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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Play it again, Harpo.
Much has been written of this movie's origin. Briefly stated, the Marx Brothers decided to make at least one more movie after their MGM career ended with "The Big Store." It was a fortunate decision, and the result is a fast-paced spoof of the classic "Casablanca." Regardless of advancing age, Groucho, Chico, and Harpo are delightful to watch. The...
Published on November 24, 2000 by Robert S. Clay Jr.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Post WWII Marxism
It seems that the artistic world responded to the austerity of the post-WWII-era with its own brand of seriousness. This movie is no different. There is a darkness, a dismalness to it that nearly overshadows the comedy (for me, anyhow....but I tend to overanalysis at times...). Like an above reviewer wrote, the first-half is good, but then it stalls. This is no Duck Soup,...
Published on December 18, 2001 by tabbreathe


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Play it again, Harpo., November 24, 2000
By 
Robert S. Clay Jr. (St. Louis, MO., USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Much has been written of this movie's origin. Briefly stated, the Marx Brothers decided to make at least one more movie after their MGM career ended with "The Big Store." It was a fortunate decision, and the result is a fast-paced spoof of the classic "Casablanca." Regardless of advancing age, Groucho, Chico, and Harpo are delightful to watch. The inspired lunacy of their early Paramount films is gone, but Groucho's stinging one-liners and snappy asides still resonate with biting humor. Harpo's impish antics nicely capture this unique comic's "other-worldly" traits. Harpo's "collapsing building" gag is laugh-out-loud funny! Chico plays the usual amiable airhead who is as smart (or dumb) as he wants to be. Chico's attempts to interrupt Groucho's moveable tryst with the delectable Beatrice are hilarious and recall Groucho and Chico's classic exchanges (e.g., the "Sanity Clause" routine). Margaret Dumont is missing, but Lisette Verea plays Beatrice, a femme fatale in the Thelma Todd mode. Sig Ruman does well as a blustering Nazi spy. The climactic chase scene is amusingly frantic, even though chase scenes were done to death in classic comedies. Some of the Marx sparkle started to fade during their final years at MGM. This movie is a sincere effort to recapture the magic of their best work. There is a refreshing absence of overblown musical numbers. Chico plays the piano and Harpo plays the harp. That is part of the Marx legend, and hardly intrusive. Don't expect another "Night at the Opera" or "Horse Feathers," and you will be pleased. ;-)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fond Farewell, June 11, 2002
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By 1946 the Marx Brothers considered themselves retired as a screen team--but brother Chico's on-going financial difficulties coaxed them back into the studio for a final film. The result is a film that will never compete with their sharp-edged comedies of the 1930s but which possesses considerable charm nonetheless.
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA finds Groucho employed as the manager of the Hotel Casablanca--where three previous managers have met sudden death at the hands of post-war Nazis in search of treasure hidden at the hotel during the war. Time, it seems, mellowed the brothers, and although they retain their sparkle they perform without the manic edge that characterized their earlier films; the result is a much friendlier, cozier style of comedy that feels as comfortable your bedroom slippers.
All three brothers have ample opportunity to shine, and the film includes its share of memorable moments--perhaps most notable the diminishing dancefloor and the hilarious suitcase packing scene. It all has tremendous charm, and all the more welcome for following the several uninspired films the brothers made in the early 1940s. A fitting finish and fond farewell to one of Hollywood's greatest comedy acts; recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth It, September 9, 1999
By A Customer
Although it lacks the inspired insanity of the best Marx Brothers work of the 1930s, A Night in Casablanca compensates for the loss with a sense of relaxed charm which is unique among their films. This may arise from the fact that the brothers had considered themselves retired as a trio when they were approached to make the film, and agreed to do so only in order to help Chico Marx out of a financial difficulty; it is therefore hardly surprising that the film has an almost nostalgic tone, with the brothers skillfully playing out variations of previously well-established routines and formulas.
In many ways, this is probably the most immediately accessible film for those who have not been previously exposed to the Marx Brothers' humor. A simple story, which generally parodies the Bogart "Casablanca," a lack of topical material, and good production values make the film extremely easy to watch, and the packing scene near the end of the film is as ridiculously funny as their more famous routines. While not in the same league with Duck Soup or A Day at the Races, it is well worth the effort.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last great one from the Marx Brothers, January 2, 2006
By 
Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Night in Casablanca (DVD)
After a couple of real duds in the early 1940s, the Marx Brothers scored again with this crazy lark about Nazis and hidden jewels in a hotel that Groucho manages. Previous hotelkeeps have been bumped off by Nazi thug Sig Ruman as he attempts to recover stolen jewels and art treasures hidden in the basement, but when Groucho takes the job and hires Chico and Harpo (who runs a camel taxi service) to help him out, Ruman doesn't know what he's in for. Not even vamp accomplice Lisette Verea can work her charms on the boys. Much of the humor sparkles and the picture is right up there with their classics from the '30s. Originally it was supposed to be a spoof of the Bogart-Bergman classic CASABLANCA, but that being small potatoes for the Marxes, they decided to take on the whole war-inspired, melodramatic romantic comedy genre instead. Their last great picture and lots of fun to watch.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Post WWII Marxism, December 18, 2001
It seems that the artistic world responded to the austerity of the post-WWII-era with its own brand of seriousness. This movie is no different. There is a darkness, a dismalness to it that nearly overshadows the comedy (for me, anyhow....but I tend to overanalysis at times...). Like an above reviewer wrote, the first-half is good, but then it stalls. This is no Duck Soup, no Animal Crackers, but strangely satisfying all the same--a chance to see the Marx Brothers' comedy change (albeit slightly) with the rest of the world. Timely, yet somehow timeless.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want a manager that doesn't steal money? Good day, gentlemen., February 17, 2007
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Night in Casablanca (DVD)
Beatrice Rheiner: I shall be in the Supper Club.

Ronald Kornblow: The Supper Club?

Beatrice Rheiner: Yes. Will you join me?

Ronald Kornblow: Why? Are you coming apart?

The Marx Brothers remain one of the greatest comedy teams the world ever had; and they work hard in this film to keep their reputation. A Night In Casablanca holds your attention and the comedy remains worthy of all five stars. Lisette Verea shines as the Nazi femme fatale in on the plot to transport Nazi loot to a place where the former Allies forces could never reach it; and Sig Ruman turns in a very convincing performance as the inept Nazi spy who couldn't get his shoes tied even if you did it for him while he simply watched.

At first glance the film appears to be based upon the Warner Brother classic entitled Casablanca; but aside from taking place in a hotel in Casablanca the similarities diminish greatly. Groucho Marx plays Ronald Kornblow who takes a job as manager at the Casablanca hotel; Kornblow is unaware that the three previous managers have been murdered in just the last six months. Soon after, however, a hotel worker named Corbaccio, played so ably by Chico Marx, finds out that Kornblow could be murdered, too; and he essentially enlists himself as Kornblow's bodyguard. Meanwhile, the Nazis, led by Nazi spy Heinrich Stubel who masquerades as Count Pfferman, go after much more than Kornblow. The Nazis desperately want stolen treasure hidden in the hotel so they can abscond with it. Can Kornblow, with the help of Corbaccio and Harpo Marx playing the Nazi spy's valet Rusty, thwart the Nazis and prevent them from getting the stolen treasure out of the hotel Ronald Kornblow manages? Will Lisette Verea as the campy Nazi femme fatale Beatrice Rheiner seduce Kornblow so that Stubel can murder Kornblow, too?

The quality of The Marx Brothers' comedy deserves five stars, too. Harpo does a great "collapsing building" gag; and Groucho's one liners will always make you laugh. Harpo even gets a wonderful opportunity to play the harp!

I will not give anything away here, folks, but suffice it to say that the choreography is superlative in Heinrich Stubel's hotel room when he and his Nazi followers want to pack their things to run away with the stolen goods. The ending fight scene at the airport stuns you to the degree at which you couldn't take your eyes off the screen even if you were paid very good money to do so. In addition, the cinematography is excellent; the airport scenes show great forethought and clever planning. The film is in glorious black and white; and I think black and white suits this picture more so than color ever could have. Indeed, black and white serves to add a cracked and campy romantic quality to what is already a hilarious picture. Excellent!

A Night In Casablanca also introduces the song entitled "Who's Sorry Now?" This song went on to become a classic; and the song also subtly refers to the people who are really sorry at the end of the picture.

Unfortunately, the DVD extras don't relate to the film. However, they are enjoyable. There's the short entitled So You Think You're A Nervous Wreck and, of all things, a Bugs Bunny cartoon!

Overall, A Night In Casablanca shines as one of the last great comedies by The Marx Brothers. Fans of The Marx Brothers will love this picture as they laugh their way through it. People who enjoy screwball comedy will also enjoy this movie.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marx Brothers at their excellent!, November 17, 1998
By A Customer
This movie is really great. The plot is (vaguely) similar to that of Casablanca but the treatment is completely different. Groucho is absolutely outstanding in his rendition of a looney hotel manager. With a steadier rythm than "A night at the Opera", "A night in Casablanca" deserves a place in your home if you like the Marx Brothers or even if you have not discovered them yet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You schweinhund!", June 24, 2004
By 
Andrew McCaffrey (Satellite of Love, Maryland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Night in Casablanca (DVD)
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA is a film more famous for the correspondence it allegedly provoked (there's a possibility that the entire thing was a publicity stunt) between Groucho Marx and the Warner Brothers' legal department (WB stated they had a claim on 'Casablanca'; Groucho countered with a claim on 'Brothers') than for any of the gags it contained. I think this is a pity as, while it certainly can't compare to the Marx Brothers at their height, it isn't an awful film. In fact, taken on its own merits, it's quite good.
The first thing that struck me when I put on this DVD (this was the first time I'd seen the film) was how much older the Marx Brothers themselves looked, particularly Harpo. His character was always a sort of ageless clown and seeing wrinkles sort of spoilt the illusion for me. On the other hand, Groucho actually looks more in character at this age. It gives him easier access to his "dirty old man" routine, which he played perfectly.
Despite the title (and apparently the original intentions of the filmmakers), the movie doesn't have much to do with the more famous film with a similar name. The action centers in and around a hotel rather than a nightclub (Groucho is now the manager after the last few died under mysterious circumstances). The search is for treasure instead of travel papers. And, of course, instead of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the romantic couple, we have bland Zeppo-replacement and bland Zeppo-replacement's bland girlfriend. Well, we can't have everything.
While most of the secondary cast is uninspired, it is nice to see Sig Ruman and his eye-popping indignation back again after his stints in A NIGHT AT THE OPERA and A DAY AT THE RACES. His over-the-top, sputtering reactions almost make up for the lack of Margaret Dumont. In the sequence where he's trying to pack his suitcases and trunks while the Marx Brothers invisibly impede his progress, he helps turn a great scene into a classic one.
The joke writing in this movie is quite strong compared to some of the other MGM Marx features. In particular, Groucho's one-liners are at full strength; I have this movie on in the background while I type up this review, and I'm catching hilarious little jokes and double entendres that I missed the first time around. And while some of the gags have the hint of unoriginality about them, there's enough that's fresh. Sure, the scene of Harpo pantomiming that Groucho was about to be blackmailed by a femme fatale had already been done in A DAY AT THE RACES, but they wisely don't use the same lines to fuel the jokes (although strangely they do use the same music: both Groucho seduction scenes feature Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube"). The same is true for the crowded dance-floor sequence that mimics the crowded stateroom scene from A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Same premise, but different funny jokes.
The DVD extras are nothing special. I suppose someone must be enjoying the vintage cartoons that they're putting on these Marx Brothers DVDs, but that person isn't me. The extras aren't important anyway; unfortunately, they don't add anything to the experience. Picture and sound quality are both excellent for a film of this age.
This movie may come from the less celebrated portion of the Brothers' career, but to my surprise I really enjoyed it. No film can go wrong that features a scene of Harpo Marx grinning madly at the controls of an airplane. If you go in expecting DUCK SOUP, then you might be disappointed. But if you take it for what it is rather than what it isn't, you'll find a film that's funnier than most.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The sun finally sets on the film career of the Marx Brothers, December 21, 2001
By 
I remember the first time I caught this movie on late night television after seeing countless previews showing the scene where the cop sees Harpo leaning against a building and makes the mistake of asking "What do you think you are doing, holding up that building?" Of course he is, and when he walks away the building collapses. Once I saw all of "A Night in Casablanca" I had the feeling that the best gag in the film had been ruined by all those previews. But having watched this film again I must admit that while The Marx Brothers look seriously old in this one, it is not that bad. But when you expect greatness on the basis of classics like "Duck Soup" and "Night at the Opera," it is hard to just accept an "average" Marx Brothers movie.
Certainly Groucho comes off fine in this one. After all, he is about to embark on a successful radio/television career as a master of the sarcastic quip on "You Bet Your Life." In this 1946 film he plays Ronald Kornblow, the new manager of a hotel where a "Casablanca" type plot involving Nazi spies is going on beneath his very nose (If you have never read the letter Groucho fired off when Warner Brothers got upset over the use of the name "Casablanca," then you have to track it down. The high point is when Groucho wants to counter sue because of the use of the word "Brothers"). Harpo as Rusty and Chico as Corbaccio both look very old and tired, and both their comedy and music routines do not have the sharp edge and polish we are used to. Being a dirty old man suited Groucho just as much as being a dirty young man, but while we continue to laugh at his brothers it is with a heavy heart because the end is in sight. We keep forgetting that the Marx Brothers were vaudeville stars for years before they ever made a movie so that their prime came earlier in their cinematic careers than it did overall. "A Night in Casablanca" is really the last true Marx Brothers movie and it should be the last one you watch, when the value is because it exists and it is one more opportunity to watch the boys romp around and cause havoc, and not because it is a classic of comedy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, September 30, 2000
By 
wvmcl "wvmcl" (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
For many years, this was the only Marx Brothers film I had never seen. I'd assumed it would be as weak and disappointing as their other late efforts (The Big Store, Love Happy, etc.). When I finally caught it on European television a few years ago, I was surprised and delighted to discover a true, back-to-basics Marx Brothers comedy with many funny routines and chase scenes and a minimum of distracting subplot. If several sequences "quote" their earlier work, it contributes to the overall reunion atmosphere. My kids and I loved the film, and I recommend it to any fan of the brothers who may have missed it.
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A Night in Casablanca
A Night in Casablanca by Archie Mayo (DVD - 2004)
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