The Cocoanuts

Overview

While The Four Marx Brothers Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo were appearing nightly on Broadway in Animal Crackers in the spring of 1929, they spent their days shooting their first film, The Cocoanuts, at Paramount's Astoria Studios in Long Island. Based on their 1925 stage hit, The Cocoanuts is set in Miami, where hotel manager Mr. Hammer Groucho Marx struggles to keep his establishment from going under. Hammer's only paying guest is Mrs. Potter Margaret Dumont, whose daughter Polly Mary Eaton is in love with ...
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Overview

While The Four Marx Brothers Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo were appearing nightly on Broadway in Animal Crackers in the spring of 1929, they spent their days shooting their first film, The Cocoanuts, at Paramount's Astoria Studios in Long Island. Based on their 1925 stage hit, The Cocoanuts is set in Miami, where hotel manager Mr. Hammer Groucho Marx struggles to keep his establishment from going under. Hammer's only paying guest is Mrs. Potter Margaret Dumont, whose daughter Polly Mary Eaton is in love with aspiring architect Bob Oscar Shaw. Mrs. Potter would prefer that Polly marry the respectable Harvey Yates Cyril Ring; what she doesn't know is that Yates is a jewel thief, in cahoots with the slinky Penelope Kay Francis. The script was written by George S. Kaufman, and the music by Irving Berlin.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Marx Brothers burst upon the cinema scene with The Cocoanuts, and while the film is relatively tame compared to later efforts, at the time it was unlike anything movie audiences had previously experienced. There had certainly been zany comedy before, but the brothers had their own style ' and, Harpo not withstanding, it was one that needed sound to make the transition to film. Although the film contains some classic Marx Brothers routines- including the "viaduct" exchange ' and some other high points of comedy (such as a precisely-timed sequence involving entrances and exits to two connecting hotel rooms and Groucho's auction sequence) - the overall effect is hampered by the extremely static, stagebound quality necessitated by the early sound cameras and equipment. The boys, too, were still finding their way, still learning how to use the camera to best effect and so don't operate as the well-oiled machines that they soon would. In addition, there's too much focus put on the unconvincing and contrived love plot and the criminal subplot. While the love plot does allow for some musical numbers with interesting overhead shots of dancers forming flower patterns (pre-dating Berkeley) and some interesting angles during some other dance segments (angles that often place the camera disconcertingly at mid-torso), it also shifts focus to a supporting cast that (Kay Francis and Margaret Dumont aside) is pretty dull. Irving Berlin's score is below par for the master tunesmith, and the direction is a bit stodgy. Still, as long as the Marxes are onscreen, there's plenty of entertainment to be had.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/7/2011
  • UPC: 025192084638
  • Original Release: 1929
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Full Frame
  • Time: 1:34:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 28,599

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Groucho Marx Mr. Hammer
Harpo Marx Harpo
Chico Marx Chico
Zeppo Marx Jamison
Mary Eaton Polly Potter
Oscar Shaw Bob Adams
Margaret Dumont Mrs. Potter
Cyril Ring Harvey Yates
Robert Flory
Barton MacLane Bather
Marx Brothers
Kay Francis Penelope Martin
Basil Ruysdael Hennessy
Sylvan Lee
Technical Credits
Robert Florey Director, Choreography
Joseph Santley Director, Choreography
Monta Bell Producer
Irving Berlin Score Composer
James R. Cowan Producer
George Folsey Cinematographer
George S. Kaufman Score Composer
Barney Rogan Editor
Morris Ryskind Score Composer, Screenwriter
Frank Tours Musical Direction/Supervision
Walter Wanger Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cocoanuts
1. Florida by the Sea (Main Titles) [3:29]
2. Hotel de Cocoanut [5:53]
3. When Dreams Come True [5:06]
4. Pitching Real Estate [5:00]
5. Don't Forget to Register [6:17]
6. Flirting With Tramps [5:27]
7. Courting the Wealthy Widow [4:18]
8. Harpo's Harp Solo [2:51]
9. Jewelry Heist [5:49]
10. Bidding Lessons [5:22]
11. Monkey Doodle-Doo [4:51]
12. The Auction [5:44]
13. Broken Engagement [6:21]
14. Jailbreak [5:59]
15. Dream Ballet [4:05]
16. I Want My Shirt! [4:40]
17. Master of Ceremony [8:21]
18. Dreams Do Come True [3:28]
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Menu

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