Harpo, who have very funny moments in this film, particularly in the class room scene. Although people must have thought Harpo's love interest of horses in the first few films to be silly, imagine how it might be percepted these days, especially after movies like "The Animal".
A great movie, funny stuff, plenty of wit and humor. The movie seems to end pretty badly though, and I guess the writers couldn't find a good way to end it. I love the music though, all the brothers get to sing or play, and Groucho shows that he had a good knack for the guitar. Oh yeah, and Thelma Todd is nice to look at. Where do you think the drink "Hot Toddie" got it's name?
A last note: in 1932, when this movie was made, a book called Brave New World" by Huxley came out, and concerned a mutated futuristic species of sorts. Darwin wrote the theory of evolution, as a lot of people know. The schools Huxley and Darwin compete in the film. See the underlying theme of conflicting theories? Well....it's there."
The Four Marx Brothers at their very best; guaranteed laughs
Scott MacGillivray | Massachusetts, USA | 10/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This fast-moving comedy has Groucho Marx taking over a college. Zeppo advocates football on campus, so Harpo and Chico are recruited to kidnap the opposition's star players. In between, there are some inspired comedy sequences (including the Marxes' "schoolroom" vaudeville act) and some excellent musical performances. The harp solo is this writer's candidate for Harpo's all-time best, and Chico shoots the piano keys in a delightful rendition of "Collegiate." Lots of fun for comedy fans. The DVD, unfortunately, is no improvement on the VHS version: every copy of "Horse Feathers" has a damaged section containing numerous splices and choppy dialogue. The damage is very brief (maybe a minute or two) and shouldn't detract from your enjoyment. The surviving master print may not be perfect, but the film itself gets a perfect score."
Great film on an unfortunate dvd
Erik Bateson | California | 01/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I can't give this film anything else than a perfect five, I am disappointed with this release. I shelled out a small fortune to buy this on ebay, and it looks like it was transferred over from a VHS tape! Artisan and Universal need to get their act together. The Marx Brothers made five films with them: The Cocoanuts, Monkey Business, Animal Crackers, Horse Feathers, and Duck Soup. I think that The Cocoanuts and Monkey Business could easily fit onto one disc, and Animal Crackers, Horse Feathers, and Duck Soup could fit easily, too, with spare room for extra features. Although I paid an arm and a leg for this disc, I am glad I have it. I runs like a vhs, though. Stick it in-it plays a copyright protection warning after a few seconds of blackness, it does the Universal couple second intro to the movie, then it plays the movie. There are scene selections, but you just press skip on your remote, since there is no concrete main menu. Universal doesn't have any plans to re-release this, but I really hope they do. The film is excellent; this release is not. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and feel free to leave helpful/not helpful feedback."
More horsing around
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 04/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had a professor in college who seemed to base his entire teaching style off of Groucho Marx's character in HORSE FEATHERS. And, yes, it was one of the more amusing set of classes that I took in my time at university. So, any time I want to relive a more surreal version of my undergraduate learning years, I simply have to throw this DVD into my player and get set for 68 minutes worth of hilarity.While DUCK SOUP may the best known of the Marx Brothers' films, I think that HORSE FEATHERS may actually be the better introduction to show to someone unfamiliar with their material. It's a short, snappy, quick film, the musical numbers are quite funny and the gags are classic Marx Brothers material. Groucho Marx the professor is here, as are Chico and Harpo as a pair of delinquent, accidental, and almost middle-aged students. Zeppo makes a brief appearance as Groucho's son and barely appears in the second half of the film. It has all the elements of the standard Marx Brothers film, but it doesn't feel tired or clichéd.Naturally, the Marx Brothers themselves are as hilarious as ever. The only real secondary character of note is played by Thelma Todd, who, unfortunately, has a much weaker and smaller role than she did in MONKEY BUSINESS. Still, it's fun to see the ubiquitous scenes of different Marx brothers all trying to get the blonde (and in the end, of course, they all do). The rest of the characters are the collection of gangsters, idiots and straight-men that we come to expect (and then forget about) from the various Marx Brothers pictures. They have their part to play in the plot, which is really only an excuse for there to be an actual story for the brothers to subvert. The other people exist only so that they can have various Marxs running hilarious rings around them.The DVD itself looks about as good as you'd expect a film of that age to look like. There are some strange jumps in the film, as though someone along the line had cut out a remark or two. I understand that this is due to problems with the surviving print of the movie rather than any fault of the DVD itself, so it doesn't really seem fair to complain about it. The extras are few and far between; in fact, there aren't any extras at all. It's just a bare-bones release with nothing other than the film included. Of course, when you've got a film that's as much fun as HORSE FEATHERS is, who needs extras?"
The "Merits?" of a Higher Education
Steven L. Shoup | New York City | 10/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is pure, undiluted, un-Thalberg'd Marx Brothers - every bit as insane and convulsively funny as Duck Soup! Higher Education is the target here with the major salvo being the prostitution of education to the financial gain of a winning sports team (the fact that Harpo and Chico, let alone two gangster thugs, can play on a college football team no-questions-asked shows a brilliant mind for social satire). The film is packed with classic Marx routines: Groucho's singing and dancing "I'm Against It," The Speak-easy & "Swordfish," Harpo's dog-catching & catch-all drawer pockets (which seem bottomless); Thelma Todd as the College Widow and the parade of suitors in and out of her room (with more well timed slamming doors than a Feydeau farce) and the endless funny lines. Chico has never been in finer form with his fractured "Italian" and entertaining piano playing. As to Harpo's recital of "Everyone Says I Love you", a personal story: When I first saw this film in the 70s at Indiana University, the hall was packed with over 800 people. When Harpo finished playing "Everyone Says I Love You," 800 arose and gave a standing ovation to a musical number over forty years old and a clown who had been dead for a decade. The film was freeze-framed until the applause died down and that took nearly fifteen minutes! It was a moment of Everyone saying we love you, too. This film is a keeper!"