The Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo) are the reigning "Kings of Comedy" and remain one of the most iconic comic teams of all time. This boxed set captures some of their very best and includes the only five movies that feature all four brothers. Filled with unforgettable comedy sketches, musical numbers, witty dialog and a boat load of gags, this collection includes The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and their most popular movie, Duck Soup. Each film has undergone an extensive restoration process by Universal Pictures and includes hours of bonus material. This set would make a great gift under the tree for Christmas for any movie lover!
Black and White, 1080p, Dolby Digital 1.0, Rated PG
The Cocoanuts (1929) 96 minutes, Animal Crackers (1930) 97 minutes, Monkey Business (1931) 77 minutes, Horse Feathers (1932) 68 minutes and Duck Soup (1933) 68 minutes
Violence: Side splitting humor
I have always considered the Marx Brothers to be a more cerebral and refined version of the other famous Jewish comedy team, The Three Stooges. In reality, they were so much more than the Stooges. The Stooges were more physical and slap stick, where the Marx Brothers had acerbic wit and could leave your mind spinning with their quick and relentless banter. Over the years of growing up I have seen these movies (edited) with some pretty awful prints, but I am pleased to tell you that these films have been lovingly restored and the prints are virtually without scratches and dirt blemishes. Animal Crackers comes with newly discovered footage that has not been seen since 1936. Of the 5 films, The Cocoanuts has a few rough spots in it that could not be fixed, but considering the age of these films, they all look remarkably good. Groucho’s mustache is a real hoot to see in close-ups. Harpo, with his childlike innocence can say more with an expression then almost any modern comedian can today. Chico with his accent plays the perfect foil to Groucho and Zeppo got to play the straight man…and win the girl.
I will admit some of the rapid fire banter and insults went over my head as I realized that they were probably funny at the time…and that "time" was almost 70 years ago. But still, I am in awe of their comedic timing and dialog, especially since there just isn’t anything like them and likely never will be again. Vaudeville is gone, but thanks for the memories boys!
As mentioned, the films look excellent and it is not likely that you will ever see them more improved upon than here. Sure, they can get remastered in 4K, but there is only so much film grain you can capture and HDR is useless. The sound is also very clean without pops and crackles. Almost every movie has a solo with Harpo and his music provided an oasis in the middle of chaos. These guys had talent as they were a Vaudeville act before going up on the big screen, so amongst everything else, they could sing and dance too. Universal did an outstanding job with this release.
Included are: Hollywood’s Kings of Chaos- an all new feature length documentary with interviews by Dick Cavett, Leonard Maltin, filmmakers and historians. 5 new feature commentaries with Harpo’s son, Bill Marx. And lastly: Inside the NBC Vault- The Today’s Show interview with Harpo, Grouch and Bill Marx featuring rarely seen home movies. And a collectible exclusive booklet, The Marx Brothers: From Vaudeville to Hollywood, which includes rare photographs, essays and more.