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I'll Say They Are!

(introduction by Steve Bailey)


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

Your webmaster,

Steve Bailey

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