Horse Feathers (1932, Norman Z. McLeod)

The movie is so nihilistic and immoral, I wonder if it counts as pre-code comedy, if it would’ve been allowed three years later. Aha, IMDB says there are some bits that were lost in ’35 during a post-code re-edit, including the meaning/punchline behind the guys delivering blocks of ice to the apartment of the “college widow”.

I didn’t even know there was a straight-man Marx Brother: Zeppo, here playing Groucho’s son, a student who has spent twelve years at college hanging out with the “college widow” (apparently a common term back then after Archie Mayo’s 1927 movie The College Widow, which Horse Feathers is partly parodying).

Director McLeod (who also made comedies with Cary Grant, WC Fields, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Harold Lloyd) did a fine job taking strings of unrelated scenes and jokes and stitching them together into what passes for a movie. The mad energy and nonstop jokes still make it a highly successful comedy. None of the four credited writers bear the name of Marx, so I wonder how much the Marx Bros. brought to the table besides acting. No real sense in a plot summary, since the movie itself doesn’t seem to give a damn for plot. No sense in recounting the jokes either, cuz it’s a goddamned fun flick and I’d rather forget most of it so I’ll enjoy it as much the next time.

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