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The Cocoanuts

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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(Jun 07, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

The legendary Marx Brothers – Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo – made their motion picture debut in the outrageously funny adaptation of their Broadway play The Cocoanuts. Groucho portrays the owner of the Hotel de Cocoanut who tries to fleece everyone from innocent bellboys and bellgirls to wealthy society matron Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont). Chico and Harpo play resort hotel con men who arrive with empty suitcases they plan to fill by robbing guests. Featuring elaborate musical productions with music by Academy Award winner Irving Berlin, this comedy treasure includes some of the Marx Brothers' best stage routines, such as Groucho's land auction, the excruciatingly funny 'viaduct' dialogue and Polly Potter's engagement party.

Product Details

  • Actors: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx
  • Directors: Joseph Santley, Robert Florey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • 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: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004P9UWKK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,008 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Despite its technically inferior sound and variable print quality, "The Cocoanuts" (1929) remains a cinematic landmark. It was the first musical-comedy captured on film and, most importantly, introduced the Marx Brothers to the big screen. Though shot within the stage-bound confines of Paramount's Astoria studio, directors Robert Florey and Joseph Santley manage to incorporate stylish visual touches that complement the anarchic spirit of Groucho, Harpo, Chico and (briefly) Zeppo. As a result, "The Cocoanuts" lacks the stiffness and claustrophobia that plagued many 1929 talkies. Admittedly, there are a few slow stretches, since the filmmakers and performers hadn't quite mastered the pacing and timing of early sound comedy (notice the Groucho-Margaret Dumont exchanges). Still, the film moves at a pretty good clip (except for the forgettable musical interludes with Mary Eaton and Oscar Shaw) while showcasing some of the Marxes' best routines. Harpo, in particular, is brilliant and remarkably inventive throughout. Groucho has plenty of memorable dialogue, but his portrayal of Mr. Hammer is no match for Captain Spaulding or Rufus T. Firefly. Chico, of course, represents the ideal visual-verbal counterpart for Harpo and Groucho, even though his character is more belligerent than usual. And poor Zeppo would have better opportunities in his remaining film appearances. Flaws and all, "The Cocoanuts" survives as a fine introduction to Marxian madness.
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By A Customer on August 20, 2002
Format: DVD
Excuse me, dear Amazonian friends, but how long do we have to be subjected to that kind of abusive prices for used DVD's before you come up with the definitive Marx Brothers Complete DVD Collection? There are only 13 movies and scores of fans waiting for the remastered versions. Count me in for the first set.
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Format: DVD
Although THE JAZZ SINGER was appeared in 1927, it took a while for talking films to truly get off the ground, and most THE COCOANUTS remains the only talking film made before 1930 that still is seen with any regularity. Technically, this is a very rough movie. The sound is truly rough, and at times it does diminish the enjoyment of the movie. But fortunately, enough of the anarchistic energy manages to shine through and makes this a thoroughly delightful film despite the limitations of the sound. The most famous onscreen evidence of the problems they had with sound at the time was the over sensitivity the microphones had to higher pitched sounds. As a result, all paper had to be soaked in water to prevent the microphones from picking up the crackling noises it made. In the famous Why a Duck? skit, Groucho has in his possession the most improbably droopy map one could ever imagine encountering.
The Marx Brothers were the last of the great vaudeville comic acts to make it to the silver screen. The reason is obvious: while many vaudevillians for whom the spoken word was important managed great silent screen careers, the Marx Brothers relied enormously on speech. Although Groucho was a fine physical comedian, his act was impossible without words; Harpo could easily dispense with sound, but even he whistled, honked, and played the Harp, and much of his humor was framed by the words of others, either friends or enemies; and Chico, who was the only one of the three main brothers who was ungifted in physical humor, would have been completely at sea without being able to speak his indecipherable concoction of Italian.
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Format: VHS Tape
Paramount literally plucked the Brothers off the Broadway stage to film one of the first sound musical films. The Brothers were performing in Animal Crackers on Broadway at night and rushing to the Astoria Studios to film Cocoanuts during the day. When everyone makes claims that the picture is disjointed and clumsy in appearance, keep in mind that the Brothers were giving a full Broadway performance the night before. They were also re-creating antics for a movie based directly on a stage show they had taken on a huge run a year or so earlier. So, in effect they were performing two Broadway scaled shows. But movies are a slow process and this snail pace must have been excrutiating on the timing based Marxes. The Marxes, used to biding time on trains while on the Vaudeville circuit, tried to recapture their mix of good hearted and mean spirited fun during the long delays ( ie..the cameraman filmed from inside a tall box to muffle the sound of the loud camera, Busby Berkeley-type musical numbers, and no audience to gauge response-though performing Cocoanuts as they had for so long on stage, they must have had a feel for time for most anticipated laughs, but could the timing be edited correctly?) The editing is not very good, but can it be blamed on the original film, or what television has trimmed down over the years? Things to note next time you watch Cocoanuts: In The Why a Duck routine Groucho almost slips and calls Chico 'Ravelli', his character name in Animal Crackers (which they were performing at night). Harpo plays a clarinet! Groucho ~"Do you want A Swede on the third floor? Chico ~ "I'd rather have a Polock in the basement" PC there, huh?Read more ›
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