And Two Hardboiled Eggs – A Night at the Opera
Released in 1935, A Night at the Opera is unquestionably the Marx Brothers' masterpiece. Groucho stars as Otis B. Driftwood, a wannabe player in the Italian opera. Chico and Harpo are Fiorello and Tomasso, scatterbrained but loyal to their friend Ricardo (the handsome Allan Jones) who is in love with Rosa (Kitty Carlisle). When Rosa has the opportunity to go to New York, Fiorella, Tomasso and Ricardo stow away on her boat. Otis discovers the loverboy and his trusty sidekicks in his stateroom, and is pressured into helping them to stay concealed. Part of this is ordering the starving men some food. The following video shows why, whenever I'm making a grocery list, my husband calls out "and two hardboiled eggs!"
The Mirror Scene – Duck Soup
In this 1933 political satire, Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly, the president/dictator of a bankrupt country called Freedonia. Chico and Harpo are Chicollini and Pinky, two silly spies from Sylvania, Freedonia's neighbor and enemy. In the following classic scene, Pinky (Harpo) must fool Firefly (Groucho) into believing he's actually Firefly's reflection in a mirror. My favorite moment: when the two men swap positions, smiling at each other all while!
The Password Scene – Horse Feathers
I remember seeing this 1932 movie on television when I was nine years old (which would make it about twenty years ago, right? Ahem, moving on…). Groucho plays Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the president of Huxley University. To win the football game against the school's rival, Darwin U, Huxley recruits Bavarelli and Pinky (Chico and Harpo) to play on the team. These fellas are "icemen" (deliverymen of bootleg liquor), and are recruited through a series of misunderstandings. In the following scene, Wagstaff is trying to get into a speakeasy, and Baravelli is guarding the door.
And we're back with my favorite Marx Brothers film, A Night at the Opera. Here, in order to evade the authorities and successfully get off the ship, the three plucky heroes impersonate a trio of famous aviators. Wearing the aviators' beards (which they cut off and pasted on their faces – what could possibly go wrong?) and uniforms, the men happily march off the ship. Only to find that they are now expected to make a speech about their heroic journey. This scene explains why, when I'm asked about a journey, I'll sometimes answer "we almost got there, then we ran out of gas and had to go back."
What makes you smile? Do you have any favorite Marx Brothers moments?