God, how I *hate* Marx Bros films

Crispin

Novice Member
"OK" I thought.
"Maybe I've got it wrong all these years and there is something to them that I just haven't got yet"

So I sit down with a fresh and sober mind to watch "Duck Soup" on the new free Film Four channel - a film that is recognised as their best work. Supposedly a 'masterpiece' even.

Oh
My
God!!

What a dreadful start.
And then everyone starts SINGING???

And Groucho, is he supposed to be funny? Well maybe like Syed off The Apprentice, perhaps... but is this supposed to make me laugh??

Look, I know it was made in 1933 - and it was probably revolutionary then. But now?

I turned off after 15 mins of this awful claptrap.
Tell me honestly - am I missing something?
 

Donnacha

Distinguished Member
Funnily enough Duck Soup is not my favourite Marx Bros film, Horse Feathers / Monkey Business and Animal Crackers I think are funnier!!

I like 'em, and some of it is as fresh and funny today as way back then. But each to their own. Alot of today's comedy I don't find funny!
 

PlexShaw

Well-known Member
Crispin said:
Tell me honestly - am I missing something?
Probably.
 
J

jordanash

Guest
Crispin said:
I turned off after 15 mins of this awful claptrap.
Tell me honestly - am I missing something?

You should tell us which comedy films you do "get". Directors in the 1930s had the freedom to be zany, anarchic. Have you seen Bringing Up Baby ? Nowadays that zany-ness is seen in the crude, dumbed down humour of films like American Pie etc. I don't "get" that sort of film.
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member

canlabmaster

Active Member
What you're probably missing is the presence of a live (preferably enthusiastic) cinema audience around you. I was converted (many, many years ago now) by seeing them this way. It works for Laurel and Hardy too. What appear to be overlong pauses with no dialogue, the tie-twiddling, the eye rolling - it becomes clear that these are methods for timing the laughs to die down. With the Marx Brothers, watch the Tutsi-Frutsi ice cream sketch (from A Day at the Races) with Groucho and Chico on your own and it seems very sluggish, but watch it with people around you and it comes to life. The Marxes actually road-tested their material before committing it to film, just so they could eliminate poor material and time the laughs.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I don't find the Marx Bros films funny either and the same goes for Charlie Chaplin and most of all Woody Allen.
I enjoy a wide range of comedy, but these I just don't get along with at all.
 

pjclark1

Novice Member
A day at the races
A Night at the Opera

are both far superior IMHO
 

Crispin

Novice Member
canlabmaster said:
What you're probably missing is the presence of a live (preferably enthusiastic) cinema audience around you. I was converted (many, many years ago now) by seeing them this way. It works for Laurel and Hardy too.

But there you go.
I find L & H eminently watchable - and very funny. I find their films fascinating historical documents of America at that time as well as supremely well-timed comedy.
I hope I'm not a complete luddite.
 

Crispin

Novice Member
Pleasence said:
Only gave it 15mins and thought you'd post to complain about it? This has got to be flamebait.

I think that 15 minutes is plenty of time to 'get a feel' of whether you're going to like a film or not.
Are you telling me that you don't ever judge a film until you've seen the whole thing?
And yes - if it's really tedious I will switch off by then. There are better things to do that watch godawful movies.
Another one was "The 5000 Fingers of Dr T." which was supposed to be a surreal masterpiece. I turned that off out of sheer embarrassment that someone would walk in the room and see me watching it.
 

PlexShaw

Well-known Member
Crispin said:
I think that 15 minutes is plenty of time to 'get a feel' of whether you're going to like a film or not.
The only problem is that it doesn't give your rant much credibility - especially when you're denoucing it as "awful claptrap".
 

Mendes

Well-known Member
I must admit id never any of the Marx Bros. but watched some of 'Horse Feathers' and the last part of 'Monkey Business' and I enjoyed them both. Groucho is by far the funnier of the brothers, tho the Harp playing and Piano playing is very good. Will hopefully get to 'Duck Soup' when it's repeated on Sunday (I think).

However I agree with the poster above about Chaplain, Ive sat and watched some of his stuff and hardly laughed.
 

stu232

Active Member
Give me some Will Hay or L & H any day.

Marx Bros. do nothing for me either I'm afraid.
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
stu232 said:
Give me some Will Hay or L & H any day.

Marx Bros. do nothing for me either I'm afraid.

Will Hay :thumbsup:

I think you're the first person I've ever seen mention him, most people have no idea who he is :thumbsdow

When the hell is somebody going to release Where's That Fire? on dvd? :mad:
 

Garrett

Moderator

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
Garrett said:

oops missed that one :blush:

ok, there are 3 of us :D

Garrett said:
Great team when he was with Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt.
Yeah they were the best films, I never get tired of watching Oh Mr.Porter and Ask a Policeman :)
 

FruitBat

Well-known Member
pRot3us said:
Will Hay :thumbsup:

I think you're the first person I've ever seen mention him, most people have no idea who he is :thumbsdow
cough cough

Best British comedy top 5

post 14

Actually, pRot3us, you replied with a mention of Will Hay (post 16). Looks like you didn't spot my reference to The Goose Steps Out.


Not a big fan of the Marx Brothers, but the mirror scene in Duck Soup is not one that I am able to watch with a full bladder.
 

Garrett

Moderator
Sounds like a lot of sore throats going round.:D Thats 4 of us then.

I wonder if the US show Will Hay films as much as we show their stars.
 

Crispin

Novice Member
PlexShaw said:
The only problem is that it doesn't give your rant much credibility - especially when you're denoucing it as "awful claptrap".

Fair point.
I shouldn't really label a film as 'claptrap' unless I've sat through the whole thing.
But then again - do we have to watch all of, say, "Charlie's Angels" 1 or 2 to come to this conclusion?
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
Garrett said:
Sounds like a lot of sore throats going round.:D Thats 4 of us then.


:D

ok,ok I've missed a couple of posts

Garrett said:
I wonder if the US show Will Hay films as much as we show their stars.
I very much doubt it :thumbsdow
 

Garrett

Moderator
pRot3us said:
Id rather have Night Nurse go to bed on.:devil:

Back on topic I prefer the silent stars and the ones from them that moved to the talkies to The Marx Brothers. Some of the stuff is quite clever but I can only watch them in bits at a time. Watching one of there films all the way through seems a chore. Will have to tray and watch one again as I've not watch one fully for ages.
 

Garrett

Moderator
Just been watching a bit of Duck Soup which I have not seen for ages and thought some of the humour far in advance of the 1933 some of it surreal which Im sure went over the heads of some of the audience. I must say I was laughing quite a bit in the short time I watched it.
 

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