Robert S. Clay Jr. | St. Louis, MO., USA | 11/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much has been written of this movie's origin. Briefly stated, the Marx Brothers decided to make at least one more movie after their MGM career ended with "The Big Store." It was a fortunate decision, and the result is a fast-paced spoof of the classic "Casablanca." Regardless of advancing age, Groucho, Chico, and Harpo are delightful to watch. The inspired lunacy of their early Paramount films is gone, but Groucho's stinging one-liners and snappy asides still resonate with biting humor. Harpo's impish antics nicely capture this unique comic's "other-worldly" traits. Harpo's "collapsing building" gag is laugh-out-loud funny! Chico plays the usual amiable airhead who is as smart (or dumb) as he wants to be. Chico's attempts to interrupt Groucho's moveable tryst with the delectable Beatrice are hilarious and recall Groucho and Chico's classic exchanges (e.g., the "Sanity Clause" routine). Margaret Dumont is missing, but Lisette Verea plays Beatrice, a femme fatale in the Thelma Todd mode. Sig Ruman does well as a blustering Nazi spy. The climactic chase scene is amusingly frantic, even though chase scenes were done to death in classic comedies. Some of the Marx sparkle started to fade during their final years at MGM. This movie is a sincere effort to recapture the magic of their best work. There is a refreshing absence of overblown musical numbers. Chico plays the piano and Harpo plays the harp. That is part of the Marx legend, and hardly intrusive. Don't expect another "Night at the Opera" or "Horse Feathers," and you will be pleased. ;-)"
A Fond Farewell
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 06/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By 1946 the Marx Brothers considered themselves retired as a screen team--but brother Chico's on-going financial difficulties coaxed them back into the studio for a final film. The result is a film that will never compete with their sharp-edged comedies of the 1930s but which possesses considerable charm nonetheless.A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA finds Groucho employed as the manager of the Hotel Casablanca--where three previous managers have met sudden death at the hands of post-war Nazis in search of treasure hidden at the hotel during the war. Time, it seems, mellowed the brothers, and although they retain their sparkle they perform without the manic edge that characterized their earlier films; the result is a much friendlier, cozier style of comedy that feels as comfortable your bedroom slippers.All three brothers have ample opportunity to shine, and the film includes its share of memorable moments--perhaps most notable the diminishing dancefloor and the hilarious suitcase packing scene. It all has tremendous charm, and all the more welcome for following the several uninspired films the brothers made in the early 1940s. A fitting finish and fond farewell to one of Hollywood's greatest comedy acts; recommended."
The Marx Brothers' Farewell Film
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/29/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""A Night in Casablanca" (1946) is the best of the later Marx comedies and a fitting finale to their screen career. This postwar escapade features the Marxes in splendid form while recapturing the rough-edged spontaneity of their early Paramount comedies. Margaret Dumont's retirement is compensated by the return of comic villain Sig Rumann (as Heinrich Stubel), who was a terrific foil in "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races." It may seem odd to place Groucho, Harpo and Chico in a post-WWII setting, but the shenanigans inside the Hotel Casablanca are a refreshing throwback to their first film, "The Cocoanuts" (1929). In many ways, the Marxes have come full circle. The final image of the brothers chasing beautiful Lisette Verea through the streets of Casablanca ends the movie on an appropriately Marxian note, which wasn't the case in most of their MGM efforts."
Well Worth It
Scott T. Rivers | 09/10/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although it lacks the inspired insanity of the best Marx Brothers work of the 1930s, A Night in Casablanca compensates for the loss with a sense of relaxed charm which is unique among their films. This may arise from the fact that the brothers had considered themselves retired as a trio when they were approached to make the film, and agreed to do so only in order to help Chico Marx out of a financial difficulty; it is therefore hardly surprising that the film has an almost nostalgic tone, with the brothers skillfully playing out variations of previously well-established routines and formulas.In many ways, this is probably the most immediately accessible film for those who have not been previously exposed to the Marx Brothers' humor. A simple story, which generally parodies the Bogart "Casablanca," a lack of topical material, and good production values make the film extremely easy to watch, and the packing scene near the end of the film is as ridiculously funny as their more famous routines. While not in the same league with Duck Soup or A Day at the Races, it is well worth the effort."
The last great one from the Marx Brothers
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
After a couple of real duds in the early 1940s, the Marx Brothers scored again with this crazy lark about Nazis and hidden jewels in a hotel that Groucho manages. Previous hotelkeeps have been bumped off by Nazi thug Sig Ruman as he attempts to recover stolen jewels and art treasures hidden in the basement, but when Groucho takes the job and hires Chico and Harpo (who runs a camel taxi service) to help him out, Ruman doesn't know what he's in for. Not even vamp accomplice Lisette Verea can work her charms on the boys. Much of the humor sparkles and the picture is right up there with their classics from the '30s. Originally it was supposed to be a spoof of the Bogart-Bergman classic CASABLANCA, but that being small potatoes for the Marxes, they decided to take on the whole war-inspired, melodramatic romantic comedy genre instead. Their last great picture and lots of fun to watch."