For everyone who still can’t get enough of this legendary wit (and excellent writer), here is an extraordinary collection of almost two hundred letters by Groucho Marx. Following a close filial relationship as it unfolds week by week, year by year, these letters move through three decades of life: from the vagaries of Groucho’s career in film, radio, and television, through two divorces and two remarriages, to Miriam’s own often tumultuous young adulthood. (more…)
Editorial Review of Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales: Selected Writings of Groucho Marx, An Updated and Expanded Edition, courtesy of Amazon.com
It makes sense that Groucho, master of the wise crack, a man who kept company with S.J. Perelman and George S. Kaufman, should be a wonderful author in his own right, but you won’t know how wonderful unless you have this book. Its editor, Robert S. Bader, has collected the funniest essays, columns and letters that Groucho composed during his long career. Writing with a wit and love of non-sequitur that influenced the young Woody Allen, Groucho also displays real warmth of character in these short pieces, an abiding love of family and of living. (more…)
The Groucho Letters: Letters from and to Groucho Marx
The Groucho Letters – Letters to and from Groucho Marx is a collection of, well, letters sent by Groucho Marx. If you like Groucho Marx’ acerbic sense of humor, you’ll love this. One small example is Groucho’s famous letter to the Warner Brothers about the Marx Brothers’ using the name ‘Casablanca’ in their film, A Night in Casablanca. Letters to his brothers, friends famous and not-so-famous are all filled with his trademark humor. (more…)
Groucho and Me is a very entertaining autobiography of Groucho Marx, written by Julius Marx (Groucho’s real name). Witty and entertaining, with piles of anecdotes, it’s well worth reading if you’re a fan of Groucho Marx – but not if you’re looking for accuracy or detail of life behind the scenes for the Marx Brothers. For example, Groucho’s version of the story behind why Harpo never spoke on screen is hilariously funny; but totally inaccurate.
If you’re looking for detail or accuracy, you’ll have to look elsewhere; but if you’re looking for an entertaining read directly from the fingers of Groucho himself, look no further. A recommended read. For a taste, feel free to check out funny quotes from Groucho and Me. (more…)
Editorial Reviews of You Bet Your Life – The Best Episodes, courtesy of Amazon.com
The secret word for Groucho Marx fans is ‘DVD.’ This three-disc set collects a priceless archive of 18 complete and uncut episodes filmed between 1950 and 1960. The surprise success of the radio incarnation of You Bet Your Life assured for Groucho that there would be life after the Marx Brothers, whose film career came to a sad end with 1950’s Love Happy. The television series would be an even bigger hit, and make Groucho a household name. You Bet Your Life was ostensibly a quiz show, but it was more just a forum for Groucho to crack wise with the contestants. These were mostly ordinary people with oddball jobs or interests, or extraordinary talents, like the man who blows up a tire’s inner-tube on an episode included on disc 2. Knowing now that the program was carefully planned does not diminish the fun. There are many precious spontaneous moments, such as the trombone-playing female contestant who practically swoons over Groucho’s announcer/straight man George Fenneman. (more…)
Editorial Review of Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers, by Simon Louvish (courtesy of Amazon.com )
A serious book hiding behind a goofy title, Monkey Business captures a tremendous amount of detail in its pages, enough to satisfy the most hard-core Marx Brothers aficionado. Author Simon Louvish has a talent for showcasing contrasts, and it’s these contrasts–along with a few surprises–that make the brothers such fascinating characters. (more…)
Review of Animal Crackers, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont
Released in 1930, Animal Crackers is the Marx Brothers‘ second film. It’s full of the manic energy for which Groucho Marx, Chico, and Harpo are known. In addition, Zeppo also excels in this film, acting as the secretary for Groucho, aka. Captain Spaulding, famous African explorer. One of the film’s songs, Hooray for Captain Spaulding, became Groucho’s trademark.
In a nutshell, the Marx Brothers become involved in a high society party, where a theft occurs. Leaving them embroiled in finding the crook and clearing their names. Highlights of the film include: (more…)
DVD review of A Night at the Opera (1935) starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx)
Director: Sam Wood
Black & White, HiFi Sound, NTSC
One of the all-time funniest Marx Brothers movies – which makes it one of the funniest movies of all time.
Synopsis: Groucho Marx is Otis P. Driftwood, too busy trying to fleece Mrs. Claypool (played by the fifth Marx brother, Margaret Dumont) to spend time running an Opera Company. Harpo is Tomasso, the abused valet to the pompous tenor, while Chico is Fiorello, self-appointed agent for the unknown, talented young singer Ricardo Baroni (Allan Jones), who is in love with Rosa Castaldi (Kitty Carlisle) – the obligatory singing love interest. When Groucho loses his job, the plot thickens – but with the brothers Marx, who needs a thick plot? Some of the classic comic routines “A Night at the Opera” gives you include: (more…)