The Big Store (1941)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick, Satire, Comedy of Errors  |   Release Date - Jun 20, 1941 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by Craig Butler

The Big Store is pretty much a big mess; of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing in a Marx Brothers movie. After all, chaos is one of the necessary ingredients for the boys' brand of inspired lunacy. Unfortunately, the chaos seems forced this time, resulting in lunacy that often falls short of inspired. None of this can really be blamed on Groucho, Harpo, and Chico -- they're still doing what they do best. But they're hampered by a dull script that often ties them down instead of letting them soar and by pedestrian direction that too often misses the point of what the Marx Brothers are about. True, there are some moments that are totally winning, such as the first scene in Groucho's office and the memorable Harpo harp, flute, and bass trio, as well as a number of moments, such as the bed department sequence, that, if a little off, still work. But there are many more flat moments, including the would-be-riotous finale, and the dreadful "Tenement Symphony," which is the kind of musical moment that the Marxes exist to deflate. Much better is the "Sing While You Sell" number, which while far from perfect, at least is along the right tracks. As usual, the supporting cast takes a back seat to the boys, but Virginia O'Brien has an amusing cameo. Big Store is disappointing and far from a classic, but it's still moderately enjoyable.