A Night at the Opera (1935, Sam Wood)

I thought this would be a cut above the other Marx Brothers movies since Zeppo isn’t in it, but there’s… opera. Right there in the title. Also the film’s editor doesn’t know what “comic timing” means. And anyway it’s not all madness and opera, the Zeppo romance plot is just shifted to some alternate nobodies. The Marxes made five features for Paramount, and this was the first of their plottier, less anarchic MGM era.

The lovely Rosa is Kitty Carlisle, not really a nobody, her career spanned through Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. Her hopelessly unfamous singer boyfriend Ricardo is Allan Jones of Show Boat, and the jealous spotlight-hogging star Rodolfo is Walter Woolf King (who also sang in Laurel & Hardy movies). The Bros are mostly reduced to opera singer managers in order to keep the plot moving. Once they get to the opera house finale and start swinging across the stage on ropes, it looks high-rent for one of these.

L-R: Ricardo, Rodolfo, Rosa

Harpo innocent:

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