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Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers (Louvish Hollywood Biographies) Paperback – May 23, 2019
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Louvish does a solid job of separating fact from fiction and includes a family tree and a discussion of the FBI's file on the group.?Monkey Business?includes generous excerpts of classic Marx Brothers film dialog. Recommended-- "Library Journal"
Mr. Louvish has written a well-researched and playful version of this hysterical history.-- "The Orlando Sentinel"
Told with tremendous style and sparkle, Louvish's composite portrait of the Marx Brothers offers an indispensable overview of the actors' saga. Decked out with photographs and sprinkled with excerpts from reviews, interviews, memoirs, film dialogue and hitherto unpublished skits and scripts, this biography captures the sheer exuberance of the foursome as they conquered vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood. Louvish gives equal billing to all the brothersAJulius (Groucho), Leonard (Chico), Arthur (Harpo), Herbert (Zeppo), plus Milton (Gummo), who left the act to become a Hollywood agent and vibrantly re-creates a supporting cast of characters that includes George Kaufman, Irving Berlin, Irving Thalberg, S.J. Perelman and Margaret Dumont ' His fresh research clears up all manner of myths, embellishments and omissions in previous biographies and in the brothers' autobiographies. In this invigorating reappraisal, the Marx Brothers, more than Minnie and Sam's boys who never grew up, ' are timeless satirists of pretension, folly, privilege and snobbery, in the tradition of Cervantes, Rabelais and Mark Twain. The Four Horsemen of the Apoplexy, ' they embody an authentic acceptance of life's absurdity as well as a desperate need to leave one's mark. -- "Publishers Weekly"
From the Back Cover
- Publisher : Interlink Pub Group; Reprint edition (May 23, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 542 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1566560330
- ISBN-13 : 978-1566560337
- Item Weight : 1.5 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #863,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you made up the stat how does it make a point! This is just one example of Louvish's annoying habit of adding cute commentary to a book that needs none. The facts about the Marx's (and to give Louvish credit Zeppo and Gummo do not get the short end of the stick for once) don't need embellishment, they are interesting enough without the "clever" quips. True Marx fans may find the wading through the syrup worthwhile.
This is a very good book. It's well researched and documented thoroughly. Some reviewers were bothered by the insertion of many Marx brothers comedy lines and disparaged Louvish for it. It made me wonder if these reviewers were, indeed, really Marx brothers fans. It seems to me if one likes them it would follow that one would also like their material. I enjoyed it, occasionally laughing out loud or sharing kernels of Groucho wisdom with my wife.
At the same time, I wondered how one might analyze the careers and lives of long dead comedians without an in-depth look at the material that propelled them to fame and fortune in the first place. After all, one of the things that keeps the boys' memories alive today is the quotability of the zingers and remarks stemming from movies, radio and TV over their careers."Say the magic woid and win $100" See, even I have to do it to illustrate a point about their influence on American culture, which was quite substantial.
Simon Louvish has written about many of the early comedians and all his works are marked by a remarkable attention to detail that some readers may not appreciate. I suppose those readers may like something lighter, perhaps shorter that doesn't represent such a commitment of time or thought as his work entails. But I prefer to look at all the elements of a person's life when reading their biography, good and bad, to learn what makes them "tick". You will find the full story of the lives and work and the times of the Marx brothers within Simon Louvish's 'Monkey Business'. It's a very good book.
And, as you can see, I'm very happy I decided to go with my instincts, rather than a review, and went ahead and purchased it. I've read a couple of the other biographies of the boys but this one is the better one, in my humble opinion. Mr. Louvish has a very readable style with lots and lots of details that I'd never heard before. So I was really grateful to him because I thought I already knew a lot about them. Now I realize I knew less than I thought I did. Isn't that always the way when you read a biography of someone you've admired but hadn't had the chance to really study their life and character?
These five young men were born into poverty, made fortunes and lost them, prospered again, lived their whole lives with spotlights aimed at them and yet were, in many respects shy and very private in their personal lives. Additionally, they were very different from each other. These things alone seem to cry out for a detailed look at who they were, how they lived their lives, what they believed in, their likes and dislikes. Louvish goes to great lengths to do just that. So at the end of the day we haven't just glimpsed a slice of a celebrity's but studied it from different angles, held it up to the light and examined them completely.
To me, that's where Simon Louvish exceeds other Marx brothers biographers: by taking time to really glean the details from their lives, and by capturing some of their best material for posterity.
Top reviews from other countries
I've bought in all these years lots of books about them, most of all of great interest.
The Louvish one is probably the best of all: elegantly and wittily written, it also untangles the real life of the Brothers from legends and does it very thoroughly and on the ground of the latest investigations.
Not fit for beginners in Marxology however.
I know a lot of the anecdotes about this rather unusual family have been written in other volumes this book tells the true story
and not the usual hype