THE COCOANUTS
1929, Universal, 96 min, USA, Dir: Robert Florey, Joseph Santley

The Marx Brothers’ very first film finds Groucho trying to save his sinking-fast Florida hotel with the aid of Chico and Harpo, but things don’t go the way he planned (largely thanks to his two crazy helpers). Co-starring Kay Francis, Zeppo Marx and of course, Margaret Dumont.


MONKEY BUSINESS
1931, Universal, 77 min, USA, Dir: Norman Z. McLeod

The Marx Brothers’ first original screenplay - by S.J. Perelman and an uncredited Ben Hecht, among others - is perhaps their most bizarre (and the only one in which they have no character names). They’re stowaways on an ocean liner, wreaking havoc and getting mixed up with rival gangsters as well as Thelma Todd. Includes the famous scene where all four try to get through customs by pretending to be Maurice Chevalier.


DUCK SOUP
1933, Universal, 68 min, USA, Dir: Leo McCarey

Margaret Dumont appoints Groucho (Rufus T. Firefly) as Prime Minister of Freedonia, and he promptly declares war on a neighboring country for no particular reason. With the legendary mirror sequence and Harpo and Chico’s mercurial harassing of the lemonade vendor.


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