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|The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection
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The Only Movies to Feature All 4 Brothers together in 1 Special Collection. Plus a 6th Disc of Exclusive Bonus Material! 5 Enduring Classics featuring all four legendary Marx Brothers! Duck Soup: A funny and pointed political satire. Horse Feathers: An uproariously anarchic parody of college life. Monkey Business: The Brothers head for the high-seas where lunacy rides the waves. The Cocoanuts: Their first feature film with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Animal Crackers: A classic screwball comedy filled with memorable routines.
There will be a debate of which 2004 DVD collection of Marx Brothers films was better. This Universal release of the better known Paramount-produced films are the only ones starring all four brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo. The Warner collection contains less-vital films, but is loaded with extras and commentaries. The Universal collection contains only 20 minutes of interviews from NBC's Today Show--interesting but short--with Harpo, Groucho, and Harpo's son Bill from the '60s and '70s. All of the films in this collection were released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 2000 and the prints look the same, which isn't necessarily bad; one just wishes a major restoration had been undertaken.
The films--packaged handsomely with a booklet--are essential Marx Brothers, their first five films made from 1929 to 1933. The least timeless is their first, The Cocoanuts, based on their Broadway hit. The film--one of the first full talkies--takes place in a hotel with owner Groucho out to grab every dollar. Animal Crackers is the brothers' first classic, a lickety-split comedy about an art theft being investigated by Groucho's alter-image, Captain Spaulding. For introducing youngsters to the work of Marx, Monkey Business is the best way. The shenanigans start right at the start as the brothers stowaway on a luxury liner. It's their first film that wasn't based on a play, as they endeavored to find new material. Horse Feathers gave them more fertile ground plus a sure-fire Hollywood director at the helm (Norman McLeoad). Their fantasia of college life includes the riotous football-game finale. Music, always a key part of their plays and films is given more weight here and includes Groucho's theme, "I'm Against It." Music is again key as the musicals of the era are spoofed in the brothers' undisputed masterpiece, Duck Soup. From a land called Fredonia, Groucho plays a slapdash ruler who rewrites the rules of governing, leading to a most memorable war with Sylvania (so war gets lampooned. too). Duck Soup also boasts the most famous Marx brothers sketch: Groucho trying to fool his mirror. --Doug Thomas
|A Night at the Opera
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Brand: Warner Brothers
A near riot on a ship, a New York scandal and an evening of insanity in a concert hall are just some of the fall out from Groucho's outrageous business schemes to bring Milan's finest opera stars to Manhattan. Year: 1935 Director: Sam Wood Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Kitty Carlisle, Allan Jones
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
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This political satire starring Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx is often considered the Brothers' funniest and most popular film. After being appointed dictator of Freedonia, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) proceeds to bring the mythical nation to a halt by showing up late and insulting everyone at his inauguration. Hoping to oust the unfit new leader, two spies (Harpo and Chico) are sent from the neighboring Sylvania. Soon enough, war is declared between the two nations with outrageous results. So funny it earned spot on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list.
For those who love the Marx Brothers (Animal Crackers, A Night at the Opera), that this movie is side-slappingly funny is a given. For those new to the Marx Brothers, this is the perfect introduction to Groucho, Chico, and Harpo (and even Zeppo), three of the funniest men to ever grace the screen. Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is the dictator of the small nation Freedonia. The country is a disaster, in financial disrepair, and the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) is its benefactor and the object of Firefly's shrewd affection. When the leader of the neighboring Sylvania decides he's in love with Mrs. Teasdale, Firefly declares war. The movie, from 1933, is tremendously satirical, a play on politics and war. (As Firefly says to a hapless young solider, "You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.") Full of witty lines, great sight gags, and even some snazzy song numbers ("Freedonia's Going to War" is the hilarious declaration of battle), this is surely one of the best--if not the best--the Marx Brothers have to offer. --Jenny Brown
|Groucho Marx Collection: You Bet Your Life
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Groucho Marx's quick wit and rapid one-liners-- along with his distinctive moustache, eyebrows, and ever-present cigar--made him one of the most famous, iconic comedians of all time! Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo, and Zeppo-- collectively known as the Marx Brothers-- made some of the most popular comedies in American cinema including The Coconuts, Duck Soup, and A Night at the Opera.
In 1947 Groucho began a radio show called You Bet Your Life, which spawned the TV series three years later. Groucho appeared, as himself, as emcee and star. The show's premise was simple: contestants sought to win up to $10,000 by correctly answering a sequence of four questions. If they unwittingly said a "secret word" they would win $100 bonus, delivered by a papier-mâché duck lowered from above. The best part of the show was the humor and banter Groucho ad-libbed with his contestants. You Bet Your Life ran for 11 years, making it one of the longest running shows in the history of television!
|A Day at the Races
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Brand: Warner Brothers
Doctor Hugo Hackenbush, Tony, and Stuffy try and save Judy's farm by winning a big race with her horse. There are a few problems. Hackenbush runs a high priced clinic for the wealthy who don't know he has his degree in Veterinary Medicine.
A Day at the Races 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
|You Bet Your Life - The Best Episodes
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Groucho Marx is arguably the most famous, iconic comedian of all time. "You Bet Your Life" began on radio in 1947, ostensibly as a game show, and became a huge hit television program and as big a part of Groucho’s legacy as the amazing movies he made with his brothers earlier in his career.
After the start on radio, the show ran through 423 episodes from 1950 – 1961. These 18 episodes are some of the absolute best from over a decade of popular TV, restored for the highest quality sound and picture possible. They feature guest stars like Phyllis Diller, Edgar and Candace Bergen, Joe Louis, Johnny Weismuller, Frankie Avalon, Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx, Harpo Marx and the first appearance of the show's trademark duck.
DVD extras include three Groucho pilots including "What Do You Want", "Tell It To Groucho" and the never-before-seen "The Plot Thickens," plus tons of outtakes and bloopers.
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.
Appearances by some "special guests" add to this set's nostalgia value. Former Western star Hoot Gibson, Johnny "Tarzan" Weissmuller, and former boxing champion Joe Louis play the game, as do future stars Candice Bergen (age 11-1/2) and comedian Phyllis Diller in her first television appearance. Marx Brothers fans will cherish the now-poignant cameo by Harpo (hawking his autobiography, Harpo Speaks!) and the Creamy Prom commercials featuring Harpo and Chico. Screen and songwriter Harry Ruby, who looms large in Marxian folklore (he co-wrote Horse Feathers and Duck Soup), sings a delightful duet with Groucho, "The Window Cleaners." This set's special features aren't horse feathers either. There are rare pilots for some failed post-You Bet Your Life quiz shows, vintage commercials, and so-called "stag reels," featuring mildly risqué humor that censors cut from final broadcast. And now, to quote Fenneman, it's time to sit back, and relax, and enjoy the best of Groucho. --Donald Liebenson
|The Dick Cavett Show - Hollywood Greats
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Comedians, politicians and rock stars all graced The Dick Cavett Show stage, but the audience favorites were often the movie stars. And when the guests were greats like Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and Orson Welles, Cavett often devoted the full 90 minutes to them. In the case of Katharine Hepburn, the interview went so well that it required two full 90 minute shows.
This 4-DVD set contains 12 episodes featuring:
Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Groucho Marx, Debbie Reynolds, Kirk Douglas, Alfred Hitchcock, Marlon Brando, Mel Brooks, Frank Capra, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Mitchum, John Huston and Orson Welles.
Also contains a new Cavett interview conducted by Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.
Additional bonus material includes:
• Outtakes featuring Katharine Hepburn
• New episode introductions by Dick Cavett
• Original promos for The Dick Cavett Show
In an era that makes celebrities out of talent-free narcissists like Paris Hilton, it's nice to be reminded of a time when stars were bigger-than-life characters who were famous and beloved because they had actually accomplished something, and whose off-screen shenanigans were the stuff of legend rather than some glib report on Entertainment Tonight. The reminder comes in the form of Hollywood Greats, the latest offering from the vaults of Dick Cavett's 1970s TV talk show. This is a really impressive lineup: Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Robert Mitchum, Orson Welles, Groucho Marx, Kirk Douglas, Bette Davis, and others. And if some of them prove less than scintillating, on balance there's still more than enough on these four discs to satisfy even the most ardent star-gazers.
Of principal interest to many will be Cavett's interviews with people like Hepburn and Brando, who rarely ventured into TV land. The notoriously press-shy Hepburn, 66 at the time (1973), is seen checking out the studio and making picky remarks about the rug and furniture before agreeing to do the do right then and there, with no audience; she ends up holding forth for two entire shows (plus bonus material), revealing herself to be witty and sophisticated, as well outspoken, practical, and entirely in charge ("You keep interrupting," she chastens Cavett, "Just shut up..."). Brando, a year removed from The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris, agreed to appear only if he could discuss the plight of American Indians (several of whom are also on hand). Cavett, a sharp, self-effacing, well-prepared host, went along, little suspecting that the whole interview would be an exercise in teeth-pulling, with Brando refusing to discuss his career at all; his dismissal of his stage and screen work as "irrelevant" is laughably disingenuous, considering that were it not for his acting, he wouldn't have been invited on the show in the first place. On the other hand, Davis is grand, saucy, full of stories about Hollywood's Golden Age--everything one wants in a movie star. Astaire is charming, showing that even at age 71 he was a great dancer and good singer. Welles, the man who married Rita Hayworth, had dinner with the pre-Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, and made Citizen Kane, is worldly, erudite, expansive (in every sense--he's twice Cavett's size), and probably the most entertaining of the lot. And Hitchcock is marvelous, showing off his dry, peculiar wit and revealing several tricks of the trade (it took 78 edits to make the 45-second shower scene in Psycho). Bonus material includes several Cavett show promos and a new featurette with him and film historian Robert Osbourne. Scattered throughout the various interviews are clips from some great films, including Night of the Hunter, The Birds, Holiday Inn, a variety of Douglas' movies, and even an obscure Bette Davis item called Watch on the Rhine. --Sam Graham
- Dick Cavett's late-night talk show was a staple of 1960s and '70s pop culture, known for the charm and wit of its host as well as for the quality of its guests. This collection presents 12 episodes that showcase the glamorous parade of movie stars that visited Cavett's show, including Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Marlon Brando, Groucho Mar
|Liberace: The Worlds Greatest Showman
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Talented, charming, wonderful and flamboyant all of these characterize the amazing Liberace who became an entertainment sensation headlining and selling out shows for almost fifty years. This biography tracks the lifetime of this amazing man who brought song, laughter and beauty to the world with his music and his collections of art and antiquities. Often being characterized as the most flamboyant entertainer ever see Liberace laugh at himself as he takes everything in stride coining his popular phrase, I laughed all the way to the bank! This film shows rare and personal moments with Liberace as he speaks to his hope that his life will have brought even a few moments of happiness and laughter to others lives.
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Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx are at the top of their game in this uproarious parody of college life. As president of Huxley College, the fun-loving President Wagstaff (Groucho) attempts to help his son (Zeppo) finally graduate after 12 years by arranging to "buy" professional football players for an upcoming big game against rival Darwin University. The plan takes an unexpected twist, however, when a bootlegger (Chico) and a dogcatcher (Harpo) are mistaken for the athletes and are accidentally hired instead. This movie features the Brothers' trademark insanity and earned a spot on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list.
Imagine Groucho as the president of a college and Harpo and Chico as football players. It doesn't get much wackier than this. Horse feathers, indeed. Groucho is hilarious to watch as a hip professor. He's at his most rebellious singing "Whatever it is, I'm against it." Thelma Todd does some of her best vamping to help fix the big football game, which Harpo and Chico are supposed to throw. Naturally, the brothers have other ideas. For sheer laughter, this has to rate almost as high as Duck Soup, with the memorable speakeasy sequence, and the funniest football finale of all time, complete with banana peels and a chariot. --Bill Desowitz
|Story of Mankind
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Here is the most far-out courtroom thriller you'll ever see. The setting is outer space, the defendant is all of us and the issue is
whether we should be allowed to survive. Defending counsel, the Spirit of Man (Ronald Colman), says yes. Prosecuting counsel, the Devil (Vincent Price), says no. And each presents historical evidence in vignettes that feature Hedy Lamarr as Joan of Arc, Dennis Hopper as Napoleon, Harpo Marx as Isaac Newton, plus Groucho, Chico, Virginia Mayo, Peter Lorre, Charles Coburn, Agnes Moorehead - 25 stars in all! Produced, directed and co-written by Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure), this uncommon curio is Colman's final film and the last time the three Marx Brothers appeared in the same movie.
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