Horse Feathers

Overview

If ever there was an archetypal Marx Brothers comedy, it was the team's 1932 offering Horse Feathers. Groucho Marx is cast as Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the newest president of Huxley College. As he delivers his introductory speech before the assembled student body "As I look out among your smiling, eager faces, I can readily understand why this college is flat on its back", he maps out his plans for the future by singing those deathless hits "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It" and "I Always Get My Man." He ...
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Overview

If ever there was an archetypal Marx Brothers comedy, it was the team's 1932 offering Horse Feathers. Groucho Marx is cast as Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the newest president of Huxley College. As he delivers his introductory speech before the assembled student body "As I look out among your smiling, eager faces, I can readily understand why this college is flat on its back", he maps out his plans for the future by singing those deathless hits "Whatever It Is, I'm Against It" and "I Always Get My Man." He then has a powwow with his son Frank Zeppo Marx, who has been a Huxley student for 12 years. Frank tells his old man that Huxley has had a new president every year since 1888, the year the college won its last football game. The only way to save the establishment is to hire a couple of good football players, Mullen and McHardie Jim Pierce and Nat Pendleton, who hang out at the local speakeasy. With his usual efficiency, Professor Wagstaff signs up the wrong men for the Huxley team: Baravelli Chico Marx, the ice man/bootlegger, and Pinky Harpo Marx the dog catcher. Meanwhile, gambler Jennings David Landau, who has all his money bet on Darwin College in the upcoming Thanksgiving Day football game, instructs his girlfriend Connie Bailey Thelma Todd, the college widow, to get her hands on Huxley's secret football signals. This leads to a frenetic four-way courtship in Connie's apartment, as Wagstaff, Baravelli, Pinky and Frank duck in and out of doors and windows to romance the heroine. Later on, Baravelli and Pinky try to kidnap Mullen and McHardie to keep them out of the Big Game, only to end up kidnapped themselves. Miraculously, all four of our heroes show up at the Huxley-Darwin game in time, achieving victory through some of the most creative cheating in gridiron history. Written by such renowned wits as S. J. Perelman, Will B. Johnstone, Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Horse Feathers is a comedy smorgasbord, offering generous doses of all four Marx Brothers performing some of their best-ever material. Who could not love a film in which, just before Chico Marx launches into his obligatory piano solo, Groucho saunters up to the camera and growls "I've got to stay here, but that's no reason why you folks can't go into the lobby until this thing blows over"?
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Marx Brothers' fourth film, the version of Horse Feathers that exists today is missing several minutes, making the film choppy and occasionally jarring, but there's such an abundance of inspired lunacy that it hardly matters. Feathers makes no more sense than most of the boys' films, and that's exactly the way it should be. Ostensibly a parody of the college films that had become popular at the time, Feathers is really an attack on everything conventional -- including rational moviemaking. More technically polished than Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, it still revels in anarchy and elevates the non-sequitur as close to an art form as it can get. The movie is filled with Groucho's special brand of humor (e.g., "Why don't you go home to your wife? I'll tell you what, I'll go home to your wife and, outside of the improvement, she'll never know the difference,") and features one of his signature songs, "I'm Against It," as well as the very popular "Everyone Says I Love You." Other highlights include the classic exchange involving the password "swordfish," a delightfully silly classroom shoot-out and a deliciously zany football game send-up featuring the boys in a sanitation wagon disguised as a Roman chariot. Director Norman Z. McLeod keeps the camera trained on the boys and then gets out of the way, but he does manage some well staged moments in the finale. Most importantly, he keeps the pace from flagging, even during the Zeppo sequences, with the result that there's hardly a wasted moment in the film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/7/2011
  • UPC: 025192084683
  • Original Release: 1932
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Pan & Scan / Dubbed
  • Time: 1:07:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 38,308

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Groucho Marx Prof. Ouincy Adams Wagstaff
Chico Marx Barovelli
Harpo Marx Pinky
Zeppo Marx Frank Wagstaff
Thelma Todd Connie Bailey
David Landau Jennings
Florine McKinney Peggy Carrington
James Pierce Mullen
Reginald Barlow Retiring President of Huxley College
E.H. Calvert Professor in Wagstaff's Study
Robert Craig The Biology Professor
Marx Brothers
Nat Pendleton MacHardie
Edward J. Le Saint Profs. in Wagstaff's Study
Technical Credits
Norman Z. McLeod Director
Ray June Cinematographer
Bert Kalmar Screenwriter
Herman Mankiewicz Producer
S.J. Perelman Screenwriter
Harry Ruby Score Composer, Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Horse Feathers
1. Main Titles [:53]
2. Huxley's New Professor [2:56]
3. I'm Against It [3:06]
4. This School Needs Players [2:17]
5. The Password is "Swordfish" [7:09]
6. I Love You [1:48]
7. The Dog Catcher [2:01]
8. Signing New Recruits [4:10]
9. Let That Be a Lesson [5:17]
10. The College Widow [4:53]
11. Singing Lessons [3:47]
12. Tipped Off [2:54]
13. Harp Serenade [3:20]
14. Romanced for Information [4:14]
15. Attempted Kidnapping [5:57]
16. Time to Play [3:47]
17. Huxley's Heroes [7:04]
18. We Do (End Titles) [1:02]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Horse Feathers
   Scenes
   Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
         Español
      Captions & Subtitles
         Captioned for the Hearing Impaired: English
         Subtitles: Español
         Subtitles: Français
         Subtitles: None
   Play
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