THE MARX BROTHERS AT THE MOVIES by Burt & Paul Zimmerman Goldblatt


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Leonard, Adolph and Julius, three slum sons who made it as Chico. Harpo and Groucho are now immortalized in film festivals and in this book which certainly succeeds as a critique of the kind of raucous, pun-filled, fun-filled, anarchical comedy they represented. There is a clever breakdown of each movie and the lines can stand alone. And there are lovely snatches of the clowns offstage--in the stone cold story conferences: literally smoking out their producer Irving Thalberg when he kept them barred from his inner sanctum: incorporating S. J. Perelman's humor into a sketch (the Perils of Perelman at that point) and breaking up a young orchestral violinist Benny Kubelsky, later known ""Weh-ll!"" as Jack Benny. It was an era of antics and even one writer, George S. Kaufman had a hard time keeping up--""How can you write for Harpo? . . . All you can say is, 'Harpo enters!'"" Another writer could, Al Boasbery, the one line gagster who didn't like to be rushed--in retaliation he pasted an entire script Scene on the ceiling of his office. . . in 1,000 one-line strips. For the merry Marxists, it'll be Duck Soup.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1968
Publisher: Putnam