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Sunday, May 25, 2008

MONKEY BUSINESS (1931)


The Marx Bros. first Hollywood production (the first two pics were made in Astoria, Queens) doesn’t really get going until Harpo’s tremendous Punch & Judy routine two reels in. But after that it’s one hilarious scene after another, and with an unusually well conceived (if loosely followed) plot. To wit, the boys (Chico, Harpo, Groucho & Zeppo, don't forget Zeppo) are divided and hired in pairs to protect rival gangsters on board a ship they’re stowaways on. Margaret Dumont is around for Groucho to kick about, but Thelma Todd brings something special to the scene since Groucho also gets to kid around about sex with someone who's actually sexy, in addition to the usual topics of money and class. And boy was she game! Watch fast as Zeppo gets a rare opportunity to land a joke.

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