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Marx Brothers: A Night at the Opera

Sam Wood    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Marx Brothers: A Night at the Opera + Duck Soup + Animal Crackers (Full Screen)
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Product Description

Product Description

Night at the Opera, A (DVD)


Absolutely one of the most hilarious movies ever made, this classic farce featuring the outrageous genius of the Marx Brothers is a chance to see some of their best bits woven together seamlessly in a story of high society, matchmaking, and chaos. In order to bring two young lovers together, brothers Groucho, Chico, and Harpo must sabotage an opera performance even as they try to pass themselves off as stuffed shirts. Featuring the classic sequence where Groucho piles as many people as possible into a ship's stateroom, A Night at the Opera is a deliciously zany romp worth watching again and again. --Robert Lane --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of the decline May 31 2004
Many think this film the best or one of the best the Brothers Marx ever did. It's probably a matter of taste (well, it's certainly a matter of taste), but I think the first MGM comedy by the Marx Brothers is scattershot. Groucho, Chico and Harpo are in top form, and when they're on -- and allowed to dominate a scene -- the film is terrific. The stateroom scene is still funny after 70 years, and the finale at the opera is Marxist anarchy at its finest.
But when they're off screen (at least a third of the movie), you're left with an embarrassing melodrama I'm sure the movegoing audiences of 1935 found as sappy as I did. Bad enough the young Italian lovers sound like they're from New England section of Italy; worse are the musical interludes, which bring the film to a halt and destroy any comedic momentum the Marxes have created. A scene where Chico, Harpo and Jones show off their musical prowess goes on far too long and completely stops the film. Their earlier comedies had musical interludes, but they were woven into the films better. The opening number in Duck Soup, for example, is a lengthy set-up to the first joke; ditto the "We're Going to War" number. When the young lovers in A Night at the Opera sing "Alone," there's nothing but the youngsters staring moonily at each other. Their voices are fine, but the studios of the time were never short of movies with beautiful youngsters singing to each other. It's unnecessary here, and it reminds you the Marx Brothers aren't on screen.
"A Night at the Opera" was the Marxes' most successful comedy at the box office, and probably the most popular film they ever did. But time has been kinder to their earlier Paramount productions.
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Many have argued that A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is the Marx Brother's finest film, pointing out that it combined the best of the Brother's comedy with the biggest and boldest in MGM production values. Personally, while I really like the film, I wouldn't quite put it in the top slot. Any of the sequences containing the Marx Brothers themselves are gold, but I find that I'm not as enamored with the romantic subplot and singing as other reviewers have been (notably Leonard Maltin in this DVD's commentary). Still, arguing about which one of the fine films is actually the best is a little pointless. This is a great movie, regardless with how it compares to the others.
The biggest thing this film has going for it (outside of the wonderful Marx Brothers themselves, of course) is the big production values that MGM splashed out on. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's nice to have some great big sets for the Brothers to clown around in (Harpo's stunt double swinging through the rafters is great), but all things considered, I think I prefer the tongue-in-cheek send-up of the big dance numbers (as done in DUCK SOUP) to the production dances which are played straight here.
Margaret Dumont is underused, which is a shame since her dignified outrage usually accounted for big laughs. She gets a good scene at the beginning, and a handful of opportunities to look indignant later in the film, but she isn't the constant presence that she had been in other films.
Still, while I can pick out a few flaws here and there, this is overall a hilarious and fun movie.
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Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho Marx), an eccentric opportunist, has been hired by an older rich woman to introduce her into the society of England, which seems to be an easy task for him. Driftwood introduces the lady to an Opera manager from New York who invites her to New York as he needs her investments in the Opera. Throughout Driftwood's venture his wit gets him into and out of trouble as frequently as he opens his mouth, and through an "accident" he meets the two brothers Fiorello (Chico Marx) and Tomasso (Harpo Marx). Driftwood is introduced through the two brothers to the promising Ricardo Baroni and together the four begin a comical adventure of astronomical proportion that brings them fame and fortune. Night at the Opera is a hilarious comedy that contains both slap-stick comedy and witty dialogue that will entertain any audience. In addition, there are a several scenes with interesting cinematography and scene set up that are nothing short of spectacular, which lends support to the films exceptional cinematic experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Warner's DVD edition May 9 2004
The 1935 comedy A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is a grab bag of a movie that includes physical gags, verbal gags, a romantic subplot, backstage intrigue, an operatic aria, an elaborate dance number, stunts, absurdity, and sentimentality. The main attraction is, of course, the patented zaniness of The Marx Brothers -- the acerbic Groucho, the mute Harpo, and the dim-witted Chico -- whose unique brand of comedy is often edgy, subversive, and even surreal and other-worldly. Count me as one of those who thinks that such style of comedy loses some edge in A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, where the comic trio seem out of place in a methodical plot, realistic settings, and among ordinary people. These mundane elements are also, surprisingly, engrossing enough to often upstage the comedians. Groucho's usual anti-establishment stance also seems softened in order to give way to crowd-pleasing sentimentality. The Marx Brothers, like Jacques Tati, are creators of their own comic universes, and that's where they need to inhabit, such as in the whimsical delight DUCK SOUP, the Brothers' previous film, where their presence is more dominant. With that said, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA does have some of most memorable gags in the Brothers' history. A verbal confusion with Santa Claus, a tiny room cramped with 15 people, mixing opera with baseball, and Harpo's stunts with the ropes are some of the highlights.
The new Warner DVD of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is encoded for Region 1 and 4, and has a cleaner video transfer than I expected considering the age of the film. Obviously, a video restoration has been done, as were the cases for many of recent Warner DVDs of old movies. The original mono audio is fine, save for some age-related hisses in the background.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of classic comedy
This one is a must for any Marx Brothers' fan. Every time I watch it I laugh so much that I end up with abdominal pain. So I can say it's so funny it hurts.
Published 21 months ago by Javier de la Piedra
2.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome
Almost everything I write about stuff for Amazon gets either ignored or negative responses. I hardly expect this to fare any better. Read more
Published on May 19 2004 by Joseph Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars The boys at the top of their form
When the Marx Brothers shifted from Paramount Pictures to MGM, they had been in decline at the box-office and they were worried. Read more
Published on April 4 2004 by L. E. Cantrell
3.0 out of 5 stars "Was that a high C or Vitamin D?"
Otis B. Driftwood: You didn't happen to see my suit in there, did you?
Fiorello: Yeah, it was taking up too much room, so we sold it.
Otis B. Read more
Published on March 18 2004 by Steven Y.
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last, the return of the Marx Brothers to DVD.
"A Night at the Opera" was released on DVD back in the late 90s by Image. Image had licensed the film from WB, and once that licence expired the disc was pulled. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2004 by R.D. Monsoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Leontyne Price is a better singer than Britney
Leontyne Price is a better singer than Spears.
This movie is a hilarious farce mocking opera.
Published on Dec 12 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Marx Brothers are king, Prices stink!
These are all great Marx brothers' movies. The problem here is the prices for used. I understand the whole "what the market will bare" theory, but some of these used prices are... Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Marxmania!
"A Night At The Opera" is tied with "Duck Soup" at being the #1 best Marx brother movie! Otis B. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2003 by Josh P.
5.0 out of 5 stars "And two hard boiled eggs..."
I know a lot of Marx Brothers purists will disagree with me, but I think this was the best movie they ever made! Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2002 by John S.
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