Released 1933 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Leo McCarey
Stars - The Marx Brothers, Louis Calhern
When Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is appointed the new ruler of Freedonia, he must battle the machinations of the Sylvanian ambassador, Trentino (Calhern). Zeppo co-stars as Firefly’s secretary, Bob Roland; and Chico and Harpo as a pair of spies hired by Trentino, Chicolini and Pinky.
Minor, non-graphic violence; one use of a word that’s considered a racial slur today, although, to be honest, I didn’t get that particular joke & wasn’t sure if he was referencing the race in question or not.
A lot of Groucho’s humor is very mean-spirited, which I don’t like.
I also didn’t like Harpo’s style of humor, which, in addition to often being mean-spirited, is completely over-the-top goofy (very clown-like). Whenever I see a character behave like him, I always think to myself, “In real life, that guy would get punched in the nose.”
The film felt really disjointed to me. There was the barest hint of a plot, and it felt like Groucho kind of wandered into the middle of it and started spouting off pithy one-liners. Then cut to Chico and Harpo, doing goofy things. Then singing! I found the whole thing fairly baffling.
Despite all of the above, there were quite a few times that I laughed.
I loved the women’s costuming.
This is my first Marx Brothers film. I think I’ve discovered that I’m not a Marx Brothers fan. It’s only 68 minutes long, but it seemed like an eternity to me. This just isn’t my kind of humor. I absolutely loathe mean-spirited jokes, i.e. when people say really awful things to each other and I’m supposed to find it funny. I don’t think it’s funny at all. However, I recognize that this is a personal preference. As the popularity of shows/movies such as “Seinfeld,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Meet the Parents” can attest, lots of people love this style of humor. I’m reluctant to give this film as low of a rating as I’d like, because I know my own tastes run counter to the majority of people. Therefore, I’m going to cut it some slack.
I give the movie 3 stars.