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Marx Bros. Collection-Worth a blind buy?

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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Chris Bardon

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Posted May 03 2004 - 07:59 AM

Looking at the upcoming Marx Bros collection, I'm seriously considering a blind buy. I've never seen any of the films in the set, but the one Marx Bros movie I've managed to see (Animal Crackers) was hilarious. Are there any real stinkers in there that don't make the set worth owning? I actually avoided the Pink panther box set for this reason, since I read that most of the later sequels were REALLY bad. I'm almost convinced on the Marx Bros though.
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#2 of 32 OFFLINE   Conrad_SSS


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Posted May 03 2004 - 08:47 AM

My two favorite Marx Bros. films (A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and A DAY AT THE RACES) are the highlights of this boxed set, and I like all the rest of the films as well, even though they aren't as summarily brilliant as OPERA and RACES.

For me, this box was a no-brainer. The cost at DeepDiscountDvd.com is $39.55 right now. 7 movies for $40, plus tons of the great extras that Warner is famous for, that is a great bargain.

I can't imagine anyone disappointed in this set...

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#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted May 03 2004 - 08:51 AM

The only real bad Marx Brother film is "Love Happy" which is not in this set. All the films in this set are must haves for the MArx Brothers fan. For the casual viewer or fan: Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races are classics that are just about worth the price of admission. Go West and At the Circus are usually held high by fans. The Big Store, A Night in Casablanca and Room Service usually have fans split on how well they like them.
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#4 of 32 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx


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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:13 AM

simply a blind buy

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#5 of 32 OFFLINE   Jaime_Weinman


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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:14 AM

I would caution that if you like Animal Crackers it doesn't necessarily mean you'll like all the movies in this set -- the Marx's MGM films are in a different style than their Paramount movies (currently out of print), more heavy on plot, less anarchic, with more traditional slapstick humor and less surreal humor. The best of the MGM films is "A Night at the Opera," written by the writers of "Animal Crackers," George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. "A Day at the Races" is good too, though the humor is a bit more generic. "Room Service" (RKO) writes the Marx Brothers into what was originally a non-Marx comedy on Broadway, and is quite plot-heavy. "At the Circus," "Go West," and "The Big Store" are more or less in the Opera/Races style but with lower budgets and weaker scripts. In "A Night in Casablanca" they're all older and a bit tired, but the humor has some of the wackiness of the early movies (Frank Tashlin worked on the script). I think the box set is worth it for the three best movies in the set (Opera, Races, and Casablanca), but you might want to rent Opera or Races (even on VHS) to see if you like the MGM Marx style. Some people who love the Paramount movies don't care for the MGM ones.

#6 of 32 OFFLINE   Bryan Ri

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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:17 AM

I've seen all of them in the set, and if you liked Animal Crackers, it's worth a blind buy Posted Image


#7 of 32 OFFLINE   WillardK


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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:21 AM

I have to agree with Jaime's comments. While I like Opera, Races and Room Service, I will skip this set for now in waiting for Monkey Business, Duck Feathers and The Cocoanuts. oh yeah... and Horse Soup! I meant Duck Soup, of course.
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#8 of 32 OFFLINE   ChrisBEA



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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:28 AM

I am only peripherally familiar with the Marx Bros, but definitely want this set!

#9 of 32 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:45 AM

That would be Duck Soup, by the way (in reference to post before last). And that film is worth it for the Groucho/Harpo mirror routine alone. If ever there were a no-brainer of a boxset, this is it. Yep, I'm a Marxist. Opera, of course, as indicated here, is the apex of a stunning career. Love Happy, not included in the set, is the nadir (and not really a Marx Brothers film -- it's a Marilyn Monroe film with Harpo and Groucho in it). Jaime has accurately described Room Service, the other "iffy" film (canonically speaking, that is).

#10 of 32 OFFLINE   Lyle H.

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Posted May 03 2004 - 09:51 AM

4 out of the 5 Universal-owned Marx Brothers films are available in R2, sans The Cocoanuts.

To answer your question, YES! The set can be found as low as $36, that's around $6 a movie, remastered, with extras! The films are also very good aswell, with the exception of The Big Store. Here are my ratings for the films, out of five:

A Night at the Opera - ****1/2 (of *****)
A Day at the Races - **** (of ******)
Go West - **** (of *****)
A Night in Casablanca - ***1/2 (of *****)
At the Circus - ***1/2 (of *****)
The Big Store - **1/2 (of *****)
Room Service - ***1/2 (of *****)

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#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Chris*W


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Posted May 03 2004 - 10:07 AM

I've only seen the first two (Night at the Opera, Day At the Races) but I'll be picking up this set tomorrow ASAP. There's also the extras that I'm really anxious to see, like some of the short subjects: "The Daffy Doc" (curious to see if it's a restored print) and that Pete Smith short. And of course there’s the audio commentaries and the documentaries. In other words, definitely a blind buy Posted Image

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#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Matt_P


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Posted May 03 2004 - 10:10 AM

digitallyOBSESSED! has reviews up for some of these titles--one of them is this week's spotlight. Click the link below.

#13 of 32 OFFLINE   Peter Canavese

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Posted May 03 2004 - 10:59 AM

The first three of my reviews are up at http://www.grouchoreviews.com: they're of Opera, Races, and Night in Casablanca. The rest will follow, hopefully tonight.

#14 of 32 OFFLINE   Ben_@


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Posted May 03 2004 - 12:45 PM

Sorry if I sound like a WB ad-man:
Especially if you base it on price, you're getting a great deal. Plus, you never know if you'll like some of the others in the set (i.e. Room Service, which i like a lot). You could buy "Opera" and "Races" seperately, but I can't think of a reason not to get the whole set, since its only a bit more.

The next step is to get Paramount to release the rest of the Marx Bros. material. I love Duck Soup and Horse Feathers, these need to be rereased.

#15 of 32 OFFLINE   Peter Canavese

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Posted May 03 2004 - 11:17 PM

DVDFile has its Marx reviews up. I humble submit that I also now have reviews up of all 5 discs organized by full-length reviews of all 7 films. You'll find all this at www.GrouchoReviews.com.

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#16 of 32 OFFLINE   BarryRR



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Posted May 04 2004 - 05:44 AM

LOVE HAPPY is hardly even a Marilyn Monroe film--she's in it for about two minutes. It's more accurately a Harpo film, with Chico and not much of Groucho.It's usually best remembered for the finale, where Harpo is escaping from thugs via rooftop neon signs.

#17 of 32 OFFLINE   James David Walley

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Posted May 04 2004 - 06:42 PM

I must admit to a somewhat-mixed opinion of Room Service. I had a chance to see a live stage production of the original play, and it's a lot better than the Marxist adaptation. However, even if the film fell short, there was still enough great comic material to make it thoroughly entertaining. Had I not known about the original non-Marx stage version, I'd probably have thought the film near the top of their work.
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#18 of 32 OFFLINE   KamyarB



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Posted May 04 2004 - 08:43 PM

I just saw A Day at the Races the other day on Satelite, can't wait to see it on DVD again! The quality was very good, so i'm assumming the dvd will also be very good!

#19 of 32 OFFLINE   Chuck L

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Posted May 05 2004 - 01:37 AM

All I can say is that I am most pleased by WB and their regard toward classic films. Yesterday, picked up our Marx Brothers box along with several of their new Hammer titles, and I have to say that overall, I have not a complaint number one. Simply stunning. Thank you Warner for giving us these classic titles and doing them the right way.

#20 of 32 OFFLINE   Lyle H.

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Posted May 05 2004 - 01:48 AM

Can this thread be merged with the official Marx Bros. Collection thread, perhaps?

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