Tag Archives: ranking the Marx Brothers movies


Balladeer’s Blog’s usual “waiting for results to something” mode is to watch a comedy marathon. Let’s go for a vintage feel this time with a look at my Top Five Marx Brothers Movies.

cocoanuts5. THE COCOANUTS (1929) – The Plot (As if it mattered) – A hotel manager (Groucho) plots a real estate swindle during the Florida land boom while a jewel theft on the premises attracts unwanted attention from the law. Chico and Harpo sow all manner of confusion while Margaret Dumont and Zeppo are on hand in their familiar and comfortable straight roles.

Comment: Already I can hear the screams from Marx Brothers fans. How DARE I relegate to FIFTH place a movie based on the brothers’ Broadway hit written by THE George S Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind! 

Easy. No matter how good the play was The Cocoanuts movie suffers from too many of the typical weaknesses of early talkies. The tinny sound, plus the way the maps, telegrams and newspapers handled by the characters are obviously water-logged to keep the crackling from being picked up on the late 1920s sound equipment.

mascot sword and gun pic


And most importantly the inclusion of pointless music and dance numbers in the “hey, we have sound now, so let’s REALLY show it off” spirit of early talkies. The hopelessly dull romantic couple slow things down, too.

I find myself fast-forwarding through this flick more than any other Marx Brothers movie. Even The Big Store. We need a Fan Edit of this flick including ONLY the comedy routines, which I agree are all classics. “Did anyone ever tell you you look like the Prince of Wales?” Continue reading


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