“This is the only way to travel, boys — the only way!”
The Marx Brothers stow away on an ocean liner, and soon find themselves working as bodyguards for rival gangsters.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- At Sea
- Marx Brothers Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, it’s likely “that the Marx Brothers were never more energetic” than in Monkey Business, their first film written directly for the screen. It’s pure, zany comedy the entire way through, with amusing wordplay coming a mile a minute, and endless gags easily overwhelming the unimportant storyline. With that said, I’ll admit I don’t enjoy Monkey Business as much as the Brothers’ more narratively-polished films (such as A Night at the Opera); I also miss the inimitable presence of the “fifth Marx Brother”, Margaret Dumont. Nonetheless, it remains essential viewing for anyone seriously interested in the history of comedic cinema.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Plenty of zany sequences — as when the well-meaning Chico and Harpo gradually “trim” off a man’s entire mustache
- Harpo accompanying a soprano while she sings “O Sole Mio”, then performing his own piece (my favorite moment in the entire film)
- Countless hilarious puns (most by Chico) and one-liners (most by Groucho):
“You’re just wasting your breath — and that’s no great loss, either.”
Yes. While it’s not quite on a level with either A Night at the Opera (1935) or Duck Soup (1933), Monkey Business should be seen by all film fanatics.