Now that you know where the Marx Brothers were one hundred years ago this week (see yesterday’s post), I thought I’d show you why we care about them.
This is the famed Stateroom Scene from A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, which many people think is their best film. It’s certainly their most successful conventional comedy, with a straight romantic subplot. It’s not quite as anarchic as their first five Paramount features, but it revived their film career, thanks to producer Irving Thalberg (Groucho considered Thalberg a genius; he died while in the middle of production of their following picture, A DAY AT THE RACES).
Legend has it that this was written by Al Boasberg, a quirky, oversized writer who usually worked in his bathtub. The studio kept bugging him to finish the scene, annoying him greatly. When he was finally done, they sent someone over to pick up the finished script, but he couldn’t find it. After much searching, he found that each individual line had been cut apart and taped to the ceiling. Enjoy.