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A Day at the Races (1937)

Groucho Marx , Chico Marx , Sam Wood  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Allan Jones, Maureen O'Sullivan
  • Directors: Sam Wood
  • Writers: Al Boasberg, George Oppenheimer, George S. Kaufman, George Seaton, Leon Gordon
  • Producers: Irving Thalberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 4, 2004
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001HAIMW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,995 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Day at the Races" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Hugo Hackenbush, Tony, and Stuffy try and save Judy's farm by winning a big race with her horse. There are a few problems. Hackenbush runs a high priced clinic for the wealthy who don't know he has his degree in Veterinary Medicine.

A Day at the Races is the Marx Brothers at their commercial and popular peak, working with a top Hollywood director (Sam Wood of The Pride of the Yankees), supported with a healthy screen budget paying for such extras as a blue-tinted ballet sequence, love songs from crooner Allan Jones, and decorative sets. But the brothers are also at the top of their game in terms of their own comic material and timing. The story finds Groucho, Chico, and Harpo helping out at a sanatorium, where their longtime foil in the movies, Margaret Dumont, is the leading patient. The film has some of the trio's funniest and most memorable bits and a dazzling horserace at the climax. Not quite as good as its predecessor, A Night at the Opera, this is still a highlight in the Marxian filmography. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ethnic Stereotypes Not Malicious August 2, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I decided to watch this film again after an absence of probably 30 years when I learned that Dorothy Dandridge had a small part and I wanted to see if I could find her in the crowd. I'm not sure if I identified her or not but unexpectedly, I was absolutely blown away by the cameo of Ivy Anderson in "All God's Chillun Got Rythym". Her timing and delivery couldn't have been better and I strongly disagree with those who find the number too long and offensively stereotypical. I speak as one whose musical tastes are probably 80% classical and I do not often find much in popular music that I am enthusiastic about. Of course, the style and mannerisms of the black actors are dated and even stereotypical in the dance number that follows. But it has energy and enthusiasm and the paticipants at least seem to be having fun. The Marx brothers are not afraid to even poke fun at race issues by smearing grease on their face. In fact there are other ethnic stereotypes in the movie such as Chico's Italian persona and the German doctor that no one seems to object to because it is all in good fun and not malicious. In fact, the black race track workers are depicted sympathetically while the villains are greedy and underhanded whites trying to fix the race and steal the sanitarium. They lose and the race track workers stage a triumphal march at the end. I think for 1937 this is actually a pretty progressive film in terms of how black people were portrayed. I think that white audiences in 1937 had a mind set which limited how sympathically black people could be portrayed and humorous situations were a general rule. Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor! My metabolism! September 6, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Although A Night At The Opera is the more widely celebrated, I personally find A Day At The Races the better of the two films. The plot is stronger, the romantic subplot is well integrated into the film and not intrusive, and the few musical numbers are entertaining if rather spurious.
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Day At the Races" - Marxs' last great film October 8, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"A Day At the Races", the Marx Bros. seventh film, released in 1937, is their last real great film in the sense of its overall humor and comic genous.
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).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous! December 8, 2004
I see a lot of people (not necessarily here, but in other Marx Brothers forums) get down on this movie, but I am inclined to disagree. I believe it's right up there with the Brothers' best, including Duck Soup and Night. "Hack-in-a-bush" is Groucho's self-proclaimed favorite role, and he is more natural in his acting here than I've ever seen. Harpo is hysterical as always and Margaret Dumont is brilliant... but I think the real stand-out in this one is Chico. I have never seen him having more fun. His acting is precise and true, his piano scene blows every other one out of the water and his grin is so adorable you can't help but grin back. Honestly, until I saw this Harpo was far and away my favorite, but after Day at the Races Chico is a very close contender. :)

Don't not get this one because you hear it's inferior! Yes, there are some forgettable scenes, but nobody's perfect, people. I think just the chance to see big-eyed Harpo innocently tooting away on his flute in a mass of jolly black workers yelling "WHO'S THAT MAN?" is worth the money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Marx madness + music = excellent!
"A Day at the Races" is a Marx brothers cornucopia of comical craziness, musical magnificence, and horse hilarity. Read more
Published 12 days ago by D. Dalton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 22 days ago by James P. Bobis
4.0 out of 5 stars She is pleased. I am just OK with it
The wife bought this. She is pleased. I am just OK with it.
Published 1 month ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
one of the all time classics
Published 2 months ago by robert hanley
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor commentary track
It's a great film, although the water carnival and ballet are boring and don't further the action at all. I didn't like the commentary, however. Read more
Published 3 months ago by maltixx
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun
Both my wife & I love the Marx Bros. the 8 year old like it also.

No more to be said !!!!
Published 4 months ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Family fun
A great family movie from the Marx Brothers.Slapstick comedy and music, plus Groucho and the gang at the races. Good fun.
Published 5 months ago by SHELLY FEDAKO
5.0 out of 5 stars A Annual Kentucky Derby Movie
This is my annual Ky.Derby movie.I love how it is set up with one comedy situation after another.Some reviews are critical of The Water Carnival sequence. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Lynn Haag
3.0 out of 5 stars A Day at the Races
Comedy bits were funny but the musical numbers ran on too long. Not as good as Duck Soup but still very funny.
Published 6 months ago by William Mosley
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest film I ever saw
This is an amazing piece of work. It has bizarre, almost hallucination-like sequences of classical ballet and African American music and dance which come out of nowhere and seem... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Karen Goozner
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