A Day at the Races
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Much the success of Marx Brothers' brand of comedy arises from their dissonance when placed in a "high society" setting peopled with formally behaved characters. This is particularly true of A Day At The Races, in which horse-doctor Groucho impersonates a society doctor to treat the formidable Margaret Dumont. Dumont's work, too often overlooked in the wake of Marx Brothers lunacy, is nothing short of brilliant in this film, and provides the perfect foil for the hysteria created by Groucho, Harpo, and Chico. The supporting cast is equally fine.
The film includes two of the funniest bits of work the Marx Brothers ever put on celluloid: the call from Florida scene, in which Groucho runs riot with the switchboard, and the examination scene, in which the brothers take a diagnoistic gander at Dumont, who is "afflicted with nothing in its most violent form."
An equal to the Marx Brothers earlier work at Paramount, A Day at the Races is pure subversive hilarity, as funny today as when it first hit the screen some seventy years ago.
Groucho plays a horse doctor, Dr. Hackenbush, who is more interested on betting on horses than treating them.
The plot revolves around a sanatorium which is loosing money. Run by Judy Standish (Maureen O'Sullivan), she is offered five thousand dollars to sell it to a shady character, Morgan (Douglas Dumbrille). He wants the sanitorium for his race track. However, the sanitorium's leading patient, Mrs. UpJohn (Margaret Dumont) comes to the aid of Judy Standish when she offers finicial support - but only if she hires Dr. Hackenbush. Of course nobody knows he is just a horse doctor.
Harpo plays a jockey. Chico (Tony) plays the sanitarium's loyal employee. When he overhears the conversation about Hackensbush, he quickly wires him to come. He also sells ice cream and racing tips on the side. In a later scene, one of the film's highlights, he sells Groucho a library's worth of books which are intended to have the name of the horse and jockey in a particular race.
As is many Marx Bros. films, there is a love interest. This one involves Allan Jones (Gil Stewart) and Judy Standish. He spends his life's savings on a horse, Highhat, in the hopes it will win a race and enough money to bail the sanatorium out of its near bankruptcy.
Over-all, this is a fast paced comedy, expect for the songs which really have no place in the film, and seem to go on forever. However, they may be fast forwarded through.
The film's highlights include a roarous scene with the Marx Bros. and a seductress, Flo Marlowe (Esther Muir).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awful; the brothers' worst ever. Repetitive cliches that get old very fast - don't bother.Published 3 months ago by Diana Clark
While I'm admittedly one of those Marx fans who consider the early films to be their greatest, I have to admit that this is a pretty good film. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rick Drais
Typical Mars Brothers hi-jinx but on the whole very entertaining.Published 9 months ago by David McClanahan
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