Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A History of the Marx Brothers and a Satire on the Rest of the World (A Touchstone book) Paperback – April 1, 1983


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$101.05 $0.62
Paperback, April 1, 1983
$163.02 $3.73
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$6.00

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Series: A Touchstone book
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Paper) (April 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671470728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671470722
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
2
3 star
4
2 star
2
1 star
0
See all 15 customer reviews
This book is supposed to be factual and informative.
Roger Lynn
Whether or not he thinks a certain joke isn't funny or that a scene isn't effective doesn't mean that everyone else feels that way too.
Anyechka
Read this book first in high school and it's always been a favorite.
Stephen Hoover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By coltrane dc on February 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Adamson is best when delving into the pandemonium that went on behind the screen -- the troupes of writers and endless script incarnations it took to make the movies we love today.
But his analysis of the films themselves leaves much to be desired. In his endless scene-by-scene expositions, he assaults the reader with too much of the wrong detail -- surprisingly missing crucial moments and nuances while hitting us over the head with his own facile bias for page after page after page. (Adamson's editor must have been spending a day at the races when this manuscript came up for review.)
We also don't get much of anything about the Brothers' famous sidekicks. Only a couple paragraphs are spared for the great Margaret Dumont, and NONE for Louis Calhern, arguably the best straight-man performance in 1930's comedy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By mike duffy on May 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
There are two ways to write about comedians. The way which sometimes works is to play straight man and let the funny people be funny. The way which always fails is to try to be funnier than the material. Adamson has the annoying habit of doing this, and it ruins an otherwise well-researched and otherwise decently written book. Tons of pictures, lots of great Marxist dialogues, a great (if slightly obsolete) bibliography.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By W. Gary Wetstein on November 18, 1997
Format: Hardcover
It's rare for a book on a specific subject to be so extremely well-written that it's worth recommending to people on that basis alone. This is a book which would be entertaining and even hilarious to people who aren't Marx Brothers fanatics. Even the classic anecdotes that Marxophiles have read a thousand times are told with such wit and energy that they feel new. Adamson's work has served to greatly enhance my already fanatical interest. And yes, even the footnotes are funny.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on January 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
There's a lot of great material in this book; there's no denying that. There are wonderful sections on not only the brothers' movies and vaudeville shows but also the people who worked behind the camera, the screenwriters, and details on the original drafts of some of the movies, showing the changes they went through before they became the final movie versions we know and love today. However, all of those great things can be overwhelmed at times by a number of things, such as Adamson's insistence on trying to be really funny and witty. This was also a problem with Simon Louvish's more recent 'Monkey Business' (although that book had far more of a professional approach to the material apart from the at times annoying writing style). You don't really have to have a funny writing style or constantly make jokes when the people you're writing about are funny enough on their own already. This book could also stand an updated edition; since it was published in 1973, many of the people being talked about (including Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo) were alive and well, and so are referred to in the present tense. Adamson also describes a number of things, events, or remarks as "recent" and "current," and over 30 years later they're obviously no longer that recent or current! However, those are really minor quibbles in comparison to the overwhelming problem with this book, or at least how Adamson chose to present the material.

It's perfectly alright for a writer to occasionally work his or her opinion into a work of nonfiction. However, Adamson does it so often that it just comes across as biased and unprofessional, like he couldn't put aside his own prejudices or views in the interest of writing a balanced neutral account.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Cohen on February 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This exhaustively researched, well considered and very funny book is exactly what the Brothers would have said if they hadn't been so busy making the movies that are examined here so thoroughly. Adamson displays a keen sense of humor and a clear-eyed view of the work of these comic greats. If you only want one book on the Marx Brothers, make it this one. You won't be disappointed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Cohen on December 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The best of the Marx books by far, it is the book that one of the brothers SHOULD have written. Exhaustively researched and written with wit and style, it is the one book you should own if you are a Marx Bros. fan. Don't miss it, under any circumstances. It's funny enough to be a must-read for anyone, not just Marx fans.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By pinniped@ibm.net on August 11, 1997
Format: Hardcover
If you could only read one book about the Marx Brothers and their films, this one should be it. Incredibly complete and detailed, extremely well-researched; but also, hilariously written (even the footnotes are amusing). I cannot reccomend this title highly enough. Adamson reviews the Marxes films scene-by-scene, as well as providing details of how the films came to be written and produced, plus a good deal of biographical information about the Brothers. A new edition is, I'm told, in the works and LONG overdue
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 1997
Format: Paperback
Adamson does more than just write a biography of the Marx Brothers -- he legitimately thows how their early lives influenced their movies, and then goes full circle to show how the movies influenced their lives. Most of the book is a literary critique of the movies, in which Adamson shows keen insight. A key point that he drives home is that the boys were best when unencumbered by a plot, and that they lost nearly all of their appeal when asked to do a script not specifically written for them. Much attention is given to the other people in their lives, especially Margaret Dumont (who really DIDN'T get the jokes on her, quite often!) and Irving Thalberg
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa2ea9828)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?