Harpo Marx

Harpo, Groucho and Chico develop the photograph that reveals the villain's identity in The Big Store

The Big Store

The Big Store (1941) starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo – Margaret Dumont, Tony Martin

In the department store, Harpo acts as a snake charmer while Groucho and the crowd looks on in The Big Store
In the department store, Harpo acts as a snake charmer while Groucho and the crowd looks on in The Big Store

In  The Big Store — which was intended to be the final Marx Brothers movie, but thankfully wasn’t — the basic plot has a musical composer (Tony Martin) inherits half interest in a large department store (the “big store” of the title) — and is under a death threat from unscrupulous businessmen. His friend and piano instructor, Ravelli (Chico Marx) has the “famous” lawyer,  Wolf J. Flywheel (Groucho Marx) and his brother Wacky (Harpo Marx) to help protect him. (more…)

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Love Happy starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), Vera-Ellen and Marilyn Monroe

Love Happy

 Love Happy  starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), Vera-Ellen and Marilyn Monroe

Synopsis of Love Happy

 Love Happy starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), Vera-Ellen and Marilyn MonroeBuy from Amazon.com Private-Eye Sam Grunion is reminiscing via flashbacks back to his famous case involving the Romanoff diamonds.   It begins with Harpo taking food from the rich for the poverty-stricken, starving troupe in rehearsal for a Broadway play. On one of his daily raids picks up a can of sardines where the Romanoff diamonds have been hidden. But only Madame Egelich and her two bodyguards know this, and she agrees to back the play, so they can be near the can of sardines and recover the diamonds. But Harpo and Faustino discover them first and they are chased all over NYC’s skyline by the bodyguards. Sam Grunion enters the case and quickly becomes enamored of Madame Egelich, and anything else wearing skirts. (more…)

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Monkey Business, starring the Marx Brothers

Monkey Business, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Thelma Todd

Monkey Business, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Thelma ToddBuy from Amazon.com In Monkey BusinessGrouchoHarpoChico and Zeppo are four stowaways on board ship, destined for the United States of America. After being discovered hiding in barrels (and singing Sweet Adeline), they are pursued by the ship’s crew, to hilarious effect. Zeppo and Groucho wind up working as bodyguards for one gangster on board, while Chico and Harpo do the same for a rival gangster. After docking, the four borrow a passport and impersonate its’ owner, Maurice Chevalier (who doesn’t appear in the film) to gain entrance to the country, by singing one of Chevalier’s songs to prove that each of them, including the silent Harpo, is Mr. Chevalier. (more…)

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Duck Soup, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont

Duck Soup

DVD Review of Duck Soup, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont

Overview of Duck Soup, starring Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo

Duck Soup, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont Buy from Amazon.com When asked to explain the movie title, Groucho said, “Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you’ll duck soup for the rest of your life.” Start with excellent production and direction. Add the Marx brothers (Groucho,  Chico,  Harpo and the long-suffering  Zeppo), add the ultimate straight person (Margaret Dumont), stir well and you’ll be serving  Duck Soup. (more…)

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Review of The Cocoanuts, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont

The Cocoanuts, starring the Marx Brothers

Review of The Cocoanuts, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont

Buy from Amazon.com The Cocoanuts was the first movie filmed by the Marx Brothers, and remains one of their funniest. It features the Marx Brothers in the roles that they soon made famous – €  Groucho, with the greasepaint mustache, master of the fast wisecrack;  Chico, the vaguely-Italian pianist who constantly looking to con someone;  Harpo, who never speaks, but is the master of outrageous comedy and pantomime; and Zeppo, the handsome straight man.

Review of The Cocoanuts, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret DumontMargaret Dumont, Groucho’s perennial foil, appears in this first film as well. There is a plot to the movie, dealing with Groucho trying to flim-flam everyone possible in a land swindle.  But that’s frankly of secondary concern to the antics of the Marx Brothers. (more…)

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Room Service (1938) starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx), Lucille Ball, Ann Miller

Room Service, starring the Marx Brothers

Room Service (1938) starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx), Lucille Ball, Ann Miller

I’ve long heard negative things about  Room Service starring the Marx Brothers  – Groucho, Chico, and Harpo.   However, after viewing the movie for myself, I don’t think that they’re deserved.   Granted, it’s not of the same quality as  Duck Soup, but it’s still very funny in its’ own right.   That’s not to say that there aren’t negative things to say.  The pace seems slow compared to typical Marx Brothers fare.  The movie starts slowly.   On the other hand, the ending of the movie is the normal zaniness that we’ve  come to expect, and it plays well. (more…)

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A Night in Casablanca, starring the Marx Brothers

A Night in Casablanca

A Night in Casablanca (1946) starring the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Chico, Harpo), Sig Ruman

Buy from Amazon.com A Night in Casablanca is the last Marx Brothers movie, and I’m happy to say,  one of their finest. The Marx Brothers had officially retired by this time.  However, they reunited on screen for the financial benefit of their brother  Chico. And I’m very glad they did. (more…)

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Harpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx and Rowland Barber

Harpo Speaks! an autobiography of Harpo Marx

Harpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx and Rowland BarberHarpo Speaks! by Harpo Marx, Rowland Barber, Susan Marx (Photographer), Bill Marx (Photographer)

Review of Harpo Speaks:

Buy from Amazon.com Frankly, Harpo Speaks is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s hilarious, serious, witty, poignant and thought-provoking, sometimes all at the same time. It details what it was like to grow up in the Marx household, how all of the brothers were pushed into show business by their mother, Minnie, how hard they worked for so many years at (barely) subsistence wages, how they entertained each other, grew up on the road, and in one night changed from a singing group to the first great ‘screwball’ comedy team. If you love clowns, or are interested in clowning, you want to read this book; it’s a wonderful insight into clowning, what’s funny and why, as well as some of the Marx Brothers’ classic routines. It’s also a wonderful insight into a man I would have loved to have known; Harpo Marx. (more…)

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Horse Feathers, starring the Marx Brothers (DVD cover)

Horse Feathers

Horse Feathers (1932) starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo

First, imagine the Marx Brothers attending college. Now, imagine  Groucho as the president of the college,  Zeppo as his son, and  Harpo and  Chico as the newest additions to the college football team.  Recruited by mistake, of course. Now, imagine the beautiful  Thelma Todd, trying to weasel the team’s football signals from Zeppo and Groucho in her well-known vampish way.  And now, imagine the big football game, with the Marx Brothers on the field, pulling out all the stops to defeat the other side.  What do you get for all your imaginings?  Horse Feathers, of course. (more…)

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Go West (1940) starring the Marx Brothers - Groucho, Chico, and Harpo

Go West starring the Marx Brothers

Go West (1940) starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, and Harpo

Synopsis of Go West

Go West, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Diana Lewis, 1940Buy from Amazon.com The Marx BrothersGroucho, Chico, and Harpoend up in the American Old West, where Chico and Harpo are unsuccessful prospectors, who befriend a desert rat who gives them the deed to some property for only ten dollars.  Groucho tries to sell that land to the railroad company at an inflated price, only to have it stolen by the villain of the picture.  Without that land sale, the movie’s romantic couple will be kept apart by the girl’s grandfather — the desert rat that Chico and Harpo befriended! (more…)

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