A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood, 1935)

What was great:

– the famous scene where 8 billion people are all crowding into the cabin on the ship (above picture)
– the big climax, combining brilliant physical comedy, perfect timing, and impressive (aka expensive) production value
– the disappearing beds scene
– Chico’s piano playing and Harpo’s harp playing

all of the above were pretty much brilliant tour-de-forces of physical comedy, with Harpo taking most of the cake (crawling up the curtain, the rope scene, basically challenging the conductor to a duel right before the opera starts, etc.), and enormously entertaining. The rest? Well, I’ll defer to a much wiser person than myself, whose comments about Dr. Strangelove pretty much mirror my exact sentiments about “A Night at the Opera” outside of those scenes I just listed:

“Dr. Strangelove didn’t make me laugh once and i guess it was supposed to be a comedy…  ”

“I’ve seen the whole thing for Dr. Strangelove tho, Simon. OWNED! Didn’t laugh 1ONE1 freakin’ TIME.   ”


I mean seriously, Groucho Marx REALLY needs to shut the fuck up and stop trying to be funny with lame one-liner after lame one-liner  And the whole Kitty Carlisle subplot? *shudder*

This was my first Marx Brothers film, and a very uneven experience for me. Even when I knew that I liked the scenes like the crowded room and the disappearing beds and the mayhem at the opera while I was watching it, I was so bored with everything else that that boredom poured over and I desperately wanted it to end. Yet now that it’s over, my memories are fond overall, and I’m telling myself that I really liked this stuff, even though I didn’t. Odd. This score I’m giving is really, really hesitant, ‘cuz I have a feeling that when I see more Marx Brothers and get more of a feel for what they’re all about, my opinion of this one will change, either positively or negatively. Time and viewings will tell.

And if Chico and Harpo were really playing the piano and harp like that, much props to them for being so musically gifted. But if it was fake, fuck that shit SO much, and fuck Groucho Marx and his stupid puns that’re a step or two above Schwarzenegger’s in Batman and Robin (though at least Groucho, unlike Arnold, had good delivery and the gift of gab, even if the material didn’t hold up to that mile-a-minute delivery), and fuck everything else in this movie that’s not a physical comedy-driven set-piece.

7/10 (?)

1 comment so far

  1. -adriana on

    okay one yes harpo and chico really played that shit you dumb ass, all the marx brohters are trained musicians ! duh! know you shit before you talk shit. and have to say i loved this movie its a classic comedy the started and set the stage of other slapstick comedic flims, but of course people of this day dont know how to appriciate the classics and basicaly where things started.

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