When Sam Wood’s Marx Bros epic was re-released in 1948, it wasn’t gingerly re-edited.

Someone took a cleaver to it, whilst removing five minutes of mayhem.

The deletions were presumably destroyed.

No original prints are known to exist.

So what we have is the 1948 cut of the 1935 film featuring three of the four Marx Brothers, affectionately known to fans as “The Boys.”

The Brothers Marx began their feature film career at the Paramount Astoria Studios in Queens, NY in 1929 with The Coconuts, and followed with Animal Crackers (also Astoria) in 1930. Both were sound on disc releases.

In 1931 they moved west, and continued their Paramount series with Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933).

They had moved to M-G-M in Culver City for A Night at the Opera, hence this Warner Archive release, and appeared in another four films, as well as Room Service for RKO.

Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray looks fine. It’s derived from a duplicate printing negative, and is therefore presumably third generation. It’s perfectly okay. Just nothing special.

In my estimation and I do love the antics of The Boys, they had one more quality film ahead of them – A Day at the Races (1937), which I believe has superb extant film elements. Had they quit then…

With all of the Paramount films available from Universal, there’s but one more major title to come from Warner, and I’ll be quite happy.

Image – 3.5

Audio – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Highly Recommended

RAH
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Robert Crawford

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I hope people don't get too fixated on that 3.5 image grade because something tells me most of our video grades will be higher than RAH's. I'm thinking more like 4.5 as this will probably be the best we've ever seen this movie. It's probably the best we'll ever see it.
 

Robert Harris

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I hope people don't get too fixated on that 3.5 image grade because something tells me most of our video grades will be higher than RAH's. I'm thinking more like 4.5 as this will probably be the best we've ever seen this movie. It's probably the best we'll ever see it.
It's the best we're apt to see it on a home video platform, unless an additional element is discovered.
 

Angelo Colombus

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Happy Warner Archive did release this and i will keep my Criterion laserdisc which has publicity film footage, stills, the theatrical trailer and the "farewell" trailer from The Big Store. I hope for another Marx Brothers release they will include the documentary "The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell" (1982) narrated by Gene Kelly.
 

Robert Harris

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Happy Warner Archive did release this and i will keep my Criterion laserdisc which has publicity film footage, stills, the theatrical trailer and the "farewell" trailer from The Big Store. I hope for another Marx Brothers release they will include the documentary "The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell" (1982) narrated by Gene Kelly.
That appears to be a Rollins / Joffe Prod, distributed by PBS.
 

BobO'Link

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With all of the Paramount films available from Universal, there's but one more major title to come from Warner, and I'll be quite happy.
I'm greedy... I want them all... even their lesser films. Hopefully A Day at the Races will be coming soon and the last 4 will at least receive double-feature BR releases like was done with the DVDs.
 

PMBen

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One Marx aficionado discovered that a print at Hungary's national film archive has a few bits of extra footage that aren't available anywhere else. Apparently he let WB know about this, but his discovery was met with total indifference. It's such a shame: if the extra footage is there, it would be amazing to have it reinserted or included as an extra.
 

darkrock17

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What exactly is missing from this film? The only thing I’ve ever heard of being missing and then restored was Animal Crackers.
 

BobO'Link

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Wikipedia:
According to MGM's dialogue cutting continuity and Leonard Maltin's audio commentary on the current DVD release, the film originally began (after the opening credits) with the image of a "boat on canal". A superimposed title read, "ITALY – WHERE THEY SING ALL DAY AND GO TO THE OPERA AT NIGHT", and was followed by a musical number featuring bits and pieces from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci performed by "everyday" Italians: a street sweeper sings part of the prologue ("Un nido di memorie...") as he greets a man who then hands out opera tickets to a group of children emerging from a store; the children respond with "la-la-la-la-la, verso un paese strano" (from "Stridono lassù"); a "captain" comes down a set of steps, salutes a sentry, then bursts into "Vesti la giubba"; then, a lap dissolve into a hotel lobby, where a "baggage man" is rolling a trunk and crooning about "nettare divino" ("divine nectar"); a waiter joins the baggage man in song, enters the dining room, and sings as he serves a man who for a few notes also sings; the waiter then crosses the dining room to speak to Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont), marking the beginning of the film in existing copies.

...This notable cut, with several other small ones made at about the same time, is why the stated running time of the film (95 minutes) was three
minutes longer than that of existing prints.
 

Patrick McCart

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One Marx aficionado discovered that a print at Hungary's national film archive has a few bits of extra footage that aren't available anywhere else. Apparently he let WB know about this, but his discovery was met with total indifference. It's such a shame: if the extra footage is there, it would be amazing to have it reinserted or included as an extra.
I recall seeing a post by someone in the know on a reputable forum that the print was apparently never given to the Hungarian archive, so might be a similar situation to the person claiming to have Four Devils and simply disappearing as soon as the right questions were being asked. Given that WB moved mountains to get the Hello Pop! print repatriated from Australia a few years ago, I doubt they would have overlooked this one.
 
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PMBen

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Here's a podcast show that includes an interview with the Hungarian alleged discoverer:

 

battlebeast

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Warner’s said they wouldn’t release the film without the missing footage. The same was with VIVA VILLA! (Which they found.) if they new about the missing footage, I think they would have taken it and used it. They don’t like to release imperfect films.
 

AnthonyClarke

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With all that detail about the missing footage, it seems it would be a simple task to reshoot the missing sequences.
They don't involve the Marx Brothers, after all.
And we have the added advantage that the new footage could be in glorious Widescreen Stereophonic Technicolor.
A missed opportunity, alas.
If Warners takes up this idea, maybe Robert Harris could be co-opted to direct this new sequence with all necessary flamboyant discretion.
 

Richard Gallagher

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I'm greedy... I want them all... even their lesser films. Hopefully A Day at the Races will be coming soon and the last 4 will at least receive double-feature BR releases like was done with the DVDs.

I saw A Day at the Races in a double feature with Ninotchka at the Thalia in NYC in 1970 or 1971. That was an afternoon of mirth!
 

PMBen

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Here's a quote from Tom Racz's depiction of what's supposedly in the Hungarian print:

"I watched the first reel of the print of the Hungarian National Film Archive, to find two additional shots, two additional sentences, and different angles of already known shots. The first thing that absolutely shocked me was that when Harpo and Chico are backstage, the music of the opera was loud, and instead of the shot of Lasparri singing in his white clothes, they showed a man singing who wasn't him, and he wore different clothes. Then Chico said to Allan Jones "Someday you're gonna be where Lasparri is", but the man who was singing wasn't Lasparri at all. The other shock was when Kitty Carlisle was singing. It was her, but she sang a different part of the opera, and she was only shown above the waist, rather than what is in the DVD version, where she is standing, and we can see a man behind her. In the scene, when Groucho and Chico first meet, when they are standing on Lasparri, I found two additional sentences.

Chico: "I'm a stranger here myself"
(This line is in the DVD edition, but right after it you can see a jump cut)
Groucho: "Aren't you an italian?"
Chico: "No, only my mama and papa is italian."
Groucho: "What's his name?"
(referring to the tenor he wants to sign)
Chico : "It's an italian name."
(This was cut)"I can't pronunce it."

As you can see references to Italy were indeed cut, but it still does not contain the 4 minute street singing intro that people were talking about. Unfortunately I could only watch the first reel, which ends in the middle of the contract scene. It was extremely expensive to do. It cost me two times more than to buy the DVD. I asked them about transferring this version to DVD just to preserve the film, and they told me that it would cost a lot of money, and that I have to speak to the owner of the rights of this film."
 

B-ROLL

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To Tell The Truth I ordered this for Kitty Carlisle (that is her voice - she refused to allow a dubbed voice). And for what it's worth
Marx Brothers GIF by Maudit
there ain't no Sanity Clause ;)!