Marx Brothers  

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"In typical scene, Duck Soup pokes fun at the Hays Code by showing a woman's bedroom and then showing a woman's shoes on the floor, a man's shoes and horseshoes. Harpo is sleeping in the bed with the horse; the woman is in the twin bed next to them." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Marx Brothers were a team of sibling American comedians that appeared in vaudeville, stage plays, film, and television, known for their surrealist and absurd films. Salvador Dalí described Harpo Marx to André Breton as one of "the three American Surrealists" (along with Walt Disney and director Cecil B. DeMille). In 1937, the Marx brothers even planned a film with Salvador Dalí, Giraffes on Horseback Salad, but the project was never realized.

The brothers are almost universally known by their stage names: Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo. There was a sixth brother, the first born, named Manfred (Mannie), who died in infancy; Zeppo was given the middle name Manfred in his memory.



Films with the Four Marx Brothers:

Films with the three Marx Brothers (post-Zeppo):

Solo endeavors:


Film Year Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Humor Risk 1926 The Villain The Italian Watson, Detective The Love Interest
The Cocoanuts 1929 Mr. Hammer Chico Harpo Jamison
Animal Crackers 1930 Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding Signor Immanuel Ravelli The Professor Horatio Jamison
The House That Shadows Built 1931 Caesar's Ghost Tomalio The Merchant of Weiners Sammy Brown
Monkey Business 1931 Groucho Chico Harpo Zeppo
Horse Feathers 1932 Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff Baravelli Pinky Frank Wagstaff
Duck Soup 1933 Rufus T. Firefly Chicolini Pinky Lt. Bob Roland
A Night at the Opera 1935 Otis B. Driftwood Fiorello Tomasso
A Day at the Races 1937 Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush* Tony Stuffy
Room Service 1938 Gordon Miller Harry Binelli Faker Englund
At the Circus 1939 J. Cheever Loophole Antonio Pirelli Punchy
Go West 1940 S. Quentin Quale Joe Panello Rusty Panello
The Big Store 1941 Wolf J. Flywheel Ravelli Wacky
A Night in Casablanca 1946 Ronald Kornblow Corbaccio Rusty
Love Happy 1949 Sam Grunion Faustino the Great Harpo
The Story of Mankind 1957 Peter Minuit Monk Sir Isaac Newton

* (To avoid a possible lawsuit, this name was chosen instead of the intended "Quackenbush" after it was discovered that there was a real doctor by this name.Template:Fact)

Ownership status of films

All the films that were released are still intact. However, due to certain studios selling many of their films from the Golden Age of Hollywood, the rights to many of the Marx Brothers' films have changed hands over the years.

Paramount films

In 1957, Paramount sold many of its pre-1950 sound features to EMKA, Ltd. - a subsidiary of the Music Corporation of America. After MCA merged with Universal Pictures in 1962, the rights to these films went to Universal (now a part of NBC Universal).

MGM films

MGM held on to their Marx Brothers films longer than Paramount did. In 1986, media mogul Ted Turner bought MGM outright. But after amassing huge debts, Turner sold the studio, but kept the pre-1986 MGM library for his own company, Turner Entertainment. Today, Turner Entertainment is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with Warner Bros. handling sales and distribution.

Room Service

Due to being an RKO film, the transfer of this film's rights has been more complicated than most other Marx Brothers films. In 1955, RKO sold television rights to many of their films to C&C Television for most markets, and General Tire for markets in which they owned TV stations. General's rights ended up being auctioned as successor RKO General was in the midst of a licensing scandal. Meanwhile, C&C sold its rights to United Artists in 1971. UA was in turn sold to MGM in 1981. Turner inherited UA's rights as part of his acquisition of MGM's library. Turner then acquired television rights in the markets where RKO had owned stations. All US and Canadian and Region 4 rights are now with WB/Turner.

On the other hand, distribution rights in the rest of the world have been sold on a country-by-country basis. For example, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment purchased the underlying UK rights in later years, and passed on to Universal following the sale of PolyGram to Universal.

A Night in Casablanca

Warners now owns this film as part of the Castle Hill Productions library.

Love Happy

This and many other UA films released before 1952 were sold to National Telefilm Associates in 1955. In 1984, NTA changed its name to Republic Pictures, which itself became part of the Spelling Entertainment Group in the mid-1990s. Spelling was sold to Paramount's current parent Viacom in 1999.

In the mid-1990s, Republic licensed US video rights to Artisan Entertainment. Artisan was sold to Lions Gate Entertainment in 2003. Then, in 2006, US video rights to certain Republic properties - including Love Happy - reverted to Paramount, who also owns video rights in Region 4 and in France.

Television distribution is now in the hands of CBS Television Distribution (formerly known as CBS Paramount Domestic Television), having inherited them from Republic, Worldvision Enterprises, and Paramount Domestic Television. Video rights in much of the world are also divided by country, with Universal owning the UK video rights.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Marx Brothers" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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