The Big Store

Overview

The last of the Marx Bros.' MGM films, The Big Store is also the least -- though a few good gags manage to seep through the overall tedium. Groucho Marx plays two-bit detective Wolf J. Flywheel, hired by department-store owner Martha Phelps Margaret Dumont to act as bodyguard for Martha's nephew and sole heir Tommy Rogers Tony Martin. Crooked store manager Grover Douglas Dumbrille is anxious to take over the operation and to hide the fact that he's been juggling the books; to expedite this, he has arranged ...
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Virginia O'Brien, Marion Martin, 01/27/1993 VHS New 1941 Run time: 84.

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Overview

The last of the Marx Bros.' MGM films, The Big Store is also the least -- though a few good gags manage to seep through the overall tedium. Groucho Marx plays two-bit detective Wolf J. Flywheel, hired by department-store owner Martha Phelps Margaret Dumont to act as bodyguard for Martha's nephew and sole heir Tommy Rogers Tony Martin. Crooked store manager Grover Douglas Dumbrille is anxious to take over the operation and to hide the fact that he's been juggling the books; to expedite this, he has arranged several "accidents" to put Tommy out of the way. Despite his monumental ineptitude, Flywheel manages to protect Tommy from harm, with the help of his mute assistant Wacky Harpo Marx and Tommy's music-teacher pal Ravelli Chico Marx. After a series of yawn-provoking complications, Grover tries once more to kill Tommy during a musical reception given in honor of the store's merger with the Hastings Brothers. When this also fails, he kidnaps Tommy's girl friend Joan Virginia Grey, a bit of skullduggery captured on film by camera-wielding Ravelli. Grover's efforts to get his hands on the incriminating photo leads to a zany slapstick chase through the department store, culminating in the villain's capture "I told you in the first reel he was a crook," observes Flywheel and a happy ending for Tommy and Joan. The opening routine in Groucho's seedy office and Harpo's harp solo in which, through trick photography, he accompanies himself on flute and bass violin are the only scenes truly worth watching in The Big Store; the big-chase finale is compromised by the fact that the Marx Bros.' stunt doubles do all the work, while the film's major production number, "Tenement Symphony," is downright embarrassing. The Marxes were so disappointed with The Big Store that they vowed to quit moviemaking altogether-only to return to the screen five years later in A Night in Casablanca.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/27/1993
  • UPC: 027616084538
  • Original Release: 1941
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Warner)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Groucho Marx Wolf J. Flywheel
Chico Marx Ravelli
Harpo Marx Wacky
Tony Martin Tommy Rogers
Virginia Grey Joan Sutton
Margaret Dumont Martha Phelps
Douglas Dumbrille Mr. Grover
William Tannen Fred Sutton
Marion Martin Peggy Arden
Virginia O'Brien Kitty
Henry Armetta Giuseppe
Anna Demetrio Maria
Paul Stanton George Hastings
Russell Hicks Arthur Hastings
Bradley Page Duke
Charles Holland
Marx Brothers
Clara Blandick
Harry C. Bradley
Technical Credits
Charles "Chuck" Riesner Director
Arthur Appell Choreography
Arthur Jacob Arshawsky Songwriter
George Bassman Score Composer
Hal Borne Score Composer, Songwriter
Milton Drake Songwriter
Hal Fimberg Songwriter, Screenwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Ray Golden Songwriter, Screenwriter
Sid Kuller Songwriter, Screenwriter
Charles Lawton Cinematographer
Conrad A. Nervig Editor
Ben Oakland Songwriter
Nat Perrin Original Story
Stanley Rogers Art Director
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Louis K. Sidney Producer
George Stoll Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2008

    Marx Brothers Magic

    For true Marx Brothers fans, this was my favorite of their movies yet despite critical reviews. If you appreciate their individual comedic styles, usually unexpected and creatively imaginative romps, and charm in general, then this movie is a "must-have" for your collection. Aside from a few tolerable flat points in ingenuity, previous and ensuing scenes had me laughing out loud.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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