This set includes seven of only thirteen Marx Brothers films ever made! Collection includes: "A Night at the Opera" (1935) - The Marx Brothers turn Mrs. Claypool's opera into chaos in their efforts to help two young hopefu... more »ls get a break. It contains the famous scene where Groucho, Chico and Harpo cram a ship's stateroom with wall-to-wall people, gags, one-liners, musical riffs and two hard-boiled eggs. "A Day at the Races" (1937) - Groucho stars as Hugo Z. Hackenbush, a horse veterinarian dispensing horse pills and quips with equal glee. Chico selling racing tips, Harpo destroying a piano to turn it into a harp and favorite foil actress Margaret Dumont make this thoroughbred comedy wall-to-wall hilarity. "A Night in Casablanca" (1946) - This parody of the Bogart/Bergman 1943 classic features the Nazis vs. the "nutsies" as the Marx Brothers foil Axis criminals when they find stolen jewels and paintings Nazis have hidden in a hotel. "Room Service"/"At the Circus" - These two films are combined on one disc to provide double doses of laughter. In "Room Service" (1938), Lucille Ball and Ann Miller provide comic co-star support while the Marx Brothers play producers trying to keep their show above water and a hotel room over their head. In "At the Circus" (1939) Groucho stars as professional shyster lawyer J. Cheever Loophole in the middle of big-top bedlam as the boys try to save the circus and look to Margaret Dumont for the money to do so. Groucho sings one of his famous songs, "Lydia the Tattooed Lady." "Go West"/"The Big Store" - Another Marx Brothers twin bill makes this a hilarious comedy "two-fer." In the first, the Marxmen "Go West" (1940) to the land of outlaws and Indians where the fun never stops and where they outwit a land grabber. In "The Big Store" (1941), Groucho plays Attorney Wolf J. Flywheel who with sidekick Wacky (Harpo) and bodyguard Ravelli (Chico) are investigating the shady dealings of a crooked department store owner. Bonus extras include commentary by Leonard Maltin.« less
"Fans of the Marx Brothers movies have had to wait a long time to finally see their heroes done justice on the DVD format. Image Entertainment released a now out-of-print box set a few years ago with simply awful transfers and no extras. Hopes were raised when Warner Brothers announced that they would be releasing their own box set this year. The good news is that the Warners discs feature excellent transfers of every movie with a solid collection of supplemental material. The bad news is that many of the Marx Brothers most famous and beloved early films, like The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers are not included set. So what exactly does one get with this new box set?The first film in the set is A Night at the Opera, arguably one of the Marx Brothers best films of their career. It was the first film after they were pushed out of Paramount Studios because of the commercial and critical failure of Duck Soup.Opera was a huge hit and put the Marx Brothers back on the map. They wisely followed it up with another Thalberg collaboration, A Day at the Races.Sadly, Thalberg died suddenly before the movie was completed and the Marx Brothers films would never achieve the same greatness. No longer under the producer's protective presence, the Marx Bros. were effectively at the studio's mercy. They put them out to pasture metaphorically speaking. This may explain why the Marx Bros. made Room Service for RKO instead of MGM in 1938.At the Circus marked the Marx Brothers' return to MGM and is not one of their greatest moments but isn't awful either.Go West begins with a very funny scene in which Chico and Harpo milk Groucho out of most of his money. However, all three eventually appear in the Old West without any logical explanation on how they got there.Touted as their "first farewell film," The Big Store is a bit of a lackluster affair but does have its moments.Upon completion of The Big Store, Harpo planned to retire, Groucho was going to focus on his radio career and Chico was going to form a big band. However, after World War II they reformed to make two more films, one of which rounds out the box set--A Night at Casablanca.As one would expect, the bulk of substantial extras are on the discs for the Marx Brothers' most popular films, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races. Each DVD features several short films, some animated, some not and a theatrical trailer for each movie. Here are some of the highlights.The A Night at the Opera DVD features an audio commentary by film historian, Leonard Maltin. He lays it down right from the start that his track will not be a dry, academic analysis of the Marx Brothers' comedy. He delivers an enthusiastic commentary that is also informative."Remarks on Marx" is a 33-minute look at the Marx Brothers' legacy. It not only explains where they got their nicknames but also examines their anarchic brand of comedy.A Day at the Races features an audio commentary by Glenn Mitchell, author of The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia. This is a vastly informative track as Mitchell talks at length about the backgrounds of actors Allan Jones and Margaret O'Sullivan."On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!" is a look at the film and briefly explores the volatile relationship between the Marx Brothers and the film's director, Sam Wood.The extras on the Room Service disc are pretty slim.Aside from a vintage radio promo for Go West, there is little of relevance to the movie itself in the supplemental section. Fans of the Marx Brothers are in for a real treat with this box set that covers the last eleven years of their careers. The transfers for each film are fantastic and a definite improvement over the Image box set. While the extras tend to get slimmer and less relevant in their later films, the ones for A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races are excellent. The audio commentaries, especially, are a must-listen for any Marx Bros. fan. One hopes that their early output of films will receive the same excellent treatment."
1 Box Set, 5 disc, and 7 Marx Brothers films
R.D. Monsoon | 02/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Disc 1: "A Night at the Opera"
Commentary by Leonard Maltin
All-New Documentary "Remarks On Marx"
The Hy Gardner Show (1/1/61) excerpt featuring Groucho Marx
Three Vintage MGM Shorts:
Fitzpatrick Traveltalk's Los Angeles: Wonder City Of The World
Sunday Night At The Trocadero
Robert Benchley's Academy Award -Winning How To Sleep
Theatrical TrailerDisc 2: "A Day at the Races"
Commentary by The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia Author Glenn Mitchell
All-New Documentary "On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!"
Four Vintage Shorts: Robert Benchley's Oscar Nominated A Night At The Movies plus the rarely-seen MGM Cartoons Gallopin' Gals, Mama's New Hat and Old Smokey
Audio-Only Treasures: Musical Outtake A Message From The Man In The Moon (performed by Allan Jones) and an MGM Radio Promo Leo Is On The Air
Theatrical TrailerDisc 3: "Room Service" and "At the Circus" (double feature)
Vintage Our Gang Comedy Short Party Fever plus Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in the Looney Tunes Classic The Daffy Doc
Vintage Our Gang Comedy Short Dog Daze and Classic MGM Cartoon Jitterbug FolliesDisc 4: "Go West" and "The Big Store" (double feature)
Vintage Shorts, Pete Smith Specialty Quicker 'N A Wink and Fitzpatrick Traveltalk Cavalcade Of San Francisco
Vintage Cartoon, The Milky Way
Leo Is On The Air Radio Promo
Vintage MGM Short Flicker Memories and Vintage MGM Cartoon Officer Pooch
Audio Musical Outtake: Where There's MusicDisc 5: "A Night in Casablanca"
Bugs Bunny in the Looney Tunes cartoon classic Acrobatty Bunny
Vintage Joe McDoakes Short So You Think You're A Nervous WreckA Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, and A Night in Casablanca are also available separately."
"There ain't no Sanity Clause!"
devotedmarxist | New Hampshire | 06/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, my sanity for one, is finally back to normal (if such a thing is possible with the Marx Brothers) with the release of this Warner Bros. set. I was knocked out at how great the transfers looked on DVD. I thought the audio was GREATLY improved as well, (Harpo's playing is even MORE beautiful-didn't think that could be possible) but yet the original charm of the movies is there as well, not an easy task to achieve. I didn't mind the extras. It made me feel like I was back in the 30's and 40's, in a movie theater seeing it all for the first time. My faves in this collection: "Opera","Races","Casablanca", and "Circus". But, one of my favorite scenes is when Chico and Harpo have a piano duet in "The Big Store". Take a close look at those two. If you can't see how much those two brothers loved each other, then you need spectacles! Of course, then they try to outdo each other, as all siblings do.......... that scene is so funny, never fails to get a laugh out of me.
There are so many moments, such as "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" in "Races". Can't even begin to discuss them all. Out of this set, if you are new to the Marxes, start with "A Night at the Opera", to get a feel for them. And yes, I also wish the first 5 Paramount films would be re-released on DVD PROPERLY this time around, but of course, we're talking about two totally different film companies. But as a purist, I think it's about time to see those films done properly. Universal should take a LONG look at how Warners' did this set. We Marxists deserve better (are you listening Universal?) OK. Rant over. Buy this set. You won't be disappointed. These are truly comic gems from an era when movie makers didn't think that you needed to use a string of four-letter words and bathroom humor, to be hilarious. I'd take ONE of Groucho's stinging one-liners ANYDAY over the garbage that people try to pass off as humor nowadays. These movies hold their own after 70 years. There's a reason for that.....it's because the Marxes were truly comic geniuses, ahead (way ahead) of their time, and that NEVER goes out of style. "And make that three hard-boiled eggs!""
A Day and a Night at the movies
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 06/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's be perfectly honest. The films in this collection are not exactly the highest regarded films of the Marx Brothers' illustrious career. Oh sure, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and A DAY AT THE RACES are almost universally praised, but the rest fail to completely satisfy the masses. I had some doubts when I initially thought about pre-ordering this set. Since some of the discs were being released individually, I wondered if it would make more sense to just purchase NIGHT and DAY, forgetting about the rest. In the end, I decided to take the plunge and buy the whole thing.Thankfully, I found a lot here to like. While overall this is a far inferior set of films to their previous work at Paramount, it isn't without some merit. There's a lot of funny stuff here, and only one film that I would classify as an out and out failure (the awful ROOM SERVICE featuring the criminally underused Lucille Ball). NIGHT and DAY are rightfully regarded as classics (12th and 59th respectively on the American Film Institute's list of the hundred funniest films), and the rest of the films are at least amusing and entertaining.The three constants in this collection are, of course, the Brothers themselves. Groucho with his quick one-liners, Chico with his sly crafty schemes, and Harpo with his utterly bonkers and hilarious silent persona. These films are at their finest when the Brothers are on screen and at their nadir when vainly trying to develop the supporting romantic subplots.One sad thing I noticed while watching the film was not just seeing the Brothers age, but noticing how progressively cheaper the movies themselves looked as the years progressed. The earliest films in this collection, NIGHT and DAY, were produced under the careful eye of Irving Thalberg who had the entire resources of MGM at his disposal. Big musical numbers, high production values, sharp scripts, and lots of rehearsal time were the order of the day. But after his sudden death (while only in his late 30s) during the production of A DAY AT THE RACES, the Brothers found themselves bounced around different producers and managed by studios suits who just didn't know what to do with the talent that they had. The result is significantly less care given to each subsequent picture. The huge opera house set seen in NIGHT is wonderful and the cheap sets in, say, GO WEST just look woeful in comparison.This set comes with a multitude of DVD extras, many of which have nothing to do with the Marx Brothers. Someone thought it would be a good idea to place some contemporaneous cartoons and short films on the DVDs, with the idea (one assumes) of giving the viewer the ability to recreate a night out at the movies in the 1930s in the comfort of their own home. All this taught me was that if I were a cinemagoer in the 1930s, I'd stay in the lobby through the cartoons and shorts until the main feature began. To be fair, though, I should mention that I did enjoy one or two of them; Robert Benchley's HOW TO SLEEP won an Oscar, deservedly so. There are also some trailers included, which are welcome. In the spot for THE BIG STORE, they address the camera in character and announce this as their first farewell picture, and as one can see from a quick perusal of the black print on the box, it would not be their last.For Marx Brothers fans, there are two DVD commentary tracks: Leonard Maltin for DAY, Glenn Mitchell for NIGHT. Maltin's comments are informative and fun; I was amused by his shouting at one of the movie's bad guys. Mitchell is a little more reserved, and unfortunately allows a lot of dead air. According to the box, he is a "Marx Brothers Authority", which leads one to wonder if there exists an academy somewhere, churning out these experts. "Respect mah Marx Brothers Authority!" he never shouts, alas. There are also two mini-documentaries featuring interviews. The two female romantic leads from NIGHT and DAY are, in fact, still alive and remarkably coherent; while it's nice to hear from contemporary "comedians" about what a great influence the Brothers were and are, it's more satisfying to hear from the co-stars themselves about how the Brothers were to work with.One word of caution, however. Since Zeppo had left the act after DUCK SOUP, he doesn't appear in this set. Some of his replacements (and their songs and love-interests) are truly painful. Consider yourself warned.This collection should truthfully be called a mixed bag, yet I enjoyed the films so much that I can't help but recommend this. The worst film here at least has some good jokes sprinkled in it, and the best films are priceless. Yes, taken as a whole, the Marx Brothers' MGM years were poorer than their Paramount years, but so are most other films by any great comedians. Take these movies on their own merits and hopefully you don't be disappointed. I wasn't."
Exceptional boxed set for The Marx Brothers
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 11/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although it lacks their best Paramount releases (in a perfect world they would be included here with as much love and care put into them as these films), "The Marx Brothers Collection" contains two absolute classics in "A Night at The Opera" and "A Day at The Races". First, the transfers look marvelous with an exceptional amount of care devoted to making sure that they look as good as possible. The extras for both include a couple of exceptional short documentaries on The Marx Brothers going back all the way to when they got their nicknames from another vaudeville comedian. "A Night at The Opera" features their justifiably famous scenes in the State Room. It reestablished the Marx's as box office. Although I would argue with Leonard Maltin about the status of the film ("Duck Soup" is, to my mind, still their best film), there's no doubt that "Opera" is top flight Marx. Their career prior to "A Night at The Opera" is nicely summerized on that disc in "Remarks on Marx" including a discussion of "Duck Soup" and cold shoulder that it received from the public effectively almost ending their career. There's also a excerpt from "The Hy Gardner Show" where Groucho discusses his just released audobiography and some of the infamous stories about their time at MGM. The original theatrical trailer is included as well.
"A Day at The Races" upholds the quality and standards of their first MGM film ably. "On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!" focuses on the making of this film, Thalberg's death and how it impacted their career at MGM and the hot/cold relationship they had with director Sam Wood. We also get the original theatrical trailer and an audio outtake of Allan Jones singing as well as MGM radio promos. While Glenn Mitchell's commentary isn't as effusive as Maltin's, it's solid if a tad superficial.
The rest of their films varied in quality. We get the a set of double features --"Room Service" paired with "At the Circus" and "Go West" paired with "The Big Store" and their "Casablanca" parody "A Night in Casablanca" on the remaining discs. While none of these have commentaries each comes with vintage shorts including a pair of Robert Benchley classics "How To Sleep" & "A Night At The Movies". There's also a handful of MGM cartoon classics as well as two Looney Tunes classics not currently available anywhere else ("The Daffy Doc" and "Acrobatty Bunny"). A pair of fair "Our Gang" shorts and other shorts from the time round out the extras on these other films. All feature exceptionally good transfers and are packaged in their own cases. The double features are dual sided single layer DVDs while "Opera", "Races" and "Casablanca" are all single sided dual layer/single layer DVDs. I mention this only because you have to be a bit more careful handling the dual sided discs.
Five stars for the first two films, five stars for the packaging and transfers four stars for "Room Service"/"At the Circus" and "A Night in Casablanca" and three to two stars for "Go West" and "The Big Store". Overall, Warner has done a spectacular job putting this set together. It's a pity that the same team that worked on this couldn't have put together "The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection". While the design and graphics for that set are exceptionally good, the films receive short shift with transfers from verge from exceptionally good to so-so while lacking anything in the way of extras (except for some theatrical trailers). Clearly more thought and care went into the Warner set."