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Filled with comedy sketches, musical numbers and plenty of gags, Animal Crackers is often regarded as the Marx Brothers’ most quoted film for its witty and unforgettable dialogue. Groucho stars as Captain Spaulding, a famed African explorer who is being honored at a high society party at the estate of Mrs. Rittenhouse (Margaret Dumont). Mayhem and chaos ensue after a valuable painting disappears and Spaulding, along with the Professor (Harpo), Signore Emanuel Ravelli (Chico) and Horatio (Zeppo) “help” search for it. Highlighted by musical performances including “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” (which would later become the theme song to Groucho’s popular TV series You Bet Your Life), this classic comedy earned a place on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list.
This second Marx Brothers classic has Groucho playing Captain Spaulding (an inside joke pertaining to a renowned Hollywood drug pusher), whose song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" became his signature anthem. Despite its staginess, it has some hilarious gags as the boys try to solve the mystery of a stolen painting among the high-society crowd. Some of the highlights include Groucho's African lecture about shooting an elephant in his pajamas, and a wacky card game between Harpo, Chico, and the always-gullible Margaret Dumont. The musical interludes here don't seem as awkward as in later films. It's really quite charming watching Chico and Harpo show off their graceful talents. --Bill Desowitz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1930 this may have been a welcome distraction from Depression Era hum-drum life. I tried to find the same amusement a lifetime later, and can't agree with the critics. Aside from a few clever (even risque) jokes, I was missing the rolling-on-the-floor-with-laughter effect. Animal Crackers left me only with luke-warm feelings, while I found the "other" Marx Brothers Classic, "Duck Soup" hilarious. I would rather see "Duck Soup" 5 more times than view "Animal Crackers" ever again. Not a total loss of 1 1/2 time, but don't expect any "mirror scenes", because this one has none!***
Anyway, I'll start off with what I didn't like about it, which really wasn't a lot. Mainly just the really bad sound quality, and terrible film editing. Also, the romantic sub-plot and song didn't really do much for me either. But fortunately, the Marx brothers can make up for anything.
This is the only one of their films that I've seen so far that included Zeppo, and I was kind of disappointed, since the only funny thing he said in the whole movie was "How do you spell 'semicolon'?" But the other boys were great. I didn't really care much for the part where Harpo was standing in his underwear shooting a cap gun at people, and I'm probably too young to understand all of Groucho's 'strange interludes', but other than that it was hilarious.
The things that got me laughing the hardest were the bridge game, looking for the 'flash', the expression on Chico's face when he realizes he doesn't remember the finish to his song, Harpo sneakily stealing the money from Roscoe W. Chandler, the whole 'left-handed moth' thing, the negotiation between Groucho & Chico about how much it costs for his band to play (or rather, not play), Chico telling Arabella that he couldn't take out the painting if it's not stealing...I could go on & on, would you like me to go on & on? Ok, I won't. But I'll leave you with the line that got me laughing the hardest, for some strange reason:
Groucho: (I'm paraphrasing here) "We need to find out the motive of the guys who swiped the painting."
Chico: "I got it - robbery!"
For those who have never seen a Marx Bros. movie, this is a good starting point. In "Animal Crackers" the Marx brothers follow their classic comedic formula which brought them to stardom: the wacky brothers mess with every person around them while they provoke chaos and misunderstandings. Groucho as always, shoots funny and clever sentences so fast that his mouth looks like a machinegun, Harpo without saying a single word provokes rage among men, and fear among women, Chico delivers doses of anarchy and Zeppo tries in vain to calm down his insane brothers.
"Animal Crackers" is a good comedy, and without a doubt the fans of the Marx Brothers will enjoy this movie even more. If you haven't seen a Marx brothers movie, this is a good choice, but the best choice would be "Duck Soup".
Allthough this is Groucho's movie, all the brothers manage to get in their share of the funny. Some highlights include Chico and Groucho's discusion about who stole the painting (by the end of which Chico concludes the painting must have been "eaten by left handed moths"); Chico trying to get Harpo to find a "flash" (flashlight) and Harpo pulls everything from flutes, to fasks, to fish (!) out of his pockets before finding the flash; the card game with Chico, Harpo, and Mrs. Rittenhouse during which the brothers cut for partners and both pick up and Ace of spades (when Mrs. Rittenhouse questions, "Two Aces of spades?", Chico replies, "Sure, hesa got hudreds of 'em"); Chico's Piano solo during which he just can't think of the the finish and Groucho can think of nothing but; Groucho's "strange interlude" and bigamy dialoge; and last but not least Harpo's famous knife dropping gag.
I would recomend this movie to anyone who likes to laugh!
Most recent customer reviews
Captain Spaulding`s on the case as he searches for a stolen painting! With non-stop humor,gags,and talk of marraige, this equils up to be one of the looneyest movies EVER!Published on Dec 30 2003
ANIMAL CRACKERS has moments that are hysterically funny. If you love movies;comedy;or enjoy relishing talent of one of the world's greatest wise-ass wits, this is THE work of... Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2003 by Arthur F. McVarish
"Did someone call me Schnorer?" "Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!"
This great follow-up to "The Cocoanuts" which was filmed, too, in New York, tells of... Read more
With Coconuts and Horse Feathers next, this one I'm giving the top spot (Hey, Duck Soup is great too, but it just isn't as true to me). Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2002 by EugeSchu
If you need to find a Marx brothers' film to give you a taste of what they're like, Animal Crackers is a fine place to start. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2001 by Kent
I really do enjoy this video, it is simply one of their best. The picture quality does suffer at points, being that it was filmed in 1930, and I can't comprehend what the 'chorus'... Read morePublished on Dec 7 2001 by Brandon S.
In 1929, a new kind of movie comedy burst into view when THE COCOANUTS gave movie audiences their first dose the Marx Brothers' hilarious anarchy; the cinema had introduced the... Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2001
In 1930, one year after their successful debut film, "The Cocoanuts", the Marx Bros. gave us "Animal Crackers; their second film, and one of their best and... Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2001 by T. W. Fuller