Sunday, June 06, 2004

manic marxism

The Unknown Marx Brothers is a documentary that explores the lives of some of the greatest comedians of our time. If your introduction to the Marx Brothers has been merely through their films and compilations of Groucho's cynical wit, this documentary offers a lot more. The second half provides insight into their lives after their movie career came to an end, and includes priceless footage of Groucho hosting "You Bet Your Life", and miscellaneous TV appearances by Groucho, Chico and Harpo. There is no attempt to offer a multi-layered narrative, although the makers do a fine job with the editing when it comes to the different explanations offered for the nicknames that the brothers Julius, Leonard and Adolph/Arthur. Wish they had more to tell us about Zeppo and Gummo (who merely get marginal mention throughout the film).

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