In no way is this website an attempt at scholarly research or an attempt to astonish the world with new news about the Marx Brothers. It is simply a tribute to three of my favorite comedians: Groucho, Harpo, and Chico Marx.
(As research goes, however, I'll say that out of all the Marx Brothers biographies on the shelves, one that I recommend most heartily is Glenn Mitchell's, well, encyclopedic work The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia [Reynolds & Hearn Ltd., London, 2003]. With this book in hand, you'll have the most readable and complete Marx Brothers history you could ask for.)
I first encountered the Marx Brothers while growing up in Illinois at the ripe old age of 10. Every Tuesday night at 10:30 p.m. CST, a station based at the University of Illinois-Champaign, WCIA-Channel 3, offered up "Camp Night"--a rotating schedule of W.C. Fields', Mae West's, and Marx Brothers' Paramount movies. I have no recollection as to how these movies caught my attention or why my father let me stay up so late every Tuesday night.
I do know why I still enjoy the Marx Brothers, and it's the same reason that everybody else gives: They do the things we wish we could do. When Groucho flattens an opponent with a one-liner, when Harpo acts on impulse without worrying about which nearby blonde he's going to offend, or when Chico shoots his trigger finger at the keys like a cowboy playing piano, I wish I could do the same stuff and get away with it.
The Marx Brothers' history, and their myriad projects beyond the cinema, are well-documented at so many other sources. As a local movie critic, I would just like to offer my personal insight into their movies--no more, no less.
Now then--as to why there are two sets of reviews with nearly every movie here...
For the past few years, I've had an ongoing E-mail correspondence with a very movie-savvy guy named John Brennan. He is co-webmaster of Laurel and Hardy Central, a glorious website devoted to L&H movies and much other minutia about the team. (In the photo above, John is on the right. That drunken-looking brute on the left is me.)
I've always wanted to do a site like L&H Central with him, but he has sworn his loyalty to that site's co-webmaster, and I gotta respect that. However, when he read my Marx Bros. reviews, he sent me a "counterpoint" E-mail with his views on these movies. John's insights were too good to delete, so with his permission, I have posted them here. If you like his writing, by all means visit Laurel and Hardy Central for more.
Anyway, hoping this finds you, I beg to remain
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