Animal Crackers (1930)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Absurd Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 23, 1930 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Betzold

Anarchy has rarely been so enjoyable. Though many critics rank 1933's Duck Soup as the funniest Marx Brothers movie, others may prefer Animal Crackers, released in 1930. Based on the hit Broadway play by George S. Kaufman and Morris Ryskind, Animal Crackers features Groucho Marx as explorer Captain Spaulding, who is the guest of honor at a party hosted by wealthy matron Mrs. Rittenhouse (Groucho's favorite foil Margaret Dumont). The plot is a flimsy excuse for Groucho, Chico, and Harpo to run amok, with Zeppo playing his customary straight-man role. Director Victor Heerman is basically a bystander as the brothers take over, treating film as an extension of vaudeville. Animal Crackers was funnier and a bigger success than its predecessor, The Cocoanuts, and it marked the true beginning of the Marx Brothers' long and successful film careers, establishing their unique blend of physical and verbal mayhem. It has probably more memorable lines than any other Marx Brothers film. The most famous is Groucho's: "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." There are also the customary zingers that Groucho directs at Dumont, such as: "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, which doesn't say much for you."