17 June 2006

Marx (1941)

1941 - The Big Store - As always, it's nice to have Margaret Dumont back. Even with her impeccable straight woman routine, this film was merely a serviceable Marx Bros. picture. Maybe I wasn't in the proper frame of mind, but it seemed like the Bros. weren't quite as funny this time out as they normally are.

The musical numbers are so lengthy and large in this film, I'd probably categorize it more as a musical and less as a comedy. Even Groucho's song is huge, with dozens of dancing backup singers and giant, moving sets. I did greatly enjoy Harpo's trio with two copies of himself. Not surprisingly, the man can play a decent fiddle. By the way, what was wrong with the lady who sang "Rock-a-Bye Baby"? She sang a jazzy version of this lullaby with an incredibly bizarre stone face. Was that a "hip" style of singing in 1941?

Why did the bad guy bonk Tommy on the head in a packed elevator? He was supposed to be trying to kill him. Not only did he not even hit him hard enough to knock him out, he tries to do it in a place with no room to maneuver. More than a few plot points didn't quite make sense, despite the story being nearly identical to the last half-dozen films.

My favorite line: "What other hobbies have you got?" said by Groucho when a couple walks in with their twelve kids. You've got love how he always managed to get around the Code when necessary. (6/10)

d. Charles Reisner