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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Steve's Church-Less Movie Of The Week: Rerun Edition ...

Today is Father's Day and in an hour or two we are going to all go see Green lantern in 3D for free thru my hookup people at the movie theater.


Last thing I want to do is put forth all the effort that it takes in putting a new sunday movie together.


So here is an old movie from almost two years ago that for whatever reason I never actually got around to watch. But don't worry. I'll spruce it up and add more info and stuff so it SEEMS new.


Anyway, enjoy ...




Yoinked from Wikipedia and marx-brothers.org ...


"At the Circus is a 1939 Marx Brothers comedy film in which they save a circus from bankruptcy. It is notable for Groucho Marx's classic rendition of 'Lydia the Tattooed Lady.' The film co-stars include Margaret Dumont, Eve Arden, and Kenny Baker.


Lydia the Tattooed Lady


The Marx Brothers had been out of favor at MGM since the sudden 1936 death of their producer and benefactor Irving Thalberg during the production of A Day at the Races (1937). So in the middle of the production of 'At the Circus,' longtime Thalberg rival Louis B. Mayer removed songwriters Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg from the Marx Brothers film and reassigned them to the 'prestige' MGM production The Wizard of Oz (1939).




Circus owner Jeff Wilson (Kenny Baker) has been disowned by his wealthy aunt, Mrs. Dukesbury (Margaret Dumont). He is having financial trouble so one of his employees, Antonio (Chico) sets out to hire Attorney J. Cheever Loophole (Groucho) to help out. Loophole arrives only to find that the $10,000 Jeff was going to use to pay off part of his debt to John Carter (James Burke) has been stolen. With the help of Antonio and Punchy (Harpo), Loophole tries to uncover the thieves and return the dough to Wilson.


Buster Keaton worked on the film as a gag man. His career was on the downside and he was forced to work for scale. His complex and sometimes belabored gags (recalled in the book Groucho, Harpo, Chico and sometimes Zeppo) did not work well with the Marx Brothers' brand of humor, and was a source of friction between the comedian and the group. When Groucho called Keaton on the inappropriateness of his gags for the Marx Brothers, Keaton responded, 'I'm only doing what Mr. Mayer asked me to do. You guys don't need help.'


Groucho was aged 48 during the filming of At the Circus, and his hairline had begun receding. As such, he took to wearing a toupee throughout the film and would do the same for the following film, Go West.




After a short stint with RKO, the Marxes returned to MGM for this film. In his autobiography, Groucho And Me (copyright 1959 by Groucho Marx), Groucho mentions one aspect of this picture. There was a rather significant part in the film for an ape. Since they had no luck getting a live ape to play the part and had no desire to capture one and train him, they decided to hire an actor in an ape skin.


It seems that not only did the actor have an agent, but the ape skin had an agent of it's own. The problem arose that the actor couldn't get enough air in the skin and caused trouble by fainting in the middle of shooting. He tried to alleviate this problem by secretly punching holes in the costume. After a long period of shooting where the actor was performing without any ill effects, the skin's agent figured something screwy was going on, so he checked out the suit and found the ventilation holes. He stalked out of MGM with the skin over his shoulder, never to be seen again.


After three days outside of a gorilla skin, the actor became uncomfortable and tracked down a man in San Diego who had an orangutan skin. Since orangutans are much smaller than gorillas, the actor couldn't fit into the skin and was replaced with a smaller man who had made a name for himself playing orangutans in the San Diego area. Thus, there are actually two apes in 'At The Circus.' Groucho goes on to talk about the reviews of the picture: 'At the first preview nobody mentioned us. Our gifted performances went for naught. The audience had eyes only for the gorilla. But overcritical viewers complained that in some scenes the gorilla seemed to be larger than he was in others, and that this had definitely weakened the credibility of the love story...Later however, when the picture was released, the theatres were obliged to refund the price of admission to many gorilla aficionados who complained that they had paid not to see the Marx Brothers but to see a full-sized gorilla, and instead they had been slipped a shrunken ape.'"




Steve's Snacks Of The Week:



Coffee

Pills

Sun Chips

Root Beer

Goldfish Crackers

Blue Popcorn


... AND NOW, Steve and this blog are both PROUD to once again present today's Church-less Movie of the Week in its entirety absolutely FREE! But first lets go over a few ground rules. Absolutely no talking is allowed in this or any of our 1 Galindo Theater locations. Any and all talkers will be mercilessly slapped. No cell phones or African-American berries going off in the theater. And NO TEXTING.


And be sure to dim your headlights (where applicable).


Enjoy the show y'all!


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