Monkey Business

Overview

The first Marx Brothers film to be written directly for the screen its authors included S. J. Perelman, Arthur Sheekman and Will B. Johnstone, Monkey Business is also the merry Marxes' first Hollywood production. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo are brilliantly cast as four stowaways on an ocean liner, bound for New York. As our heroes endeavor to elude dimwitted First Mate Gibson Tom Kennedy, each of the brothers gets involved in an adventure of his own. Groucho finds himself in a menage a trois with gangster ...
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Overview

The first Marx Brothers film to be written directly for the screen its authors included S. J. Perelman, Arthur Sheekman and Will B. Johnstone, Monkey Business is also the merry Marxes' first Hollywood production. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo are brilliantly cast as four stowaways on an ocean liner, bound for New York. As our heroes endeavor to elude dimwitted First Mate Gibson Tom Kennedy, each of the brothers gets involved in an adventure of his own. Groucho finds himself in a menage a trois with gangster Alky Briggs Harry Briggs and Briggs' sexy wife Lucille Thelma Todd; Harpo joins a "Punch and Judy" puppet show, driving the ship's crew into a frenzy of confusion; Chico hires himself out as bodyguard to retired bootlegger Joe Helton Rockliffe Fellowes; and Zeppo romances Joe's pretty daughter Mary Ruth Hall. Once they've arrived in New York, the Marx boys head to Helton's Long Island mansion, where, after the obligatory harp-and-piano musical interludes, the fearsome foursome team up to rescue Mary from her kidnappers. There are far too many wonderful moments in Monkey Business to detail here, but highlights include Groucho's initial confrontation with Alky Briggs "With a little study, you'll go a long way, and I wish you'd start now!" and his romantic tete-a-tetes with Lucille "Come with me, and we'll lodge with my fleas in the hills -- er, flee to my lodge in the hills"; Harpo and Chico's attempts to shave a sleeping barbershop customer "You know what, partner? I think we give-a him one snoop too much"; and the classic setpiece, "borrowed" from the team's early Broadway hit I'll Say She Is, in which all Four Marx Brothers try to slip past the customs officials by posing as Maurice Chevalier! Though not the best of their Paramount features, Monkey Business is still among the funniest Marx Brothers comedies ever made -- and one of the funniest comedies, period.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Until Monkey Business was filmed in 1931, the fabulous Marx Brothers had made only films adapted from their stage comedies. Noted humorist S. J. Perelman was the leading force among the writers who concocted this zany tale about four stowaways on an ocean liner. The title is a perfect one for a Marx movie even if the film doesn't have anything to do with monkeys. When the brothers are practicing their hijinks aboard the ship, the sight gags, pratfalls and quips are virtually non-stop. After they each imitate the actor Maurice Chevalier while going through customs, however, the jokes dissipate, and the second half of the movie, which takes place in a New York mansion, is not nearly as frenetic. Some consider this the best Marx Brothers movie, but many viewers and critics prefer Duck Soup.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/18/1994
  • UPC: 096898017237
  • Original Release: 1931
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Groucho Marx Stowaway
Harpo Marx Harpo
Chico Marx Chico
Zeppo Marx Zeppo
Thelma Todd Lucille
Tom Kennedy Gibson
Ruth Hall Mary Helton
Rockliffe Fellowes Joe Helton
Harry Woods Alky Briggs
Maxine Castle Opera Singer
Evelyn Pierce Manicurist
Ben Taggart Capt. Corcoran
Eddie Baker
Otto H. Fries 2nd Mate
Marx Brothers
Technical Credits
Norman Z. McLeod Director
Will B. Johnstone Original Story
Herman Mankiewicz Producer
S.J. Perelman Original Story, Screenwriter
Roland Pertwee Original Story
Arthur Sheekman Screenwriter
Arthur Todd Cinematographer
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