Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Essentials- A Day At The Races (1937)

The Essentials-#22

A Day at the Races (1937)
The Marx brothers were like the Rat Pack, Brat Pack and the Apatow Crew now, except they were from another generation. Even though comedy has changed over the years, there is no doubt that the Marx brothers were an item for a reason. They make me laugh, plain and simple. Even though their style is blatantly slapstick, it still gets me every time. I know what you maybe thinking and the answer is yes: I have seen "Duck Soup" and I love it. However, I haven't written about "Duck Soup" yet and I love it. BUT...I love "A Day at the Races" a little more, simply because I was introduced to it first.

Groucho Marx plays Hugo Z. Hackenbush, a veterinarian working for Standish Sanitarium. The Sanitarium has fallen on tough times, mostly due to money troubles. A ruthless banker is trying to obtain control of the Sanitarium, but the original owners do not want that to happen. The boyfriend of the owner of the Sanitarium has recently bought a horse named Hi-Hat. With Hi-Hat, the boyfriend wants to win a big race, thus winning the money to keep the Sanitarium. Dr. Hackenbush supports this and does everything he can to make it all happen. 

Chico Marx and Lupo Marx play to "detectives" who come across Dr. Hackenbush and help him in his crusade to save the Sanitarium. Of course, about the time that the three brothers get together, everything feels right. These brothers had a real talent for making funny situations. But also at the same time the movie has real soul. It also would not have been a Marx movie without some great musical numbers. Still, for being so old, the music can still inspire. Check out the video below:

You see what I mean?

The Marx Brothers work was full of this, and everything you see in "A Day at the Races" stands as my favorite numbers of their careers.

The work by the Marx Brothers is spot-on. But so is the work done by Maureen O'Sullivan, who plays Judy, owner of the Sanitarium. Margaret Dumont plays Mrs. Upjohn, a woman who enlists the hiring of Dr. Hackenbush personally. Douglas Dumbrille plays J.D. Morgan, the evil banker and Allan Jones plays Judy's boyfriend. All of the performances are great in this. Even today, the performances and comedy still hold up. Which proves that some movies really are made to stand the test of time. 

I believe "A Day at the Races" is one of those movies.

1 comment:

  1. Great review!

    We're linking to your article for Slapstick Tuesday at

    Keep up the good work!