21 June 2006

Marx (1946)

1946 - A Night in Casablanca - After a five year absence, the Bros. are back. The film begins very dark, with a Hitchcockian murder in an exotic locale. Then, out of the blue, Harpo appears. "Say, what do you think you're doing? Holding up the building?" He was, and a giant building collapses when the policeman hauls him away. That's what the entire film is like. The darkness of a Nazi war criminal trying to escape to South America with stolen wealth is defeated by the light-hearted antics of the Bros.

This picture contains the best, by far, game of charades between Chico and Harpo of any of their films. Harpo shines also during his "duel" with the Nazi stooge, his blowing bubbles of water and smoke at Beatrice, and his excellent harp tune dedicated to a painting of a beautiful woman. Plus, he finally has someone hold his leg again, after many films. Hallelujah!

The action hero ending to the film, where the Bros. chase and board and airplane using a truck, seems a bit out of place in their pantheon of movies. Despite their slightly advancing age at this point, I bought it. They kept the action light, bonking Nazis on the head and crashing the plane back in the jail they just escaped from.

A huge improvement over the previous few MGM films and a nice slice of fun to boot. (8/10)

d. Archie Mayo