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The Marx Brothers

 
 
 
   
             
           
 
 

ANIMAL CRACKERS

                     
 

Paramount-Publix, 1930. Directed by Victor Heerman.  Camera:  George Folsey.  With Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Lillian Roth, Donald MacBride.

       
           
       
           

In their second movie for Paramount, the Marx Brothers once again took a successful Broadway play to the silver screen.  In this outing, Groucho plays Captain Jeffrey Spalding, the guest of honor at a Long Island party (accompanied by Zeppo as his field secretary, Horatio Jamison) being given by Mrs. Rittenhous (Margaret Dumont).  Roscoe W. Chandler (Louis Sorin) is displaying a painting, Beaugard's "After the Hunt," in honor of Captain Spalding's visit.

Of course, two of the guests at the party have made copies of this painting and, for their own reasons, want their copies displayed in place of the original. Harpo (as The Professor) and Chico (as Signor Emanuel Ravelli) roll in to add a little music and larceny, and then the fun begins.

This film features one of Groucho's most memorable tunes, "Captain Spalding." An interesting factoid about "Captain Spalding" is that one line of Groucho's lyric was removed from the released version. Originally, Groucho answered Mrs. Rittenhous' line, "He's the only white man who covered every acre," with "I think I'll try to make her."  I guess 1930 audiences weren't ready for such a bold line.  This film also contains one of the few scenes in which Zeppo was actually allowed to be funny, as he takes the liberty of interpreting Groucho's letter to his lawyer, Honorable Charles H. Hungadunga.

Why a Duck?

Poster artwork and additional photos courtesy of Gunnar, Gary, and Frances