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A Night at the Opera

This was the Marxes’ first film after leaving Paramount (well, after being pushed out). MGM producer Irving Thalberg took the boys under his wing to produce two of their greatest films (the other being “A Day At The Races”). Thalberg’s contention was that, although the Marx Brothers’ movies were funny, you couldn’t “build insanity on insanity.” He proposed an actual story for the brothers to work against. He figured that there may be only half as many laughs in a picture, but the films would give the audience something to care about. His hunch was obviously correct, as “A Night At The Opera” was the Marx Brothers’ biggest grossing film (more than doubling the take from “Duck Soup” two years earlier). Although the brothers had difficulty with the way he handled business, Groucho proclaimed that Irving Thalberg was the only man he would truly call a “genius.” Thalberg asked the Marx brothers whom they would like to write the picture, and of course they chose their two favorite writers, Kaufman and Ryskind.

1h 36m
United States

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