Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Night in Casablanca (1946)

This was an experiment. Would the humor of the Marx Brothers translate for a 14 year old boy? Would the Brothers be as funny as I remember?

A young soldier is convinced Nazi treasure (the best kind) is hidden someplace in a Casablanca hotel, and he is determined to find it. Unfortunately, so are some former Nazis. The hotel manager is murdered by the Nazi in an attempt to take over the hotel, and gaining full access to search. Unfortunately for him, a Mister Ronald Kornblow (Groucho Marx) is brought in. His brothers (the funny ones, anyhow) tag along.

Antics ensue. Kornblow tries to woo hot Nazi chick (the best kind), soldier is arrested as a suspected Nazi, Nazi tries to knock off Kornblow, and a fun time is had by all.

Like with Mae West, it's hard to appreciate the originality of humor after it's been duplicated a million times over. Even with that perspective, I couldn't find many of the sight gags funny. What chance did my son? But slowly, over time, he started to appreciate what Groucho was doing. The biting remarks, and comedic put downs:
"Sir, this lady is my wife. You should be ashamed of yourself."
"If this lady is your wife, you should be ashamed of yourself."

His amusing flirtations:
"My name's Beatrice Rheiner. I stop at the hotel."
"My name's Ronald Kornblow. I stop at nothing."

"You know, I think you are the most beautiful woman in the whole world."
"Do you really?"
"No, but I don't mind lying if it'll get me somewhere."

"After all, I'm a man and you're a woman ... and I can't think of a better arrangement."

"Oh, come on now. You wouldn't say no to a lady."
"I don't know, why not? They always say no to me."

In the end, my son was won over. I'm sure it's not the best Marx Brothers film, but it was fun. Groucho referred to it as the last Marx Bros film, but it wasn't. Love Happy (1949) with Marilyn Monroe was, but he hated that movie. AMRU 3.5. I'm putting The Cocoanuts onto my Netflix queue.

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