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1. Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting
2. The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia
3. The Marx Brothers as Social Critics:
4. Monkey Business: The Lives and
5. Marx Brothers Movies (A Berkley
6. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes
7. Marx and Re-Marx - Creating and
8. The Marx Brothers Scrapbook
9. The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography
10. Marx Brothers (Classical Film
11. The Marx Brothers: Monkey Business,
12. The Marx Brothers
13. American Comedy Troupes: Marx
14. The Marx Brothers: The Pocket
15. Growing Up With Chico
16. Animal Crackers (Marx Brothers)
17. The Marx Brothers at the Movies
18. The Four Marx Brothers in Monkey
19. A Century of the Marx Brothers
20. The Complete Films of the Marx

1. Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made
by Roy Blount Jr.
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$10.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061808164
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Nearly eighty years after its release, the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup remains one of the most influential pieces of political satire in history. In Hail, Hail, Euphoria! bestselling author Roy Blount Jr. tells the history and making of Duck Soup, examining the comedic genius of the Marx Brothers at their finest hour. Seventy-seven years ago a slim, agile, quick-witted, self-assured young man was summoned to save a nation from financial ruin. As the nation's new president, he brought together a team of rivals, a band of brothers. Those brothers were Pinky, Chicolini, and Lt. Bob Roland. Their leader's name? None other than Rufus T. Firefly. The humor and idiosyncratic wit of Duck Soup is matched by the author's own clever quips in this gem of a book, offering a behind-the-scenes tale of show business and brotherhood that only a true Marx Brothers aficionado could tell. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars What's the point?
This seems a hastily written and formatted book (by the publisher).The conversational style is
difficult to follow and slows one's enjoyment, since one has to sometimes do a double take
to understand what he's refferring to.And there were a great many lengthy "asides", as when he's
talking about the director or ducks swimming in the intro to the movie or WHATEVER!

There are a few interesting facts here and there, but I felt I had to work for them, while wading
through this cutesy poo muck. The whole book is like a Groucho "aside"--only I didn't care
about the info from other movies, because I'll never see them anyway...

The reference points for bottom of page notes--asterisks, etc.--are tiny and hard to see,
so I found myself squinting to find the sentence that that page's note referred to.
Do I need to be reminded by this guy how great the Marx brothers were, in a barely amusing,
haphazard narrative that smacks of self congratulatory awe?NO! Resoundingly no...
So do yourself a favor and skip this; there are PLENTY of good books on the brothers Marx.
Or you could just watch the film again and "get it" on your own.
Marginally informative time waster.

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing
I just introduced my 11 year old to Duck Soup a few weeks ago. He loved it and we've since been watching many of the Marx Brothers' best movies together. With this revival of interest, I've recently reread "Groucho and me", "Harpo speaks", looked over various online articles.

So, when the Wall Street Journal gave prominent space to Larry Miller's rave review of this book last week, it felt eerily well-timed and I rushed to order the book. It came today, I've read it and...
I guess it didn't live up to my expectations from Miller's review.

I don't like the style -- the concept is that Blount talks us through the movie, it's running in a corner of his screen while he types, almost like a commentary reel on the DVD, but with pauses for digressions. There is no other real organization and the book has a rambly tone that makes it seem somewhat slapdash. Even the parts that probably took a fair amount of background research get a somewhat improvised flavor to them and the whole thing, lacking chapter divisions or an index, just sort of meanders.

And the blow-by-blow descriptions of some scenes just seem likea waste of space. Fans of the movie are quite familiar with all the business in the lemonade scene already. He also has digressions where he goes into too much detail describing scenes from other movies -- even bugs bunny cartoons.

There *is* some good stuff here, some of it may be familiar to Marx fans, but certainly a lot that I didn't know (I found the material about Leo McCarey and his other movies particularly interesting).

Again, maybe I just expected too much. Many parts of the book were entertaining and I did learn some new things. It just feels like it could have been distilled and organized into one or two really good magazine articles, and in this form it is both padded and disordered -- and not that good, Marx-Brothers-style disorder, either.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wait For The Paperback
Roy Blount couldn't help but inject his own humor into a review of the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup (allegedly while he was watching it).

There are some interesting insights, unfortunately they all pretty much come from quotes of Harpo Speaks! and the like. The text will be moving right along and then the author will latch onto a pun (or two or three) and for me, the narrative stops with a loud "Clunk".

In one of the reviews on the back cover of my copy is the statement from the Washington Post Book World: "You's be pulling off a major stunt to hold your laughter while reading Roy Blount."Unfortunately I was able to meet this challenge.

The highlights for me take place when he's sharing his insights on watching it again and sometimes freezing a particular frame to see what it reveals. It's when he's narrating the movie and not trying to be Roy Blount, humorist that this book is truly enjoyable.

Any Marx Brothers fan will want to read this book, but take my advice and wait for the paperback...

5-0 out of 5 stars A Humorist Writes a Detailed, Appreciative Look at the Movie & the Marx Brothers
Roy Blount jr., a humorist himself, writes a very appreciative, witty and often serious and appreciative view of the Marx Brother's critical 1933 film 'Duck Soup'. While Blount refers to 'Duck Soup' as one of the greatest war movie of all time, as stunning as that remark may seem, a national known military magazine actually rates the film as a top 20 war film of all time. The writing styleof Blount is energetic and very fast paced discussing the script, goes back to the movie, the script, then the movie, the brothers, the support actors such as Margaret Dumont, the frequent straight woman foil for Groucho and the boys. Blount provides generous bios on the brothers periodically through his detailed analysis of the film and with intimate details of the film, even describing the stage fruit that the brothers heave at the the end and at Dumont. There is so much captured by Blount, the detailed comedic moments like Chico and Harpo's teasing the lemonade man, and Groucho & Harpo's mirror act that, as Blount describes, is more than coordinatedtiming but is a special sense of each other from their uniquely close relationship literally growing up at stage. Blount provides fascinating background on the brothers evolving act that was initiated and coordinated by their stage mother Minnie, who sounds funny in her own right, such as wearing a corset to make an entrance then immediately removing it. Blount not only provides descriptions of Chico, Groucho and Harpo but Zeppo who leaves to produce and create a mechanical company that has great success in the medical field and even Gummo who ironically has the last laugh in the book. The movie in itself has an odd familiarity on why wars start, in this case Fredonia needs money and war seems to be the answer and the masses are pitched into hysteria to support the war. Blount has his serious side showing where many similar types of gags, movies etc. from Keaton and Chalin to an obscure french movie that came out before Duck but offers many similarities. This is both a serious look at the film, virtually frame by frame and an appreciation for the Marx's humor. I wish I had watched the movie again just before reading the book, you'll enjoy the book even more if you do. Then read the book and watch the film a second time. I just ordered the DVD version.To end this review, I love the reference to the Mayor of Fredonia, NY who supposedly complained when the movie came out that he wished the makers of the film would change the name of the country so as not to embarrass the town, Groucho quiped "Change the name of the town, it's hurting our movie'.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fresh coat of merriment for an old classic
Page for page, this is the most entertaining and enlightening discussion of a single film I've ever read. You might want to watch the movie again (or for the first time), then treat yourself to Blount's manic musings. He provides far more than an account of the comics at work: a bit of history about early film comedy, an appreciation of director Leo McCarey, and a reflection on what can be funny without being crude. Blount is as unpredictable and as irrepressible as the movie itself. He jumps from a shot-by-shot discussion of the film to any number of topics that come to mind, particularly the lives and careers of Minnie Marx's boys. He's nearly halfway though his 144 pages when he reaches the 12-minute mark of the 68-minute film. One footnote takes up three-quarters of a page. But, as Chico might say, "That's irrelephant!" Blount packs every paragraph with interesting facts, thoughtful observations or humorous anecdotes, many admittedly tangential to the movie. It's his skill with language and his effort to figure out what tickles us that make this book a joy to read. ... Read more

2. The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia
by Glenn Mitchell
Paperback: 304 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$17.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 190528781X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

From their abandoned projects to how the brothers dealt with potential competitors, such as Buster Keaton, a wealth of information on lives and careers of all the brothers is organized in this A-to-Z reference. Glenn Mitchell's latest findings are included as he continues to research the unique careers of Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo, Gummo—and Manfred. Vaudeville, Broadway, and the classic films, including Cocoanuts, Duck Soup, and A Night at the Opera, are all covered in engrossing detail, as are the brothers' subsequent careers in solo films, on stage, and in radio and television.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on The Marx Brothers I've Ever Seen
This is the most detailed book on the Marx Brothers I've ever seen.I highly recommend it.Every single movie they ever made,together and alone,is so fully detailed.Plus every actor and actress the brothers ever worked with(including the legendary Margeret Dumont of course)is also fully reviewed.

This book is a must for any Marx fan!

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything but the kitchen sink is included in this book....
Actually, I think I saw the sink somewhere in the book too!;)

It's everything you could possibly want to know about the Marxes.I like the A to Z format, it's very easy to navigate your way through the book.I use it all the time for reference. A well-researched, well-written book. Get this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars While we wait for the dvd's...Bob
Wonderful book full of trivia for even the most expert Marx fanatic. Revised edition is well worth the investment for info such as the butchering of "Night at the Opera"...which is the film with the stateroom scene asked about previously.

4-0 out of 5 stars question answered
The answer to your question isA Night At the Opera and is considered one of their most famous scenes.

I have not read the book yet but I have a question about one of their movies that I hope someone can answer. I cannot remember
the movie this skit was in but it was the skit where Groucho, Harpo and Chico are sharing basically a tiny room on board a ship. First the cleaning ladies come in to clean, then the steward delivers food, then the mechanics come in to adjust a pipe valve and finally the room is packed head to toe with all
of these people and they all pop out of the cabin door and spill out onto the ships floor. It is hilarious! Please, someone, which movie is this scene from. It's making me crazy that I can't recall the movie title. HELP!!! ... Read more

3. The Marx Brothers as Social Critics: Satire and Comic Nihilism in Their Films
by Martin A. Gardner
Paperback: 218 Pages (2009-08-05)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$31.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786439424
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Marx Brothers' films are packed with slapstick and obvious jokes, gags, puns, pratfalls, and mimicry. But beneath the laughs is a serious and biting condemnation of American culture. This book examines historical events, political practices, economic conditions, manners and customs, literary subjects, and popular entertainment as satirized in the films and considers the ways in which the films were relevant in their era and remain so today. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars History Lesson Of The Marx Brothers Times
I was not real sure about this book when I first saw it. It was excactly what I was hoping for. In the Marx Brothers movies there are scenes and jokes that are not meaningful to this generation (or even a couple before.) The book tells of the times of what was going on in culture of America, things like the Depression and Society. I see it as an informative book helping someone that was not alive in the twenty years the brothers made the films get some inside information. This helps the films become more complete. I learned some things from the book and enjoyed a lot. Thanks for some of the greatest comedy ever Chico, Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo and Gummo. ... Read more

4. Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of The Marx Brothers
by Simon Louvish
Paperback: 480 Pages (2001-09-25)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$95.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312283822
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Monkey Business is the first comprehensive biography of all five Marx brothers—Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo. It features the first authentic account of their origins, their comedy roots, and their twenty-four years on stage prior to their first movie, The Cocoanuts, in 1929. Monkey Business brings to life the vanished world of America's variety circuits, leading to the Marx Brothers' Broadway success and their alliance with New York's theatrical lions, George S. Kaufman and the Algonquin Round Table.

Louvish showcases well-minted Marxian dialogue, and much madness and mayhem in this tale of the Brothers' Hollywood battles, their films, their loves and marriages, and the story of the forgotten brother Gummo, who never appeared on screen. Salvador Dali's "missing" script for Harpo, the true identity of the long-suffering Margaret Dumont, and the politics of "Marxism-à-la-Groucho" all contribute to this definitive biography of these beloved brothers.
Amazon.com Review
A serious book hiding behind a goofy title, Monkey Business captures a tremendous amount of detail in its pages, enough to satisfy the most hard-core Marx Brothers aficionado. Author Simon Louvish has a talent for showcasing contrasts, and it's these contrasts--along with a few surprises--that make the brothers such fascinating characters. Among all the scripts, photos, and quotes are some unexpected discoveries, especially the real story of Margaret Dumont. While lamenting the tall tales that have circulated around this actress's life so far, Louvish applauds her image as the ultimate "straight" lady when she was really pulling a lifelong practical joke. And while the one-liners are as entertaining as always, it's refreshing to see glimpses of Groucho's serious side. One chapter begins with an earnest letter to his daughter's boyfriend about the young man's struggles with anti-Semitism, advising him to "comport yourself in such a manner that you will ultimately gain their respect." Of course, he immediately follows up with "Tomorrow we're having tea at the White House. I hope they have pumpernickel": this is Groucho we're talking about, after all. Louvish takes the same one-two narrative punch with the other brothers, interspersing real-life slapstick with tales of gambling debts, relationship difficulties, and professional disappointments and triumphs. Complete with a chronological list of life events and films, a complete reference list, and a thorough index, Monkey Business is the biography serious Marx Brothers fans have been waiting for. --Jill Lightner ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, poorly reasoned, poorly checked
I'd give this book one star, but some of the author's patience and endurance in slogging through some old documentary evidence does deserve credit, and does make for some interesting reading. The project as a whole, though, is a monumental failure.

First, the book is almost unreadable. There are multiple puns in nearly every sentence. The tone expresses the author's desperation, and no other word will do, to be thought clever. It gets in the way of what reliable information is in the book.

Second, the author's interpretation of the evidence is shaky at best. Because an early draft of a play script is the same or very similar to a movie filmed years later does not in any way prove that the performers didn't ad lib extensively while staging the play, but the author treats the matter as settled, the ad libbing as something minimal and grossly exaggerated, just because the Marx Brothers' movies are similar to the early play scripts. Nonsensical.

Finally, for all the author's smug assurance that he's gotten the details right where earlier authors were sloppy, you'd think perhaps he could check details like the spelling of Nacogdoches. I live in Nacogdoches -- I'm writing this from Nacogdoches -- and it is NOT "Nagacdoches," an error he repeats five or six times on a single page. It's not the easiest town name in the world to spell, and from any other author I'd shrug and read on, but this author's self-congratulation for his accuracy is so overblown that the glaring error is all the more maddening.

Bits of the book were worth the read, but disappointing isn't a strong enough descriptor.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not quite perfect
The massive comprehensive research Mr. Louvish did for this book is truly impressive.Not only do we get huge amounts of biographical information on the five main subjects, we also get a lot of information on the generations that came immediately before.Some readers might feel all of that information is superfluous, but you can't really understand a person unless you know where the person comes from.I really enjoyed all of this background information.Another highlight was all of the research into their vaudeville years, as well as how for once Gummo and Zeppo don't get the short end of the stick.I also loved the pictures, but wished there had been more, particularly showing the boys with their own families.That would've been a really nice touch, given how much information we got on their wives and children.Another plus was the information on baby Manfred, whom many researchers and even members of the Marx family long believed was apocryphal.Based on the information given, I was able to submit his burial location and the brief biographical information and cause of death to the Find-a-Grave website and will know where to find his grave if I'm ever in the Brooklyn cemetery where he's buried.

I wasn't as bothered by the writing style by others have been, but I agree that it could get a little overly cutesy.Encorporating such a style once in awhile is fine, but sometimes it seems overdone, and you don't really need to write in a funny style when the people you're writing about are already funny enough on their own.I also thought their post-1937 films, for the most part, were given amazingly short schrift.Just because generally speaking most people don't hold them in high regard doesn't mean they're only worth a few pages each.Maybe it's time to give these later films a critical reevaluation and see what is good in them instead of automatically saying they're so bad they don't even deserve the same detailed treatment their first seven films deserve.And I agree, for all of Mr. Louvish's massive research on the Marx family, it seems baffling that he couldn't go to the pretty minor effort to look up the meaning of some of these American references and slang words that he admits he doesn't know the meaning of, instead of saying, for example, "No, I have no idea what a college widow is either."I also noticed a few other minor errors; for example, Mr. Louvish states that Harpo is the one who steals Maurice Chevalier's passport in 'Monkey Business,' when Zeppo was actually the one who did that.

Overall, this is a very engrossing entertaining book, although small things like the ones detailed above prevent me from giving it a full 5 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent in spite of author's cutesy style.
Okay, the author's style is idiosyncratic (look it up!) and sometimes annoying.He is as keen to tell us how he found the information as he is to tell it.But if you can get past all that, this is a great resource that gets at the truth (or as close to it as possible), clearing up a lot of the mis- and dis-information put out over the years about the Marxes and their achievements.I really felt after reading it that I have a much better understanding of the "real" story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well, "Monkey Business" IS my all time fave Marx movie......
And I must say that this book of the same title is right up there too. I thought Simon Louvish did an excellent job of digging up the truth on the Marxian tales that have swirled around for many, many years. His research of the ancestral roots of Minnie and Sam "Frenchy" Marx are impeccable.....and Louvish's way of putting the "ages" of the brothers in their proper timeframe is first rate.I think he captured each brother perfectly.I was impressed at his case for giving Chico a hell of lot more credit in steering the brothers to superstardom.Chico was a go-getter, just like his mother Minnie, and I was happy to see Chico portrayed as something more than just the gambling, womanizing, loose cannon type of a guy we all know about (or thought we knew about). That's not to say Chico wasn't like that, it's just good to hear something else about him for a change (I'd kill to have the mathematical mind that guy had!). Harpo is always just the Harpo we all know (just like in "HARPO SPEAKS!") and love.He definitely marched to a beat of a different drummer (Louvish captures that perfectly), Harpo was his own man to say the least. That's a good thing.Groucho, is displayed (like usual) as cantankerous, moody and insulting (well, this IS Groucho we're talking about!). But Louvish gets into the reasons WHY Groucho was that way (let's just say insecurities MIGHT have played a small part in Groucho's disposition).

For me, reading of Zeppo's burden of being so much younger and feeling he was always an afterthought is sad. To be bearing the middle name of his deceased eldest brother, you have to feel some sympathy towards the poor guy.Zep's talents lie elsewhere, as subsequent chapters explain. Louvish's use of prime Marxist dialogue is superb, and he really outdid himself in research at the Libary of Congress, finding several vintage manuscripts just lying there waiting to have their moment in print.......speaking of moments, I was reallyintrigued by the true story of Margaret Dumont.This woman managed to pull off the ultimate lifelong-practical joke on GROUCHO of all people. Read the book to see what I'm talking about. Everything you'd want to know about the Marxes is here, and there's so much irony in the stories, it's mind boggling.What really got me was the sad way each of their lives ended.None of them (except maybe Gummo) just went along peacefully. Chico died of arteriosclerosis, with practically nothing to show for all the glory years in the movies, Harpo had a heart attack during open-heart surgery (on his 28th wedding anniversary no less), Zeppo died of lung cancer. Groucho's surviving relatives' feud with Erin Fleming (even after Grouch was gone) was a sad closing to an amazing, but sometimes painful life. But it's the laughter that kept the brothers (and brought all of us) together.That's what this book celebrates more than anything.The genius of their comedy, their anarchistic style, they brought THEMSELVES to us, the movie goer. That's why almost 80 years later, we're still interested in them, because there was no one else like them, probably never will be.But it's the legacy of laughter they left behind, the legacy that Louvish writes about so beautifully. First rate book, get this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Biography
Louvish's detailed biography of the MB's is very good indeed. Starting in mid action, sympathetic, never genuflecting , the book goes on to describe what became of the Marx Brothers. Humorwise the author isn't trying to be the sixth Marx Brother any more than he's trying to be fourth Beastie Boy, the second Maureen Lipman, or the fifth Beatle. He's just trying to set the scene, which I feel will add to the book's value as time goes on, because that's what good history is.
Of all the secondary Marx(i.e. surname-not-Marx) material I have read, this is the one I have the most affection for, mainly because it is not trying to be definitive or exhaustive or curatorial, and yet strangely is better at all three than anything else Marx-related I've read in the past. Even if you've never seen a MB movie, you will probably find plenty here to amuse. ... Read more

5. Marx Brothers Movies (A Berkley Windhover book)
by Paul D. Zimmerman
 Paperback: 224 Pages (1975-07-01)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 042502928X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars "They were America's madmen during its age of normalcy"
Like a previous reviewer, I, too, have warm memories of this book.I was a kid in the 1980s and a big Marx Brothers fan.I found this book in the library and checked it out numerous times.I didn't take the time to read it, but enjoyed looking at the photos from all the Marx Brothers films, including a few I had yet to see.Well, decades later, I bought a copy for my personal library and actually read it and was pleasantly surprised that it is not just a summary of the films.

Zimmerman and Goldblatt begin with brief 5-page history on how the Marx Brothers developed their varied talents.A lot of the information was gathered from Harpo's autobiography.They then dive into the films in chronological order.Detailed summaries with quotes are provided but also a little analysis on the part of the authors, some history behind the making of the films (here, they quote a lot from the Groucho Letters), and excerpts from reviews published when the films were first released.The authors are not sycophants, either.They tell it like it is.Though they are definitely Marx Brothers fans and are not too critical of the Brothers' performances, they do not let them completely off the hook.They admit, for example, that the Brothers did not fare well in a film plot not built around them (Room Service).Sometimes their criticism is brutal, but usually when it came to the scripts, romantic leads, or musical numbers."Room Service" is described as "pretty close to living death," the romantic leads in "At The Circus" were "the most repulsively saccharine of all," and "The Big Store" was "a musical comedy without comedy."They are not just critical of the later films; they do not, for example, care for "Animal Crackers" which they believe drags and does not play against the plot or jettison it like "The Cocoanuts."

The authors also provide some insightful analysis.They explain, for example, that Groucho and Harpo in character worked well with strangers in the storyline whereas Chico needed to play off one of the brothers; however, Chico worked well with both brothers whereas Groucho and Harpo's characters rarely worked together.Also, Chico was the only character to which Groucho played straight man (pg. 55).

Finally, this book offers hundreds of excellent quality photos from all the films.I recommend the hard cover edition because on the inside front cover there are strips of photos of the brothers and Margaret Dumont.Some of the photos are 2-pagers.The authors did favor Harpo a lot in these photos.Four of the 2-page photos are just of Harpo.Although their one-page conclusion on the brothers since "Love Happy" and the current state of comedy (1950s) is very outdated, this book is still a valuable addition to any Marx Brothers fan's library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gee I Miss That Book
Back in the late sixties when I was a mere youth growing up in the Bronxand a fan of Channel 9, I became fascinated by the Marx Brothers and subsequently bought the initial hardcover edition of this book (circa 1969). I even had occasion to write Mr Zimmerman with my review ( at age 14) of his book. Yes Groucho, he wrote me back & I have his letter- on Newsweek stationery.Unfortunately, word soon spread of my possession of this most valuable opus and a friend(?) named Andrew Halp..n borrowed the book.Neither the book nor Andrew have been seen since.Gee I miss that book.

If you are lucky enough to find a copy you will love it. If you happen to run into Andrew, press on the accelerator.:-)

5-0 out of 5 stars Marx Brothers At The Movies
Still have original paperback version of this great book. Each chapter covers details and behind the scenes stories of each of the films the team made, from The Coconuts to Love Happy. Very well done, with a good mix of pictures. I'd recommend it highly. ... Read more

6. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A History of the Marx Brothers and a Satire on the Rest of the World (A Touchstone book)
by Joe Adamson
 Paperback: 464 Pages (1983-04)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$97.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671470728
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Twelve extra words per sentence.
Too many words. Tries to be funny but only succeeds about 10% of the time and unfortunately tries about 1,000 times. There's a lot of good material here, but it's presented in a weird trying- to- be- funny way that's more distracting than illuminating. Still, a good read for fans; I doubt non-Fans will get past the cover.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Bible for Marx Brothers Fans? Psh!
The man who wrote this book is an unfunny man who thinks his writing is rather funny. He must also think that he is more credible if he doesn't laud the team, but launches an "attack" (he writes poorly) on the Marx Brothers. He seems to think that by pointing out their flaws, he must be comedically superior to them.

This book is supposed to be factual and informative. This man has done some research, but writes of his personal feelings. Adamson knows very little of Chico, and, in my opinion, he writes him off as part of the comedy team. There is an incredible amount of nit-picking in this book, and in the case of Chico, Adamson has to prove that the line "It's better to have loft and lost than to never have loft at all" is a poor pun. He looks over the bigger picture which includes in this scene a crazy man yelling and throwing things from a hay loft and that Chico is very reluctant to get any nearer to this guy. At this point Chico's eager to employ any excuse to leave, and he actually delivers the line superbly.

Most unforgivable is Adamson's failure to recognize "I'm Daffy Over You" as an original composition of Chico's, first appearing in Animal Crackers. He associates Chico with "Sugar In the Morning". That song was published in 1957 and was written by men who weren't even alive when Chico first played his piece. I wouldn't be surprised if he pronounced Chico's name "Cheeko" instead of "Chick-o".

In an attempt at humor, Adamson explains that logic is illogical. Anything that is a certainty will only be contradicted by another certainty and that his statement isn't a certainty or it would contradict itself. I think that deserves a nomination for the most idiotic and inane string of words in the English language. What a pointless half a page! And there are plenty of these...

He includes at the beginning of the book a quote about how people who write about comedy are rarely funny. His statement holds true, so thanks for providing the insult, Adamson.

His work is by no means a "Celebration of the Marx Brothers" or a comprehensive guide to their works. It comes across more as a diary entry rather than a product of research, though he does provide some good information here and there. It has probably as many facts as either Groucho's or Harpo's authobiography, and I don't have to tell you if Adamson's book or one of the Marx Brothers is better, but I don't see anyone searching libraries for information on the life or comedic career of Joe Adamson.

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid biography of Grouch and kin
The best thing about this exhaustively researched and jauntily written critical biography is the anecdotes: Groucho once "attended a spritualists' meeting and answered a call for questions to the Great Spirit by standing up and asking, 'What's the capital of North Dakota?'"

Adamson, a college professor, brings an academic's seriousness of purpose and breadth of knowledge to bear on the Marx Brothers' lives and work. He also brings -- and this sets off this volume from most Hollywood hagiography -- an irreverent and entertaining prose style. He is serious but never stuffy.

Although he touches on every stage of their career, Adamson wisely concentrates on the '30s, when the Marx Brothers were at their creative peak. He examines almost scene by scene such movie classics as "The Coconuts," "Animal Crackers," "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races," demonstrating how and why the comedy team was funny.

Adamson also records their decline, more in the style of a documentary than a Hollywood expose. The book is packed with photographs and movie stills and dozens of excerpts of the madcap dialog that made them famous. And more anecdotes: Groucho "was probably not aware of everything he was saying when a 'You Bet Your Life' contestant stated that she had 13 children and could explain it only by proclaiming, 'I love my husband!' 'I like my cigar too,' said Groucho, 'but I take it out once in a while.'"

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as great as it could have been
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.He presents so many of his opinions as undisputed authoritative fact, which really isn't fair or professional.For example, my own favorite Marx Brothers movie is 'A Day at the Races,' which he constantly makes cutting comments about, saying the jokes are limp and feeble more often than not, it doesn't start the way it should, the boys are too out of character, none of the musical numbers are necessary, and on and on.He also leaves out a number of important scenes in the film.It's quite ironic, since earlier he had mentioned his disdain for critics who overanalyse comedy and what makes us laugh.From here on out he criticises their films more and more, engaging in that very overanalysis.Chances are, if you talk to people who either came to the team through their post-1937 films or who saw them without being aware of the general consensus on them being not quite up to par with their earlier work, you won't find nearly as many complaints.Who cares if they've become softer around the edges, if there's more of a plot and less constant joking, or if jokes aren't followed up by the punchlines you were waiting for?Just because he thinks these later jokes and movies don't work means everyone feels the same way?He also waxes disbelief when he quotes someone who actually has a positive opinion of these later films, like it's outrageous anyone would actually find them funny and worth watching.And only three pages to discuss 'Room Service'?!I don't think anyone would argue that these later films are of the same quality that their earlier films were, because of how they lost a lot of creative control and were forced to put a romantic/musical subplot in each picture, but I think a lot of people are missing the point.They had to change and grow as artists; they couldn't have constantly gone on remaking 'Monkey Business.'When they moved to MGM, a new formula was put in place, and it saved their careers.Adamson seems so busy bashing their post-1937 films, with more criticism and less amount of space reserved for each succeeding one, that he can barely find anything good to say about them.For example, just take this one sentence about 'The Big Store':"It's hard to tell whether the rest of these scenes are supposed to be funny or not, so let's just get on to the climax."What a professional approach.The Marx Brothers only made 13 films together, and to only like half of their recorded output really calls into question one's qualifications to write a book about their film career.Come on, who would dare to write a book about, say, Laurel and Hardy, who made a lot more than just 13 films, and admit one only cares for half of their work?I really think their post-1937 films are due for a positive reevaluation; they're really not as bad as a lot of people have long made them out to be.

There are also a number of factual errors he makes (e.g., giving Gummo's year of birth as 1897 instead of 1892, giving the wrong release years of the films 'Seven Years Bad Luck' and 'Blockheads'), as well as a bias against a number of other comedians and comedy teams, whom he makes dismissive remarks about (particularly Abbott and Costello).Because I'm sure no fans of these other comedians will be reading this book and feel offended that their other favorite comedians have just been mocked.Adamson also makes a number of comments displaying bias against silent films, such as, to use just one example, saying no one knew the names of silent screenwriters, not even those who knew the people.Yeah, because no one had ever heard the names of people like June Mathis or Frances Marion.

Really, this was an interesting book with a lot of good material, but ultimately Adamson's unprofessional comments and biases get in the way, along with his overanalyses of their movies.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.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice try, but not that funny
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. ... Read more

7. Marx and Re-Marx - Creating and Recreating the Lost Marx Brothers Radio Series
by Andrew T. Smith
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-10-04)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$18.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593936095
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In 1932 the legendary Marx Brothers began work on one of their most hilarious and enduring feature films, Duck Soup. At the same time work also commenced on their first ever radio series, a half hour sitcom that featured the adventures and mishaps that befell the underhanded lawyer Waldorf T. Flywheel (Groucho) and his hapless assistant Emmanelle Ravelli (Chico). This series, eventually entitled Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel, written by Marx collaborators and comic geniuses Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman, was popular with audiences but short lived and soon forgotten. The scripts were shelved, the recordings discarded and the Marxes went back to work on Duck Soup, A Day at the Races and other comedy classics.Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel, however, refused to remain buried and tantalizing glimpses of routines from the series went on to be reused in classic films like Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera and The Big Store. Luckily for Marx fans everywhere the scripts to these classic radio broadcasts were rediscovered in the early 1980s, their publication eventually leading to a affectionate and side splittingly funny British remake of the series for BBC Radio 4.You can't keep a good joke down.For the first time in detail Marx and Re-Marx takes a look at the history of this enduring series, its genesis, its death and its resurrection.Featuring:* Previously unpublished letters from the desk of Flywheel creator Nat Perrin.* Full Episode Guides for both incarnations of the Flywheel and a guide to related productions.* Contributions from the cast and crew of the BBC remake of Flywheel; Mark Brisenden (Weekending, Spitting Image), David Firman (Dinner Ladies, Norbert Smith: A Life), Graham Hoadly (The Adventures of Sexton Blake, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Stageshow), Dirk Maggs (Superman: Doomsday and Beyond, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency), and Frank Lazarus (Pennies From Heaven, Our Friends in the North). * Transcripts of the remaining recordings of the original series. ... Read more

8. The Marx Brothers Scrapbook
by Groucho Marx, Richard J. Anobile
 Paperback: 256 Pages (1989-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060972653
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Treasure Trove for Marx Fans!
Needless to say, this book is indespensible for fans of the Marx Brothers, as it offers fantasticly rare photos and fascinating insights from Groucho and many others.

Many people complain about Groucho's use of four letter words. Personally, what I found more objectionable was the author's occasional tendency to be pushy, even bullying with his subject. I mean first of all, Groucho was 80 years old and couldn't be expected to recall everything. Second, this is Grouch Marx, even in his younger days he wasn't exactly into giving straight answers! It felt like the author was too busy fighting with Groucho for accuracy, rather than just letting him be himself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book, But...
First, the praise.

This book presents one of the best portraits of Vaudeville that I've ever encountered.While Groucho disavowed the book, I will be forever grateful to Anobile for transcribing Groucho's words as he said them instead of editing them.I think the portrait that emerges is human, amusing and elucidating.The early sections about the Marx family's life in Vaudeville are especially illuminating.

Now, the bad news.

According to several sources, transcription errors abound.I would point you to Kanfer's biography on Groucho for a description of the particular errors.At least one or two of the photos are misidentified.Of course, this might be of interest only to obsessive fans like myself, but it is does throw some of the information into question - hence the four star rating.

That all being said, for a fan of the Marx Brothers, this work is indispensible - a must buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Marx Bros. Scrapbook
A great Marx Brothers book. The extensive interviews make this book great. It is loaded with interviews, not only with Groucho but Zeppo, Morrie Ryskind, Robert Florey, Harry Ruby and others. Richard Anobile spent quite a bit of time with Groucho in the mid-1970's. Many great pictures are also included. The only negative is Groucho's use of four-letter words. For accuracies sake I suppose they should have been included. However, I could have lived with a few "****" s instead of......well I can't type that here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read what Groucho sued to stop publication of
In his second book on the Marx Brothers (the first being 1971's "Why A Duck?") Richard J. Anobile conducted lengthy interviews with Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo, Harpo's widow Susan, and Jack Benny, among others.Most of the book is Groucho speaking, and his recollections are fascinating and brutally honest.Frequently the eighty-two-year old comedy giant lashes out at the twenty-six-year old Anobile:"Fifty years ago! How the hell am I supposed to remember what I did fifty years ago?"Gummo is pleasant and cooperative, more so than Zeppo, who was no doubt squirming about that card game that was getting away.Susan Marx is blunt about Groucho's caustic tongue and Chico's gambling.Groucho's four-letter words, which are in abundance, found their way into the final print and Groucho sued for $15,000,000.00 to stop publication.This was settled in Anobile's favor as Groucho signed all the releases.Steve Stoliar, a college student who worked for Groucho and helped get "Animal Crackers" re-released, says he doesn't doubt Groucho used that language, but never thought that Anobile would include it.Son Arthur Marx attributed it to his father's advanced age.This can't be recommended enough for Marx Brothers fans; it's a treasure trove of information, tidbits, and gossip.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marx Maddness!
The Marx Brothers were arguably the greatest comic act of the century and 'The Marx Brothers Scrapbook' brings the heart and soul of the great performers to life.With engaging interviews, hirlarous anecdotes, andmoving glimpses into the brother's lives, this book is a must for anydie-hard Marx fan.Especially remarkable is the look author Anibole givesus of Groucho in his latter years.Fantastic! ... Read more

9. The Marx Brothers: A Bio-Bibliography (Popular Culture Bio-Bibliographies)
by Wes D. Gehring
Hardcover: 277 Pages (1987-07-28)
list price: US$79.95 -- used & new: US$50.53
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Asin: 0313245479
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This bio-bibliography was designed to present a combined biographical, critical, and bibliographical portrait of the Marx Brothers. It examines their significance in film comedy in particular, and as popular culture figures in general. The book is divided into five sections, beginning with a biography which explores the public and private sides of the Marx Brothers. The second section is concerned with the influences of the Marx Brothers as icons of anti-establishment comedy, as contributors to developments in American comedy, as early examples of "saturation comedy," and as a crucial link between silent films and the "talkies". Three original articles, two by Groucho and one by Gummo, comprise part three. A bibliographical essay, which assesses key reference materials and research collections, is followed by two bibliographical checklists. Appendices containing a chronological biography with a timeline, a filmography, and a selected discography complete the work. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Be the first Marx Brothers expert on your block!
Make a snack, sit down in your favorite chair and get ready for all there is to know about the Marx Brothers.This book is a reference guide to dates, names, films and darn near anything else that occurred in the lifeof this amazing team.It is chock full of interesting stories, fascinatingfacts and just plain silly stuff that kept me captivated the whole waythrough.Its one drawback was that it is picture free.It is purereference material.For the true fan or just for the person who would liketo know everything about them without starting a library this one is foryou.If the price is the only thing holding you back be reassured...it isworth every penny and more! ... Read more

10. Marx Brothers (Classical Film Scripts S)
by Marx Brothers
 Paperback: 184 Pages (1972-12)
-- used & new: US$91.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0900855657
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11. The Marx Brothers: Monkey Business, Duck Soup, A Day at the Races (Classic Screenplay Series)
by George Seaton, Bert Kalmar, Will Johnstone, Harry Ruby
Paperback: 224 Pages (1993-11-12)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0571166474
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
How many times have you missed the best bits of a Marx Brothers movie, failing to catch Groucho's famous one-liners because you were still laughing at the bit with Harpo and the zipped-up banana? And what about the lemonade stall? The mirror section? And the blue-tined ballet sequence?

This book offers what the videos can't, ant that's a short cut to some of the funniest films of all time -- Monkey Business (1931), Duck Soup (1933), and A Day at the Races (1937) -- scripted by some of the wittiest screenwriters Hollywood ever produced.

In addition to a generous number of stills from each movie, this bumper edition also includes a cast and production crew list for movie buffs as well as an Introduction by Karl French.
Amazon.com Review
"How do you know there are four stowaways on board this ship?""They were singing Sweet Adeline!"
"Look at me. I've worked myself up from nothing to a state of extremepoverty."
"The Ambassador has had a change of heart." "A lot of good that'lldo him. He's still got the same face!"
The mad remarks of the Marxes fly fast and furious in their finest films.But with this book in your basket you'll be wondrously wowed by their every word.
"Now go! and never darken my towels again!" ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars nice one
I loved this book -- it's really good to see the dialogue set down on the page, since unless you watch the same scene, anorak style, over and over, then it's surprising how much you miss or mishear. I'd like to see one of these books for all the other films of the M bros.
A Day At The Races and Duck Soup are two of my all-time favourite films, and it's great to be able to open a page at random in this book and enjoy the jokes all over again. Even Harpo's, and all his were visual

5-0 out of 5 stars nice one
I loved this book -- it's really good to see the dialogue set down on the page, since unless you watch the same scene, anorak style, over and over, then it's surprising how much you miss or mishear. I'd like to see one of these books for all the other films of the M bros.
A Day At The Races and Duck Soup are two of my all-time favourite films, and it's great to be able to open a page at random in this book and enjoy the jokes all over again. Even Harpo's

5-0 out of 5 stars MArx Brothers Screenplays
Just watching a Marx Brothers movie leaves some people feeling like they've been delightfully spun around until they are dizzy with laughter.There is so much that one can miss because they are too busy spitting outtheir drinks in a moment of surprise that they might miss a few moments ofpure genius dialogue. When you read the screenplays you get all of it,every word, line and phrase...every sarcastic remark, every surealisticstatement, every wise crack. And when you are done reading the screenplays,you are left in awe of what you had just experienced....pure comicperfection. ... Read more

12. The Marx Brothers
by Kyle Samuel Crichton
Mass Market Paperback: 254 Pages (1952)

Asin: B0007FCRO0
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Marx Brothers bios
This book is one of the best Marx Brothers biographies in existence.It takes you from their boyhood, struggling to make it with their immigrant parents in a poor neighborhood on the Upper East Side of New York, through their early days in vaudeville when they were a mediocre singing act, and lets you witness that first thrilling moment when they discovered their comic genius.According to other sources there may be some inaccuracies, especially regarding their relationship to singer Janie O'Riley, but that may be forgiven because the rest of the book is such a wonderful ride.If you are a fan, you must read this book. ... Read more

13. American Comedy Troupes: Marx Brothers
Paperback: 316 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$39.16 -- used & new: US$29.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1156732972
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Chapters: Marx Brothers. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 314. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Broadway, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950. Five of the Marx Brothers thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera) in the top twelve. The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico, Harpo and Groucho; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers. Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared only in the first five. Groucho, Gummo, Minnie (mother), Zeppo, Frenchy (father), Chico and Harpo in 1915. Born in New York City, the Marx Brothers were the sons of Jewish immigrants from Germany and France. Their mother, Minnie Schönberg, was from Dornum in East Frisia; and their father, Simon Marx (whose name was changed to Samuel Marx, and who was nicknamed "Frenchy") was a native of Alsace and worked as a tailor. The family lived in the then-poor Yorkville section of New York City's Upper East Side, between the Irish, German and Italian quarters. The brothers were: A sixth brother, Manfred ("Mannie"), was actually the first child of Sam and Minnie to be born, in 1886. Manfred died in infancy before any of the performing Marx Brothers were born. 1911 newspaper advertisement for a Marx Brothers appearance.The brothers were from a family of artists, and their musical talent was encouraged from an early age. Harpo was hopelessly untalented on the guitar and piano (he boasts in hi...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=19669 ... Read more

14. The Marx Brothers: The Pocket Essential Guide
by Mark Bego
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-03-13)
list price: US$5.99
Asin: B0024NP3N0
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Product Description

When you think of the classic comedies of the 1930s, it’s hard

not to recall the painted-on moustache and cigar smoke of Groucho

Marx, the malapropism-ladened Italian accent of Chico

Marx, the pantomime harp-playing clown Harpo Marx or the

bumbling straight man as characterised by Zeppo Marx. They

were The Marx Brothers and together they produced some of the

most memorable, joke-filled, hysterical movies and comedy

moments ever filmed.

This family of brothers, whose impressive body of work

includes Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, Animal Crackers, A Night

At The Opera and A Night In Casablanca, performed with each

other for five decades. There was never a comic troupe quite like

The Marx Brothers, although their antics inspired countless

comedians including: The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello,

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and even Cheech & Chong.

However, The Marx Brothers were not a product of Hollywood

at all. For 20 years before they set foot on a movie soundstage,

they struggled on the vaudeville circuit, playing in every

town and whistle-stop in the United States and Canada. Their

mother Minnie Marx was part of the act, was their manager and

was often their producer. There was even a fifth brother,

Gummo, who dropped out of the act before fame finally struck.

Finally, after years of struggling, The Marx Brothers arrived

when I’ll Say She Is became the surprise Broadway hit of 1924.

Suddenly they were on a hot streak. They quickly followed it

with The Cocoanuts, which ran from October 1925 to November

1927, and then Animal Crackers in October 1928.

... Read more

15. Growing Up With Chico
by Maxine Marx
 Paperback: 208 Pages (1986-04)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$202.75
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Asin: 0879100591
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars "His life consisted of an endless series of intense flashes, and he made the people around him feel it, too"
"Growing Up With Chico" seemed to start out as a response to Groucho Marx's harsh criticisms about his eldest brother published in "The Marx Brothers Scrapbook."This book was published three years following Groucho's death.In the prologue, Maxine Marx described a brief moment alone with Uncle Groucho at his pool during which she confronted him about the derogatory remarks published in the book.In the early chapters, Groucho is compared unfavorably to her father, Chico.Chico was the blue-eyed, optimistic free spirit who always owned his mother's favoritism.Groucho was dark and dour and resented how much more easily Chico received unconditional love (pg. 2).Chico did not have the "coldness" of his brothers and his upbeat personality convinced others in the show business field to believe in his brothers' act and propelled them to super stardom (pp. 2, 35, 51, 85-7).At times, Maxine reversed the comparison, admitting that Groucho was the better family man and conducted himself more appropriately at times, for example, during her grandmother's (on her mother's side) funeral (pp. 54, 123).The compliments about Groucho, though, were peppered with the negative: he was a good family man but verbally abusive to his wife Ruth, warm towards children but caustic towards adolescents and adults, etc (pp. 157, 36).In contrast, Chico was painted as a man with many faults and weaknesses, but his devoted daughter made sure to include with the negative the happiness and optimism he also exhibited.

Maxine's account was not just a comparison between Groucho and Chico, of course, and, to be fair, none of the Marx Brothers (save for Gummo of whom little is written) came out unscathed in this book.Maxine Marx described Chico's early years-living away from home by his mid-teens for a life of gambling--and how he met her mother Betty Karp.Born in 1918, Maxine was very young during the latter half of the Brother's vaudeville days and their transition to Broadway.Her early life was often spent accompanying her parents on the road during the Marx's tours.In covering the time during the Brother's classic films, Maxine mostly included stories either of those she witnessed or others of which she was told.As a reader, it is difficult to decide how good of a father Chico was.He was loving and devoted to his daughter; however, many of the endearing memories she shares about her father are shown to be for his selfish aims.He would shower is family with gifts often as an apology for gambling and womanizing escapades.During at least a couple of the many separations from his wife, Chico would ask his daughter to beg him to return so he could reunite with his wife for Maxine's sake and thus not need to apologize for another of his indiscretions (pp. 49, 59, 110). Maxine Marx did not sugarcoat her father's misdeeds, either.His womanizing was unrelenting and eventually included advances towards his daughter's friend at their own home (pg. 142).His gambling was so compulsive he would collect his brothers' salaries at the box office or forge their names on checks for gambling money (pg. 100).His brothers actually garnered some of Chico's pay to keep in a security for his wife and daughter.

The book also included a lot of gossip and name-dropping (i.e. John Gilbert, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Norma Shearer, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, Barbara Stanwyck, etc.).The latter part of the book described the author's struggle to become an actress but she does not gravitate too far from the subject about whom her audience wants to read.I agree with another reviewer that Maxine Marx was too close to her subject to give a complete, impartial account, but she did not spare the ugly details and kept a good sense of humor as well.For example, in a photo of Maxine and her parents at her sweet 16 party, she noted in the caption that Chico looked "pensive--probably thinking about the bridge game that got away."It is 177 pages with a middle section of black & white glossy photos.The book concluded very abruptly with Chico's funeral which was 19 years before the book was published.She moved to the East Coast and apparently did not have much contact with her father towards the end of his life.A little more information post-1961 on the Brothers lives (besides the brief prologue at Groucho's pool) and Chico's legacy would have been welcomed.Still, it is the only account focused solely on Chico and thus is recommended to any fan of The Marx Brothers.Maxine Marx died of natural causes on September 14, 2009 at the age of 91.

4-0 out of 5 stars Candid and entertaining, a must for the Marxist
You've read "Harpo Speaks", you've read "Monkey Business", now read this one too! "Growing up with Chico" offers a portrait of the the eldest Marx that only a daughter could paint. Chico's addictions took a huge toll on neglected Maxine and the enabling Betty. The love and hate Maxine had for her father will be apparent after reading this short but compelling book. I cannot help but feel compassion for Chico as well, a street kid who never got past the hustler in himself, in spite of being so blessed later in life. Worth the read!

4-0 out of 5 stars Biased, But Essential for the Marx Brothers Fan
As the only book to focus specifically on the life of Chico, this book is indispensible.Written by his daughter Maxine after his death (and, it would seem, partially in response to Groucho's off color comments about Chico in "The Marx Brother's Scrapbook"), this book focuses primarily on her first hand account of his life.Now, you figure, she was born as the Brothers were starting their rise to Broadway stardom, so most of the material is post-Vaudeville - not a bad thing if the movies and late stage productions are your thing, though details about them are sparse.

While I think this book presents an excellent (and, as other's have said) candid view of Chico through Maxine's eyes, he doesn't really have a "voice" in it.In some ways, she is too close to the subject to really allow Chico to be a flesh and blood human being.

Neverless, if you've read the pile of books on Groucho or "Harpo Speaks," you should really read this one, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than just "Monkey Business"
I read the other reviews and decided to buy the book.I wasn't disappointed.I've always been intrigued by the Marx Brothers, especially Chico (and Harpo as well).There's been so many stories told about him, and I wanted to hear it from someone who was really there!There's no doubt that Chico and his daughter loved each other unconditionally.That shines through in this story. Despite the fact that Chico was a wild, gambling, skirt-chasing sort of guy, Maxine Marx shows a real and vulnerable human side to her Dad.I give her credit for telling it like it was, warts and all.This book is fairly short (177 pages), I read in a couple of hours, but I didn't want to put it down. Even though Chico wouldn't have been nominated for Husband of the Year, I still adore the guy just the same after reading this book.Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Chico--the Wildest Marx Brother
This is a slight but candid look at the most fascinating Marx Brother. Chico was the eldest and the one who propelled the Brothers' act into bigtime show biz.He was also a compulsive gambler and lover, a math wiz andcould play any instrument that engaged his ever-shifting attention. Hisdaughter, Maxine, presents a loving yet candid portrait of the father she(and every other woman in his life) loved. ... Read more

16. Animal Crackers (Marx Brothers)
 Hardcover: 98 Pages (1986-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$80.32
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Asin: 155880143X
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17. The Marx Brothers at the Movies
by Paul Zimmerman
 Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1970-01-01)

Asin: B0012KB6KK
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18. The Four Marx Brothers in Monkey Business and Duck Soup (Classic film scripts)
 Paperback: 183 Pages (1973)
-- used & new: US$107.29
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Asin: 0671212737
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19. A Century of the Marx Brothers
by Joseph Mills
Hardcover: 185 Pages (2007-08-01)
list price: US$69.99 -- used & new: US$69.99
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Asin: 1847182402
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In 1905 Julius Marx began his vaudeville career with the singinggroup The Leroy Trio and was abandoned in the middle of the tour. Itwas an inauspicious start for the person who would become 'Groucho.' Ahundred years later, the Marx Brothers have permeated our culture fromthe plastic noses and glasses worn at parties to a Smithsonianexhibition which explains DNA recombination using A Night at the Opera.Although they completed relatively few films together, the brothers havebecome icons, recognizable even to people who have never seen theirmovies.Most scholarly work on the Marx Brothers has focused onbiographical aspects of their careers and lives; A Century of the MarxBrothers suggests a myriad of other useful approaches to their film andstage productions. The collection's eleven essays examine the MarxBrothers' work from a number of critical perspectives ranging fromreader-response theory to film semiotics. The contributors includeinternational scholars in a variety of fields, such as literature,cultural studies, performance studies, and film history. ... Read more

20. The Complete Films of the Marx Brothers (Citadel Film Series)
by Allen Eyles
 Paperback: 223 Pages (1992-10)
list price: US$17.95
Isbn: 0806513012
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