(1931)4Michael BetzoldUntil Monkey Business was filmed in 1931, the fabulous Marx Brothers had made only films adapted from their stage comedies. Noted humorist S. J. Perelman was the leading force among the writers who concocted this zany tale about four stowaways on an ocean liner. The title is a perfect one for a Marx movie even if the film doesn't have anything to do with monkeys. When the brothers are practicing their hijinks aboard the ship, the sight gags, pratfalls and quips are virtually non-stop. After they each imitate the actor Maurice Chevalier while going through customs, however, the jokes dissipate, and the second half of the movie, which takes place in a New York mansion, is not nearly as frenetic. Some consider this the best Marx Brothers movie, but many viewers and critics prefer Duck Soup.