The Marx Brothers Collection on DVD
Even at their worst the Marx Brothers could still elicit a belly laugh or two,
and that makes this boxed set a must own for fans.
Okay, it doesnt have my personal favorites, Duck Soup and Animal Crackers,
but theres still a lot to love here. You get A Night at the Opera, A Day
at the Races, A Night in Casablanca, Room Service, At the Circus, Go West and
The Big Store - seven titles on five discs and how can you beat that?
Well, you also get some extras, which is even more delightful.
A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races were the first flicks the brothers
made for MGM hits, and they were well-deserved box office hits. Theyre
also well produced as long as you dont mind seeing the occasional
wall bow outward when someone slams a door.
A Night at the Opera is the best of the bunch, as long as you dont mind
sitting though some real operatic stuff, and it includes such Marx classics
as the Stateroom scene, Groucho-Chicos contract negotiation, and the like,
and of course its always great to have Margaret Dumont's upper-crust persona
along to be abused by Groucho and his bros. She wasnt a great actress,
but she sure must have had patience!
A Day at the Races is nearly as good, but from there the quality definitely
gets spotty. Go West and The Big Store are the worst, though of course that
doesnt mean they arent worth seeing. These are, after all, the Marx
Warners has done a nice job on this boxed set including commentaries, vintage
shorts (Our Gang, Robert Benchley comedies, MGM cartoons, etc.) and some later
interviews (Groucho's 1961 interview with TV talk-show host Hy Gardner is particularly
The omnipresent Leonard Maltin brings his usual zesty enthusiasm and knowledge
to a commentary track on Opera and there are some relatively redundant
documentaries that, if nothing else, will give newcomers to the Marx Brothers
some good background.
Video quality is probably as good as you could expect from 1930s vintage
films. Theyre all presented in the original full frame aspect ratio of
4:3 (1.33:1), so owners of 16x9 TVs should remember this in case their
TVs suffer from a burn in problem.
Audio, which of course is Dolby Digital mono, is unremarkable.
The Marx Brothers Collection, from Warner Home Entertainment
A Night at the Opera - features commentary by Leonard Maltin, All-new documentary
"Remarks on Marx," Grocho on the Hy Gardner show, 2 vintage shorts, trailer
A Day at the Races - features commentary by Marx Brothers Encyclopedia author
Glenn Mitchell, new documentary "On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!" 4 vintage shorts,
audio-only treasures: musical outtake and more, trailer
Room Service and At the Circus - features vintage shorts, trailers, more
Go West and The Big Store - features vintage shorts, radio promos, more
A Night in Casablanca - includes Bugs Bunny in "Acrobatty Bunny" vintage short
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