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File:220px-AnimalCrackers 9058.jpg

Released on August 23, 1930, and filmed in Astoria, Queens, New York; Animal Crackers starred four of the Marx Brothers: Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo, and Chico. It was a movie adaptation of a 1928 Broadway musical by the same name, written by George S Kaufman and and Morrie Ryskind. Interestingly, the Marx Brothers also starred in the broadway hit as well.

The basic plot concerns Groucho, as explorer Captain Geoffrey (or Jeffrey) T. Spaulding, attending a party in his honor at the estate of society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse, and investigating the theft of a valuable painting during the party. The bulk of the movie consists of a succession of comedy sketches, one liner jokes and visual gags.

In the 1990s, a 15-second clip filmed in Multicolor during the rehearsal of a scene in Animal Crackers was found and aired as a part of the AMC documentary Glorious Technicolor (1998). The clip is significant because it is the only known color footage of the Marx Brothers.

The film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Sequence: From the play to the movie.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Both "Hello I Must Be Going" and "Hooray For Captain Spaulding" became themes songs for other Groucho Marx projects, most notably "You Bet Your Life".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "All the jokes can't be good! You've got to expect that once in a while!"
    • "Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."
  • Breathless Non-Sequitur: "Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh... Now you tell me what you know."
  • Double Entendre: Tons of them; for example, "We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren't developed."
    • They're going back in a couple of months.
  • Filth: This bit of dialogue, preceding Captain Spaulding's big speech, was probably removed from the movie even before it was edited after release to comply with the Production Code:

 (Spaulding and Mrs. Rittenhouse enter.)

Spaulding: So there was only one bedroom in the farm house and the farmer had three daughters and only one traveling salesman...

Mrs. Rittenhouse: Captain Spaulding, what kind of a story do you call that?

 Chico: I can't think of the finish.

Groucho: That's strange, and I can't think of anything else.

Chico: I think I went past it.

Groucho: The next time you come around, jump off.

    • Harpo's harp solos in many of the Marx Brothers films. Though not meant as a joke, they seem funny just because you don't expect to see his utter Cloudcuckoolander characters sitting down and playing an incredibly beautiful harp solo.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Harpo plays "The Professor," yet acts exactly like he always does, and we never even find out what he's a professor of.
  • Rage Quit: Margaret Dumont tires of Chico's bridge cheating.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: One of Groucho Marx's trademarks shines in this film.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Geoffrey (as he's called in the headlines) or Jeffrey (in the credits sequences)?
  • Visual Pun: "Three cheers for Captain Spaulding!" (Harpo runs in with three chairs)
    • Harpo is full of these. In another scene, he drops a check on the floor to see if it will bounce. It does!
  • You Bet Your Life: The song "Hooray for Captain Spaulding!" became the theme for Groucho's classic Game Show.
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