Animal Crackers (1930)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Animal Crackers</strong> (1930)

(On DVD, May 2018) The Marx Brothers’ brand(s) of humour has aged exceptionally well, and even their earliest movies such as Animal Crackers prove it. The forgettable plot (about the theft of a painting at a party given in honour of a returning explorer) is just strong enough to feature the various set pieces that everyone remembers. The “Hello, I Must Be Going” reference comes from here, and there are other moments worth savouring: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know” is hilarious no matter the time or the audience. The film also features Zeppo cracking a joke at Groucho’s expense, and Groucho is always funny, no exceptions. The look back at 1920s society can be amusing as well. Animal Crackers is not the best of the early Marx pictures, but it already showcases them in the mode they’d keep up for the rest of the decade. I’m not sure it’s possible to be a Marx Brothers fan and only see one of their movies.

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