Today! Because if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does –
Animal Crackers (1930)
Directed by Victor Heerman
Starring Groucho Marx (x7), Chico Marx (x7), Harpo Marx (x7), Zeppo Marx (x4), Margaret Dumont (x4), Lillian Roth, Louis Sorin, Hal Thompson, Margaret Irving, Robert Greig (x2), Edward Metcalfe
As mentioned previously, my roundabout path to discovering the Marx Brothers began with Go West, a lesser flick that nonetheless managed to find a place on this list. But I believe Animal Crackers is probably the gateway Marx effort for most people, after a certain age. It has the most famous songs from all their films – the later You Bet Your Life theme “Hooray For Captain Spaulding” as well as “Hello, I Must Be Going” – and is the role Groucho would forever be identified with, even if there aren’t a ton of shades between any of the brothers’ characters in their movies. It was the last of their stage efforts to be translated to the screen, while also working out a few of the technical kinks of their first film, The Cocoanuts, from the year before.
Animal Crackers had various rights issues for a number of years – due to the song copyrights reverting to the authors after a period of time, mistakenly not renewed by the studio – and so it remained out of circulation for decades, until the massive Marx revival of the 1970’s. Thus, I’d guess, if you’re a fan and over 60, you may not have seen this one for a while – but come on, you’ve had plenty of time to catch up to its greatness. Continue reading