The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) (5DVD) [Import]
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This set includes seven of only thirteen Marx Brothers films ever made! Includes: - "A Night at the Opera" (1935) - The Marx Brothers turn Mrs. Claypool's opera into chaos in their efforts to help two young hopefuls get a break. It contains the famous scene where Groucho, Chico and Harpo cram a ship's stateroom with wall-to-wall people, gags, one-liners, musical riffs and two hard-boiled eggs. - "A Day at the Races" (1937) - Groucho stars as Hugo Z. Hackenbush, a horse veterinarian dispensing horse pills and quips with equal glee. Chico selling racing tips, Harpo destroying a piano to turn it into a harp and favorite foil actress Margaret Dumont make this thoroughbred comedy wall-to-wall hilarity. - "A Night in Casablanca" (1946) - This parody of the Bogart/Bergman 1943 classic features the Nazis vs. the "nutsies" as the Marx Brothers foil Axis criminals when they find stolen jewels and paintings Nazis have hidden in a hotel. - "Room Service"/"At the Circus" - These two films are combined on one disc to provide double doses of laughter. "Room Service" (1938): Lucille Ball and Ann Miller provide comic co-star support while the Marx Brothers play producers trying to keep their show above water and a hotel room over their head. "At the Circus" (1939): Groucho stars as professional shyster lawyer J. Cheever Loophole as the boys try to save the circus and look to Margaret Dumont for the money to do so. Groucho sings one of his famous songs, "Lydia the Tattooed Lady." - "Go West"/"The Big Store" - Another Marx Brothers twin bill makes this a hilarious comedy "two-fer." In the first, the Marxmen "Go West" (1940) to the land of outlaws and Indians where the fun never stops and where they outwit a land grabber. In "The Big Store" (1941), Groucho plays Attorney Wolf J. Flywheel who with sidekick Wacky (Harpo) and bodyguard Ravelli (Chico) are investigating the shady dealings of a crooked department store owner. Bonus extras include commentary by Leonard Maltin.
When it comes to long-awaited treats like The Marx Brothers Collection, you can never get too much of a good thing. These seven comedies can't compare to the sheer lunacy of the five classics (The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, and Duck Soup) that the Marx Bros. made for Paramount between 1929 and 1933 (available in The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection), but when uber-producer Irving Thalberg signed Groucho, Harpo, and Chico to an MGM contract in 1935 (by which time sibling costar Zeppo had become the team's off-screen manager), he knew just how to cure their box-office blues. As a result, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races were critical and commercial hits, lavishly produced according to the "Tiffany" studio's golden-age formula of glamorous set pieces and musical numbers combined with sensible plots that smoothly integrated snappy, well-written Marxian antics. Opera is the jewel of this set, with timeless scenes (the Stateroom, the Groucho-Chico contract negotiation, etc.) that rank among the greatest bits of silver-screen comedy... not to mention Groucho's flirtatious insults at Margaret Dumont's upper-crust expense.
A Day at the Races deserves near-equal acclaim ("Get-a your tootsie-fruitsie ice cream!"), but Thalberg's death in 1937 dealt a devastating blow, and the Marxes suffered from studio indifference, resulting in a succession of comedies that are timelessly enjoyable even as they fall prey to diminishing returns. By the time they made Go West and The Big Store, the Marxes were out of their element, and a few of the musical interludes indulge racial stereotypes that were common in the studio era. Despite this, these movies remain fresh and frantic, and Warner Bros. (holder of the RKO and MGM libraries) has done a marvelous job of packaging The Marx Brothers Collection to nostalgically approximate the filmgoing experience of the 1930s and '40s, with vintage shorts (Our Gang, Robert Benchley comedies, MGM cartoons, etc.) from the time of each feature's original release. Archival materials are slim but worthwhile (especially Groucho's 1961 interview with TV talk-show host Hy Gardner), and while Glenn Mitchell's commentary on Races is sparse and superficial, Leonard Maltin brings his usual superfan's enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge to bear on a full-length Opera commentary track. The new documentaries are somewhat redundant, but essential viewing for Marx Bros. neophytes. With all seven films presented in pristine condition, this is definitely a Marx Brothers Collection worth having. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are looking for more content information, don't bother with Koch Vision Entertainment's site. They are clearly not enthuastic about revealing more details about this release.
The discs are:
#1 "Inside the Marx Brothers" (this is sold separately, as well)
#2 "You Bet Your Life" TV Pilot
#3 "Papa Romani" and "Person-to-Person"
#4 "The Marx Brothers Radio Days" (is this just an audio CD?)
#5 "Marx Brothers Mixed Nuts"
For the price, perhaps it's not all that bad, but there still isn't a good set of their films out there yet.
The amazon.co.uk set DOES contain complete films (four of them, I believe), but the item seems to be no longer in active inventory. Be aware that it supposedly is lacking any meaningful DVD extras.
DVD 1 is "Inside The Marx Brothers" a documentary on them. DVD 2 is "You Bet Your Life the TV Pilot which is not very good viewing quality. The real rarities are the next three: DVD 3 is "Papa Romani" a TV episode or pilot staring Chico, essentially it's an early sitcom and Edward R. Murrow doing his famous TV studio to the star's home interviews with Groucho and then Harpo. DVD 4 is "The Marx Brother: Radio Days" with numerous radio segments some or all of them did. Try and find that material anywhere else. Finally, DVD 5 is "Marx Brothers Mixed Nuts" which is film trailers and newsreels (that's what they had in those days) and other studio film related segments with some or all of the brothers.Read more ›
Commentary by Leonard Maltin
All-New Documentary "Remarks On Marx"
The Hy Gardner Show (1/1/61) excerpt featuring Groucho Marx
Three Vintage MGM Shorts:
Fitzpatrick Traveltalk's Los Angeles: Wonder City Of The World
Sunday Night At The Trocadero
Robert Benchley's Academy Award -Winning How To Sleep
Disc 2: "A Day at the Races"
Commentary by The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia Author Glenn Mitchell
All-New Documentary "On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!"
Four Vintage Shorts: Robert Benchley's Oscar Nominated A Night At The Movies plus the rarely-seen MGM Cartoons Gallopin' Gals, Mama's New Hat and Old Smokey
Audio-Only Treasures: Musical Outtake A Message From The Man In The Moon (performed by Allan Jones) and an MGM Radio Promo Leo Is On The Air
Disc 3: "Room Service" and "At the Circus" (double feature)
Vintage Our Gang Comedy Short Party Fever plus Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in the Looney Tunes Classic The Daffy Doc
Vintage Our Gang Comedy Short Dog Daze and Classic MGM Cartoon Jitterbug Follies
Disc 4: "Go West" and "The Big Store" (double feature)
Vintage Shorts, Pete Smith Specialty Quicker 'N A Wink and Fitzpatrick Traveltalk Cavalcade Of San Francisco
Vintage Cartoon, The Milky Way
Leo Is On The Air Radio Promo
Vintage MGM Short Flicker Memories and Vintage MGM Cartoon Officer Pooch
Audio Musical Outtake: Where There's Music
Disc 5: "A Night in Casablanca"
Bugs Bunny in the Looney Tunes cartoon classic Acrobatty Bunny
Vintage Joe McDoakes Short So You Think You're A Nervous Wreck
A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, and A Night in Casablanca are also available separately.
Most recent customer reviews
after watching duck soup of marx brothers I became intrested to watch all their movies , its very comedy I loved itPublished on Nov. 7 2013 by ansarali kassam
After a career in Vaudeville and a film tenure at Paramount Pictures, MGM signed Groucho, Chico and Harpo to a studio contract under the inspired tutelage of Irving Thalberg. Read morePublished on March 5 2005 by Nix Pix
Warner Brothers' "The Marx Brothers' Comedy Collection" includes seven films from later in the brothers' career: A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Room Service,... Read morePublished on Dec 27 2004 by J. Pinkerton Snoopington
Why a Duck? Why not! The Marx Brothers were such a timeless delight and it's such a thrill to have these marvellous movies all in one bundle. Read morePublished on July 20 2004 by Deborah MacGillivray
Realy a great value !
The technical quality of the DVD is good, the scene selection is sentively done, the bonuses are interesting and the set is unexpensive ! Read more
Let's be perfectly honest. The films in this collection are not exactly the highest regarded films of the Marx Brothers' illustrious career. Read morePublished on June 24 2004 by Andrew McCaffrey
Day at the Races is my favorite from this set, but they're all enjoyable in their own way. What makes it worth shelling out $40 for the box set is all the extras: cartoons, shorts,... Read morePublished on June 13 2004 by Bryan Barrow
This is an outstanding set with 7 superb Marx Bros. classics, beautifully packaged by Warner Brothers in a gorgeous box. These films represent the Marx Bros. at their best. Read morePublished on June 9 2004
A Night At the Opera is the only classic here. The three M G M films are horrible and the other two are OK. Read morePublished on June 6 2004 by A. Grossman
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