- A Night at the Opera review by JD
Harpo's dreadful acting used to bother me, the badly dubbed musical interludes still do, but Groucho's panache has got to warm the soul on the coldest day. It is incredibly corny but I smiled because it was.
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Too much opera.
- A Night at the Opera review by Steve
When the Marx Brothers signed with Irving Thalberg, he asked them if they would take a pay cut as Zeppo had quit. Groucho replied that without him they were worth twice as much. It's a shame that no one could bring similar insight to the musical numbers that stretch their MGM debut over 90 minutes and introduce longueurs to their maniacal, fast talking comedy.
The act was revised, toning down the anarchy, and making the trio more likeable by having them roast the bad guys, rather than just anyone. The difference is obvious, but there are still some long stretches of fabulous wordplay from Kaufman and Riskind, including the legendary Sanity Claus sketch.
There is also the famous crowded stateroom scene. Margaret Dumont adds a little continuity by leaving Paramount with the remaining trio to play Mrs Claypole. The vocals of Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones are, I guess, a matter of personal taste.
It's tempting to lean on the FF during the musical numbers. Harpo and Chico's recitals are actually harder to tolerate than the opera. They all slow the film down. Hard to be too critical as this was the biggest box office hit of their careers, but my personal preference is for the earlier, crazier Paramount films.
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