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Day at the Races [Import]

Groucho Marx , Chico Marx , Sam Wood    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Day at the Races [Import] + Marx Brothers: A Night at the Opera + Duck Soup
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Product Details

Product Description


This is the Marx Brothers at their commercial and popular peak, working with a top Hollywood director (Sam Wood of The Pride of the Yankees), supported with a healthy screen budget paying for such extras as a blue-tinted ballet sequence, love songs from crooner Allan Jones, and decorative sets. But the brothers are also at the top of their game in terms of their own comic material and timing. The story finds Groucho, Chico, and Harpo helping out at a sanatorium, where their longtime foil in the movies, Margaret Dumont, is the leading patient. The film has some of the trio's funniest and most memorable bits and a dazzling horserace at the climax. Not quite as good as its predecessor, A Night at the Opera, this is still a highlight in the Marxian filmography. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Classic Marx Brothers

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
A DAY AT THE RACES is the second of the Marx/Wood/Thalberg collaborations (Marx Brothers, director Sam Wood and producer Irving Thalberg) movies made at MGM, the first the delightful A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Irving Thalberg (called "the boy genius" about a hundred times in the DVD extras) died partway through production, bringing this successful combination to an unhappy end. Critical opinion will have you believe that NIGHT is the stronger of the two, but I've always preferred DAY. I'm absolutely tickled to have it now on a fantastic DVD.
First, I think the jokes are just a little sharper and sillier here than in NIGHT (not that they were poor there by any means). Also, the romantic subplot was handled a little better here. It helps, I think, that Allan "Imitation Zeppo" Jones has better chemistry with Maureen O'Sullivan than he did with Kitty Carlisle. The stricter structure that Thalberg imposed on the films is improved. I have an entertaining time cheering on the Brothers' attempting to win a horserace to save a young heroine's sanitarium.
But, of course, the real fun from a Marx Brothers film comes from the one-liners and comedic set pieces that abound, and the gags here rival their best material. As you'll hear loads of times if you peruse the DVD extras, Irving Thalberg encouraged the Brothers to take their material on the road for testing in front of an audience before filming it. Hence, the timing, the punch lines and the individual words themselves are all finely honed. It's this attention to detail that makes them work. You could easily imagine the "Tootsie Frootsie" sequence dragging and dying if the lines hadn't been performed perfectly.
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By Elle
Even if the only thing I bought this for was Chico's piano scene, it would still be worth it. That's the best piece I've ever seen him do. I've only seen three of their movies total, but hey, that's beside the point - that guy can PLAY!
I'm sure other people have noticed this, but I really think the film editing was MUCH improved on this film, in comparison to the earlier ones. The main things I didn't like were, as usual, the bad musical numbers. They were just out of place. I actually liked the whole 'water carnival dancing' part, even though it was out of place too, but that's just because I tend to like dances like that. I don't know how Vivien Fay twirled around so many times without getting dizzy and collapsing.
But back to the brothers. I wouldn't consider this to be the funniest of their movies (that I've seen, at least), but they were hilarious, as always. I loved the whole telephone scene, with Groucho doing all those different voices. And of course, the tootsie-frootsie ice cream part. I also thought it was great when Flo, the 'seductress', would say "Thank you", and Groucho would always repeat her, (although it sounded more like "thank yaw").
And the whole doctor examination is one of the funniest scenes that I've seen them do. There's just something about three crazy guys running over to the wash basins to 'sterilize' their hands, and then going around in a circle, drying their hands on the coat of the person in front of them...yeah, hard to describe.
So it's not the best I've seen them do, but it's great. I have an idea: I think MGM should release a dvd with all of their funny scenes on it. That way we could just watch it and laugh, without having to go through all the annoying romantic sub-plots and boring musical numbers. I'm sure it won't be happening, but I still think it'd be a cool idea.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully entertaining Nov. 8 2003
Format:VHS Tape
"A Day at the Races" is one of the top Marx Brothers movies. It's clever, humourous, full of memorable scenes and is great for entertainment value.
The humour is up to a very high standard and the musical scenes are full of energy. Parts of it, such as the Tootsie-Frootsie and the jitterbugging scenes, are so absorbing you almost forget about the rest of the film.
On a critical analysis though, the film falls short in a few areas. The acting and delivery of some of the lines in just a few places lacks conviction and seems a bit weak and some of the songs have to be heard quite a few times before you can really remember the tune of them.
But ultimately, "A Day at the Races" wins both on entertainment value and from a critical viewpoint.
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4.0 out of 5 stars There last great film March 16 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Before MGM made the Marx Brothers completely commercial, A Day at the Races was made. Although not there best, it is worth seeing. Although it's overlong, and dampened by superflous musical numbers with a Zeppo-look alike, it has great satrical moments, befor films like Go West, The Big Store, Room Service, and At The Circus. This is probably the lastfilm that they actually cared. I loved the "ice cream" vendor, and the vast majority of this film. A great film if you don't mind fast-forewarding-not to be missed. Thank you for taking the time to read my review and feel free to leave me a helpful/not helpful feedback. God Bless America!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Got A Message From The Man In The Moon March 2 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Better than A Night at the Opera, not as good as Duck Soup.
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5.0 out of 5 stars HILARIOUS MARX MADNESS Feb. 17 2003
Format:VHS Tape
When Tony (Chico), an employee at the financially troubled Standish sanitariam, discovers that Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan) is in danger of losing the institution to a banker named Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille), he decides to seek a large donation from wealthy patient Mrs. Upjohn (Margaret Dumont, natch). Fashions in Marxism change, but this top quality production, though lacking their zaniest inspirations, does contain several of their funniest routines and a spectacularly well integrated racehorse climax. The musical and romantic asides are a matter of taste but are delightfully typical of their time. Among the performers in this delightfully off-beat film is Duke Ellington's wonderful vocalist Ivie Anderson, famous for her rendition of I GOT IT BAD (AND THAT AIN'T GOOD), and a very young Dorothy Dandridge made her debut here. It has been noted that over 5,OOO black performers auditioned for parts in the black musical sequences. An amusing trivia note: the character Groucho plays, Dr. Hackenbush was to be originally named Quakenbush. Reason for the change? Thirty-seven REAL-life doctors with that very name threatened to sue the studio(!).
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Get your Tootsie Frootsie Icecream!
My review is biased, obviously, because this is my favourite Marx Brothers movie. They are as good as always, and what's added to make it special for me are the musical pieces -... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Robert Eley
5.0 out of 5 stars No Problems
I received my order in the time frame stated and everything was A-OK. I wouldn't hesitate to order from these guys again.
Published on March 10 2010 by Monkeybone In Edmonton
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand Finale
The big all-black except Harpo production number included a song that I don't know the name of (All god chillun got swing? Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by Joseph Hart
4.0 out of 5 stars Hello Doctor, Hello Doctor...
Doctor Hugo Z. Hackenbush (Groucho Marx) is hired by Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan) to save her sanatorium as the greedy Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille) attempts take over the... Read more
Published on May 13 2004 by Kim Anehall
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing entertainment
'A Day At The Races' is a movie every single person alive might find pleasure in. The musical aspects of the film are unreachable in their attributes. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2002 by anndee
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE!!!
Published on April 30 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Day At the Races" - Marxs' last great film
"A Day At the Races", the Marx Bros. seventh film, released in 1937, is their last real great film in the sense of its overall humor and comic genous. Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2001 by T. W. Fuller
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