Archival Presentations | 1930 | 97 minutes
Stranger Says: A priceless painting disappears during a lavish party for Captain Spaulding (Groucho Marx). Things get weird. The Marx Brothers’ second movie is admittedly pretty creaky at times, with a romantic subplot that you can practically feel slide off of the screen. But then the sustained lunacy hits, and everything is forgiven. While Duck Soup remains the Marx magnum opus, this isn’t far behind at all, with a dizzying array of verbal and physical gags, hilarious musical bits, and Groucho’s unceasing delight in playing off of Margaret Dumont’s brick-wall obliviousness. Even Zeppo gets a couple of classic moments, for Pete’s sake. (ANDREW WRIGHT)
SIFF Says:“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” Hooray for Captain Spaulding, and hooray for the Marx Brothers in their second film! Madcap mayhem, priceless puns, silly songs, and the best one-liners in cinema swirl together in this tornado of glorious pre-Code comedy from 1930. Groucho stars as Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding (the T stands for “Edgar”), a famed explorer back from his latest African expedition and the guest of honor at the biggest party in Long Island. And who will be providing the party’s music? Signor Emanuel Ravelli (Chico Marx) and his colleague the Professor (Harpo Marx), although they seem more interested in causing a ruckus and chasing women. Thanks to an increasingly ridiculous series of events involving the theft and counterfeit of a famed painting, the soiree quickly turns to chaos, and eternal straight performers Zeppo Marx and Margaret Dumont can only look on in horror as America’s greatest comic troupe wreaks havoc upon society’s good graces. Prepare your letter to Charles H. Hungerdunger, play that song about the Irish chiropodist, and put those chairs back where you found them.
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