Thursday, September 17, 2015

Animal Crackers (1930)

A rich socialite (Margaret Dumont) hosts a party for a famous explorer (Graucho). Marx Brothers antics ensue.

This is my fifth Marx Brothers film and they are little more than variations on the same theme. So, I was surprised somewhat that I could be somewhat surprised by this one. Every now and again would be a scene that was more than a bit strange. In one where Graucho is trying to convince Dumont and another woman to both marry him, he stops, says "Pardon me while I have a strange interlude", then steps forward into an intense and dryly comedic monologue while the women appear not to notice. Quite strange.

In another scene between Graucho's Captain Spaulding and Roscoe Chandler, an art expert, Chandler's Louis Sorin flubs his line. Graucho runs with it creating an almost uncomfortable but amazing moment. All done in long takes.

The Brother's second film is very uneven. Some gags were hilarious while some were tedious. Some songs were tolerable, while others weren't. Cut most of the insipid songs, a couple of the bits, and you'll have a first rate two-reeler. As is, simply on the power of a couple great bits, AMRU 3.5.
"I'm sick of these conventional marriages. One woman and one man was good enough for your grandmother, but who wants to marry your grandmother? Nobody, not even your grandfather."

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