Horse Feathers (1932)
Genre: Comedy Musical
Starring: The Marx Brothers - Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo (Duck Soup; A Night At The Opera)
Directed By: Norman Z. McLeod (It's a Gift; Monkey Business)
Overview: Huxley College finally has a chance this year of winning the football game against Darwin College, but with ringers playing for the opposite team and a couple of bumbling buffoons playing for Huxley, it's going to be a rough ride.
Acting: Finally some decent direction. Most of the actors in this know their lines, speak without being stuffy, and look comfortable in front of the camera. In short the actors look like they actually know what they're doing. I guess the director did a decent job in making this barely passable too. Harpo's not a total letch in this either.
Cinematography: Not only are the musical numbers kept at a minimum, but the choreography isn't a turd. There's some great moments on the football field and during the 'attempted kidnapping of the huge football ringers' scene, so again you won't be too sorely disappointed.
Script: "Two-thousand dollars for ice? I can buy an Eskimo for two hundred and make my OWN ice!"
And finally after three films we have one where the comedy was amusing and actually got a laugh out of me from time to time. This was far less filled with groaners and bad puns and had more genuine humorous humour. I'll go as far as to say I got a kick out of it.
Plot: We also have a real story! Unfortunately, the film itself was only 65 minutes, so I couldn't revel in the fact that this was the best Marx I've seen for too long. I suppose they didn't feel the need to add any filler like in all those that came before. There's suspense, action, drama... a touch of comedy of errors (typical Marx), some double-crosses and a comical and witty wrap-up that shows that this film had real professionals involved in storyline. Yay!
Mood: I don't know if I've gone to the other end of the Marx Brothers spectrum of appreciation, watching this decent film and comparing it to the other three fecalicious previous ones and being relieved that it was not a total waste of time. I must say I actually liked it. The Marx Brothers mood here is the best you'll find and any good fan... will have already watched this I suppose... I mean they really don't have that much stuff out there, come on, this isn't Hitchcock with his 65 films.
Overall Rating: 76% (Feather or Not You Like This Is Up To You)
Aftertaste: Clearly the more along their film career we get and the further away from the Great Depression we find ourselves, we have better Marx films than have come before. I don't know if it's simply the fact that they've grown on me a little, but I guess it was most likely the opposite. I was getting sick of them for a while there and the only reason I stuck with it was because I got a Marx Brother DVD collection from the library and I only have it on loan for a week, so I really had no choice the way I see it...