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8.03.2009

The Marx Brothers I: The Cocoanuts

One of the earliest films made in the U.S. was the first movie by the Marx Brothers, The Cocoanuts. Not a comedic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, it's turgid and only sporadically funny, dragged out by long boring musical numbers. (It's notable for having an Irving Berlin score with NO memorable hits...) It's sort of like watching those early Simpsons cartoons from the Tracey Ullman show. The characters aren't fully formed yet, but the basics are there. The selection below manages to show both elements of The Cocoanuts, the boring musical bit and a great skit with all of The Marx Brothers present. You get Groucho in a crazy suit, Chico being a wise-ass, Harpo's pantomime, the ever-clueless, ever-perfect Margaret Dumont and a big doofus who gets his shirt stolen. Again, it's not a great movie, but it does have it's moments. But wait until you've seen the next seven movies before rushing to check this one out. (Rating: 6 out of 10)

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