242 of 251 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not quite great...
Fans of the Marx Brothers movies have had to wait a long time to finally see their heroes done justice on the DVD format. Image Entertainment released a now out-of-print box set a few years ago with simply awful transfers and no extras. Hopes were raised when Warner Brothers announced that they would be releasing their own box set this year. The good news is that the...
Published on May 10, 2004 by Cubist
167 of 179 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars To help clear up some of the confusion ...
As mentioned elsewhere, this collection does not include any of the complete films, but rather tv & misc. other clips. Since I will probably return the item, I haven't yet broken the seal and cannot comment on the quality. However, I should note that the total run-time is approx. 5 hours -- much less than one would assume for a 5-disc set.
If you are looking for more...
Published on December 8, 2003 by Daniel
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242 of 251 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not quite great...,
This review is from: The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) (DVD)Fans of the Marx Brothers movies have had to wait a long time to finally see their heroes done justice on the DVD format. Image Entertainment released a now out-of-print box set a few years ago with simply awful transfers and no extras. Hopes were raised when Warner Brothers announced that they would be releasing their own box set this year. The good news is that the Warners discs feature excellent transfers of every movie with a solid collection of supplemental material. The bad news is that many of the Marx Brothers most famous and beloved early films, like The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers are not included set. So what exactly does one get with this new box set?
The first film in the set is A Night at the Opera, arguably one of the Marx Brothers best films of their career. It was the first film after they were pushed out of Paramount Studios because of the commercial and critical failure of Duck Soup.
Opera was a huge hit and put the Marx Brothers back on the map. They wisely followed it up with another Thalberg collaboration, A Day at the Races.
Sadly, Thalberg died suddenly before the movie was completed and the Marx Brothers films would never achieve the same greatness. No longer under the producer's protective presence, the Marx Bros. were effectively at the studio's mercy. They put them out to pasture metaphorically speaking. This may explain why the Marx Bros. made Room Service for RKO instead of MGM in 1938.
At the Circus marked the Marx Brothers' return to MGM and is not one of their greatest moments but isn't awful either.
Go West begins with a very funny scene in which Chico and Harpo milk Groucho out of most of his money. However, all three eventually appear in the Old West without any logical explanation on how they got there.
Touted as their "first farewell film," The Big Store is a bit of a lackluster affair but does have its moments.
Upon completion of The Big Store, Harpo planned to retire, Groucho was going to focus on his radio career and Chico was going to form a big band. However, after World War II they reformed to make two more films, one of which rounds out the box set--A Night at Casablanca.
As one would expect, the bulk of substantial extras are on the discs for the Marx Brothers' most popular films, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races. Each DVD features several short films, some animated, some not and a theatrical trailer for each movie. Here are some of the highlights.
The A Night at the Opera DVD features an audio commentary by film historian, Leonard Maltin. He lays it down right from the start that his track will not be a dry, academic analysis of the Marx Brothers' comedy. He delivers an enthusiastic commentary that is also informative.
"Remarks on Marx" is a 33-minute look at the Marx Brothers' legacy. It not only explains where they got their nicknames but also examines their anarchic brand of comedy.
A Day at the Races features an audio commentary by Glenn Mitchell, author of The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia. This is a vastly informative track as Mitchell talks at length about the backgrounds of actors Allan Jones and Margaret O'Sullivan.
"On Your Marx, Get Set, Go!" is a look at the film and briefly explores the volatile relationship between the Marx Brothers and the film's director, Sam Wood.
The extras on the Room Service disc are pretty slim.
Aside from a vintage radio promo for Go West, there is little of relevance to the movie itself in the supplemental section.
Fans of the Marx Brothers are in for a real treat with this box set that covers the last eleven years of their careers. The transfers for each film are fantastic and a definite improvement over the Image box set. While the extras tend to get slimmer and less relevant in their later films, the ones for A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races are excellent. The audio commentaries, especially, are a must-listen for any Marx Bros. fan. One hopes that their early output of films will receive the same excellent treatment.
167 of 179 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars To help clear up some of the confusion ...,
If you are looking for more content information, don't bother with Koch Vision Entertainment's site. They are clearly not enthuastic about revealing more details about this release.
The discs are:
For the price, perhaps it's not all that bad, but there still isn't a good set of their films out there yet.
The amazon.co.uk set DOES contain complete films (four of them, I believe), but the item seems to be no longer in active inventory. Be aware that it supposedly is lacking any meaningful DVD extras.
100 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So disappointed,
I was expecting a collection of the movies but instead it is comprised of old clips
Don't buy if you are expecting the movies
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kind of weak, kind of good,
Disc one is a fairly decent documentary, actually. Disc two is the entire kinetescope of the You Bet Your Life pilot episode. Disc three has a really bad teleplay starring Chico, and then shows Harpo and Groucho on separate episodes of an interview show with Edward R. Murrow. Groucho's, in particular, was fun to watch. He does a song on a guitar with his seven year old daughter.
Disc 4 is an audio CD. Disc 5 has a few good odds and ends (like Groucho on the Jack Benny Show), but the stuff is edited and fragmentary. It's possibly worth it to see the rare sketch from "I'll Say She Is". All in all, this set is kinda weak, but has all the earmarks of something that will go out of print soon. Judging by how hard it is to find Marx stuff on DVD, it might not be a bad idea to get this while it's still available.
For Mega Die-Hard Mark Brothers fans, ONLY!
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There ain't no Sanity Clause!",
This review is from: The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) (DVD)Well, my sanity for one, is finally back to normal (if such a thing is possible with the Marx Brothers) with the release of this Warner Bros. set. I was knocked out at how great the transfers looked on DVD. I thought the audio was GREATLY improved as well, (Harpo's playing is even MORE beautiful-didn't think that could be possible) but yet the original charm of the movies is there as well, not an easy task to achieve. I didn't mind the extras. It made me feel like I was back in the 30's and 40's, in a movie theater seeing it all for the first time. My faves in this collection: "Opera","Races","Casablanca", and "Circus". But, one of my favorite scenes is when Chico and Harpo have a piano duet in "The Big Store". Take a close look at those two. If you can't see how much those two brothers loved each other, then you need spectacles! Of course, then they try to outdo each other, as all siblings do.......... that scene is so funny, never fails to get a laugh out of me.
There are so many moments, such as "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream" in "Races". Can't even begin to discuss them all. Out of this set, if you are new to the Marxes, start with "A Night at the Opera", to get a feel for them. And yes, I also wish the first 5 Paramount films would be re-released on DVD PROPERLY this time around, but of course, we're talking about two totally different film companies. But as a purist, I think it's about time to see those films done properly. Universal should take a LONG look at how Warners' did this set. We Marxists deserve better (are you listening Universal?) OK. Rant over. Buy this set. You won't be disappointed. These are truly comic gems from an era when movie makers didn't think that you needed to use a string of four-letter words and bathroom humor, to be hilarious. I'd take ONE of Groucho's stinging one-liners ANYDAY over the garbage that people try to pass off as humor nowadays. These movies hold their own after 70 years. There's a reason for that.....it's because the Marxes were truly comic geniuses, ahead (way ahead) of their time, and that NEVER goes out of style. "And make that three hard-boiled eggs!"
155 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 Box Set, 5 disc, and 7 Marx Brothers films,
This review is from: The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) (DVD)Disc 1: "A Night at the Opera"
Commentary by Leonard Maltin
All-New Documentary "Remarks On Marx"
The Hy Gardner Show (1/1/61) excerpt featuring Groucho Marx
Three Vintage MGM Shorts:
Fitzpatrick Traveltalk's Los Angeles: Wonder City Of The World
Sunday Night At The Trocadero
Robert Benchley's Academy Award -Winning How To Sleep
Disc 2: "A Day at the Races"
Disc 3: "Room Service" and "At the Circus" (double feature)
Disc 4: "Go West" and "The Big Store" (double feature)
Disc 5: "A Night in Casablanca"
A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, and A Night in Casablanca are also available separately.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very mixed bag,
By A Customer
1) they could've fit all of this onto maybe 2 or 3 discs - each disc only runs around 50 min.
2) A/V quality on some of the material is poor
3) Menus may not work on some machines, on some discs (someone else complained about this). Hitting "Play" didn't work, but fortunately, my DVD player allows me to direct access titles/chapters on the disc, so i figured out how to make the disc play by bumping directly to the title/chapter on the disc (using trial and error). An enormous hassle, though.
4) if you buy this box, don't buy the separate "Inside" disc, as it's in there along with some footage making up some of the other discs - they clearly were stretching material
5) one whole disc is just audio - for this, i needed a DVD?
The easy solution to this would be for Universal, Time Warner/WB, and all the other copyright holders to get on the ball and get the real movies out. I'd even settle for the latter/lesser ones, at this point. In the meantime, pop for "The Unknown Marx Brothers" - it's much better than this.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's equivilent to today's DVD extras,
This is supplementary material that likely has never been seen by the public since it was originally aired. Of course it will be black and white and not what one is used to from modern films. That's doin' Marx Brothers fans a favor. This is a wonderful collection of, as it says on the box, "...clips, interviews, TV shows, and rare footage that span the careers of all five Marx Brothers." It's not a consistent laugh riot because it's not their movies, it's bits and pieces where the Marx Brothers appeared to the public outside of their films.
DVD 1 is "Inside The Marx Brothers" a documentary on them.
DVD 2 is "You Bet Your Life the TV Pilot which is not very good viewing quality. The real rarities are the next three:
DVD 3 is "Papa Romani" a TV episode or pilot staring Chico, essentially it's an early sitcom and Edward R. Murrow doing his famous TV studio to the star's home interviews with Groucho and then Harpo.
DVD 4 is "The Marx Brother: Radio Days" with numerous radio segments some or all of them did. Try and find that material anywhere else.
Finally, DVD 5 is "Marx Brothers Mixed Nuts" which is film trailers and newsreels (that's what they had in those days) and other studio film related segments with some or all of the brothers.
You likely have never seen any of this material anywhere else unless you were watching the TV or saw the movies with newsreels or heard the radio when originally broadcast those many decades ago. This has been put together in a professional manner, as well as can be done given the limitations of 70 to 40 year old film material. Passport Video (whoever that company is) deserves a lot of credit for releaseing this collection. Sure, it could have been put on 2 DVD's. But the price (I paid about twenty bucks used) is very reasonable for 5 hours of material. Who could ask for a better price? I'm baffled by the negative reviews here. As much as I love their movies, particularly the first four or so, I've been hoping to see something else and this fills the bill. If you need a warning it's to think of these as DVD extras that we've grown used to in the 2000's. And when you love the movie often it's a treat to see non-movie material and this is it. I gave it a 4 rather than a 5 star because of the clear logo in the corner of the company. Heck, that's pretty standard today on TV. Can't have everything. I hope you understand what it is and isn't now. Thanks to all the film companies and probably the estates of the brothers for giving us this collection. firstname.lastname@example.org
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars worst marx collection,
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what is implied,
The description on this item is vague, and SHOULD have been more specific as to content. It's already being sent back, and I'm none too thrilled to be stuck with the shipping costs...
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The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big St... by Marx Brothers (DVD - 2004)