A Night at the Opera
- Sam Wood
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Wednesday, November 15, 2000
"A Night at the Opera" is a film that fits so many tastes, I can almost say I doubt someone wouldn't like it. The Marxes are as loony as ever, only now they have stories behind them. They have names, careers and pasts. They belong somewhere and have goals and feelings.
Groucho is Otis B. Driftwood, a society man who promises Mrs. Claypool (exquisite Margaret Dumont) that he will turn her into a society lady. His proposition involves an investment in Opera. Chico and Harpo are Fiorello and Tomasso, a couple of misfits who have nothing to lose, and live happily. Meanwhile, we meet Ricardo (Allan Jones) and Rosa (Kitty Carlisle), who love each other but can't be together due to the convenience of their careers as Opera singers.
The whole cast is transported to New York. Fiorello, Tomasso and Ricardo are there as stowaways. If you thought Mr. Driftwood's stateroom was small enough, you should've waited to see them all inside -- the stateroom scene is, for me, the funniest ever made. Oh, but that's not it: this film is packed with knock-out scenes, like the Party of the First Contract, the arrival at New York and the climatic Opera show.
Throughout the film, it's all laughs and romance. Great music and songs. Lunacy, of course, but not to the point of craziness. Not that I have anything against the Marxes's craziest films, but I also like to see some storyline once in a while. Ricardo and Rosa are so charming, there is no way to dislike them.
Groucho speaks fast and funny; Chico proves that he's the funniest man alive, with a piano; Harpo makes you laugh with only a smile -- not to mention his inimitable body language and pantomime.
This is probably the best, surely the most elegant comedy of the Brothers. There isn't a moment when you're not having a good time, and that's something! The movie intertwines all of its elements in a masterful way, and becomes an example to follow.
One of the reasons why I admire the Marx Brothers so much.
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