Friday, October 2, 2009

I have a confession

I'm just not that big a fan of the Marx Brothers. To be honest, they're certainly talented, and nowhere as near as irritating as the Ritz Brothers. And yet, there's something about their features that I find grating after a while. I don't know that it's a matter of the movies being more a series of vignettes than having a coherent plot. After all, I've commented quite favorably on similar movies, such as Jerry Lewis' The Bellboy, or Jacques Tati's Mr. Hulot's Holiday.

Perhaps it's because Lewis and Tati were almost silent in their movies, while Groucho Marx is all about the puns and insults? Perhaps: I can certainly understand why people find Red Skelton annoying in a lot of his movies. But, that wouldn't explain Harpo.

Maybe it;s that the Marx Brothers would just work better in short doses, and I'd find them more enjoyable if they had done two-reelers. Indeed, some of the Laurel and Hardy stuff, like Sons of the Desert, when they first started making features, doesn't really work all that well, while the two reelers they did just before, such as The Music Box, are outstanding. Then again, there are short comedies, even from the sound era, that don't work so well, even those that have high-quality stars in them.

So it could just be another case of the old adage de gustibus non disputandam.

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