15 April 2006

Marx (1932)

1932 - Horse Feathers - Moves along at an enjoyably snappy pace. This Marx Bros. film doesn't mess around. At the start, we dive directly into a scene with Groucho which evolves into a musical number sung by him. I love that in this musical, all of the songs are performed by the Bros. There's no troupe of dancing girls and the only sappy love is sung by each of the Bros. in a progressively funny manner. It was a little annoying that the accompanying off-screen orchestra tended to drown out Chico and Harpo's piano and harps song, however.

Little time is spent with the actual plot. A mere nine hours later, I can't remember the reason the villains wanted to win the football game so badly. I'd assume it was because they were gambling on it, but I have no idea why the widow -- who has a servant and a nice pad -- would need the cash. All of that doesn't matter in the least, as it was just a structure to support the Bros.' college antics.

Disappointingly, Harpo doesn't get anyone to hold his leg this time. Though, he very subtly changes his "Dog Catcher" hat into one that reads "Kidnapper" when he and Chico attempt to kidnap the ringers. Speaking of ringers, Robert Altman and comedy, I wonder if M*A*S*H is the direct grandchild of Horse Feathers? (8/10)

d. Norman Z. McLeod