04 April 2006

Marx (1930)

1930 - Animal Crackers - The second and final film based on one of the Bros.'s vaudeville acts is not as successful as the first. This film feels much more stage-y than The Cocoanuts. It mostly takes place in a couple of big sets, Groucho has lengthy asides with a live audience that isn't there and scenes tend to be constructed using long takes with unmoving cameras. This theatrical heritage does give us an interesting moment in which Chandler flubs a line at the end of a lengthy take and Groucho deftly recovers to turn it into a gag.

Harpo and Chico's musical numbers aren't quite as great as they were in the previous film. Groucho's cracks didn't tickle my funny bone quite as much. Some of the humor in this film was a bit dated; I felt I missed more of it than in The Cocoanuts. Zeppo, again, is fairly useless, though he does get more lines this time around and actually got me to crack a smile during the note-taking bit with Groucho. Still, Harpo getting people to hold his leg will never fail to get me to laugh out loud. (6/10)

d. Victor Heerman