Horse Feathers (1932) starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo

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Buy from Amazon.comFirst, imagine the Marx Brothers attending college. Now, imagine Groucho as the president of the college, Zeppo as his son, and Harpo and Chico as the newest additions to the college football team—recruited by mistake, of course. Now, imagine the beautiful Thelma Todd, trying to weasel the team’s football signals from Zeppo and Groucho in her well-known vampish way. And now, imagine the big football game, with the Marx Brothers on field, pulling out all the stops to defeat the other side. What do you get for all your imaginings? Horse Feathers, of course.

Horse Feathers, starring the Marx Brothers (DVD cover)

Classic moments include:

  • Groucho telling Harpo that he can’t burn the candle at both ends, only to have Harpo pull a candle out of a pocket, lit at both ends
  • Harpo and Chico trying to kidnap the two best players from the other team, only to be kidnapped themselves
  • Groucho trying to teach a biology class, despite Harpo and Chico’s distractions, only to end in a three way peashooter fight
  • Harpo entering the football field riding a chariot, and throwing banana peels in front of the other players
  • a classic exchange between Groucho and Chico at the door of a speakeasy.

- See more at: http://www.kitten-kaboodle.com/index.php/site/comments/horse-feathers-starring-the-marx-brothers/#sthash.s1vnDtwp.dpufHorse Feathers is available as part of the DVD set The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection.

Editorial Review of Horse Feathers (courtesy of Amazon.com)

Imagine Groucho as the president of a college and Harpo and Chico as football players. It doesn’t get much wackier than this. Horse feathers, indeed. Groucho is hilarious to watch as a hip professor. He’s at his most rebellious singing ”Whatever it is, I’m against it.” Thelma Todd does some of her best vamping to help fix the big football game, which Harpo and Chico are supposed to throw. Naturally, the brothers have other ideas. For sheer laughter, this has to rate almost as high as Duck Soup , with the memorable speakeasy sequence, and the funniest football finale of all time, complete with banana peels and a chariot. –Bill Desowitz

Horse Feathers, starring the Marx Brothers - Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo

Funny movie quotes from the Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers:

Baravelli (Chico Marx): [through speakeasy’s door] Who are you?
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I’m fine, thanks, who are you?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): I’m fine too, but you can’t come in unless you give the password.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well, what is the password?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Aw, no. You gotta tell me. Hey, I tell what I do. I give you three guesses. It’s the name of a fish.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Is it Mary?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Ha-ha. That’s-a no fish.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): She isn’t? Well, she drinks like one. Let me see: Is it sturgeon?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Hey, you crazy. Sturgeon, he’s a doctor cuts you open when-a you sick. Now I give you one more chance.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I got it. Haddock.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): That’s-a funny. I gotta haddock, too.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): What do you take for a haddock?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Well-a, sometimes I take-a aspirin, sometimes I take-a Calamel.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Say, I’d walk a mile for a Calamel.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): You mean chocolate calamel. I like that too, but you no guess it. Hey, what’s-a matter, you no understand English? You can’t come in here unless you say, “Swordfish.” Now I’ll give you one more guess.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): …swordfish, swordfish… I think I got it. Is it “swordfish”?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Hah. That’s-a it. You guess it.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Pretty good, eh?


Baravelli (Chico Marx): You gotta brother?
Mullen: No.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): You gotta sister?
Mullen: Yeah.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Well-a, you sister, she’s a very sick man, you better come with us.
Mullen: Yeah? What happened to her?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): She hadda accident in her automobile.
McCarthy: Ah, she has no automobile.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Well-a, maybe she’s-a fall off-a horse. I don’t-a look very close. Come on, we take you in our car.
Mullen: You will, eh? Well, I have no sister.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): That’s all right. We no gotta car. Come on.


[Wagstaff’s looking in a microscope]
Biology Professor: What do you think of that slide?
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well, I think he was safe at second, but it was very close.


Connie (Thelma Todd): Oh, Professor, you’re full of whimsy.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Can you notice it from there? I’m always that way after I eat radishes.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Tomorrow we start tearing down the college.
The Professors: But, Professor, where will the students sleep?
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Where they always sleep: in the classroom.


Frank (Zeppo Marx): Dad, let me congratulate you. I’m proud to be your son.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): My boy, you took the words right out of my mouth. I’m ashamed to be your father. You’re a disgrace to our family name of Wagstaff, if such a thing is possible.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Who was that?
Connie (Thelma Todd): The ice man.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Is that so? Well, you can’t pull the wool over my ice.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): You know you’ve got the brain of a four-year old child, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived.


Professor: The trustees have a few suggestions they would like to submit to you.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I think you know what the trustees can do with their suggestions.


[in canoe]
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I was gonna get a flat bottom but the girl at the boat house didn’t have one.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): You know, this is the first time I’ve been out in a canoe since I saw “The American Tragedy.”


Biology Professor: Here is the liver.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): What, no bacon? I’d send that back if I were you.


Connie (Thelma Todd): If icky baby don’t learn about the football signals, icky baby gonna cwy.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): If icky girl keep on talking that way, big stwong man’s gonna kick all of her teef wight down her fwoat.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I think you’ve got something there, but I’ll wait outside until you clean it up.


Baravelli (Chico Marx): You sing-a high.
Connie (Thelma Todd): Yes, I have a falsetto voice.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): That’s-a funny; my last pupil she had-a false set-a teeth.
Jennings: If this is a singing lesson I’m a ring-tailed monkey!
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): This is a singing lesson, and keep your family out of it.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): [to lecturing anatomy professor] Is this stuff on the level or are you just making it up as you go along?


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): [singing] I don’t know what they have to say / It makes no difference anyway / Whatever it is, I’m against it. / No matter what it is or who commenced it, I’m against it! / Your proposition may be good / But let’s have one thing understood: / Whatever it is, I’m against it. / And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it, I’m against it! / For months before my son was born / I used to yell from night till morn: / Whatever it is, I’m against it! / And I’ve kept yelling since I’ve first commenced it, I’m against it.


Retiring President: Eh, by the way, professor, there is no smoking.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): That’s what you say.
Retiring President: It would please the faculty if you threw your cigar away.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): The faculty members might as well keep their seats. There’ll be no diving for this cigar.


Baravelli (Chico Marx): There’s a man outside with a big black moustache.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Tell him I’ve got one!


Jennings: I love good music.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): So do I, let’s get out of here.
Jennings: Sit down!
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): [to the audience] I’ve got to stay here, but there’s no reason why you folks shouldn’t go out into the lobby until this thing to blows over.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I’m Professor Wagstaff of Huxley College.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): That means nothing to me.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well, it doesn’t mean anything to me either. I’ll try it over again. I’m Professor Huxley of Wagstaff College.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Well, you didn’t stay at the other college very long.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): In case I never see you again, which would add ten years to my life, what would you fellas want to play football?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Well, first we want a football.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well, I don’t know if we’ve got a football, but if I can find one, would you be interested? I don’t want a hasty answer, just sleep on it.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): I no think I can sleep on a football.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): You’re heading for a breakdown, why don’t you pull yourself to pieces?


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): And I say to you gentlemen that this college is a failure. The trouble is we’re neglecting football for education.
Professor in Wagstaff’s Study, Professor in Wagstaff’s Study: Exactly. The professor is right.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Oh, I’m right, am I? Well, I’m not right, I’m wrong. I just said that to test you. Now I know where I’m at- I’m dealing with a couple of snakes. What I meant to say was that there’s too much football and not enough education.
Professor in Wagstaff’s Study, Professor in Wagstaff’s Study: That’s what I think.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Oh, you do, do you? Well, you’re wrong again! If there was a snake here, I’d apologize.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): [the retiring president has just made a speech] Well, I thought my razor was dull until I heard his speech. And that reminds me of a story that’s so dirty I’m ashamed to think of it myself.


[receptionist opens door to Wagstaff’s office where he is conferring with two professors]
Wagstaff’s Receptionist: Oh, Professor, the Dean of Science wants to know how soon you can see him. He says he’s tired of cooling his heels out here.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Tell him I’m cooling a couple of heels in here.
[receptionist leaves and re-enters fifteen seconds later]
Wagstaff’s Receptionist: The Dean is furious! He’s waxing wroth!
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Is Roth out there, too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for awhile.
[nudges one professor]
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Guess that’s bad, huh?


Jennings: What are you doing here?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Me? I’m the music teacher. I give her singing lessons.
Jennings: [to Connie] Since when are you taking singing lessons?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Since you came in.
Jennings: [to Wagstaff] What are you doing here?
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): I’m the plumber. I’m just hanging around in case something goes wrong with her pipes.
[to audience]
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): That’s the first time I’ve used that joke in twenty years.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Have you ever had any experience as a kidnapper?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): You bet. You know what I do when I kidnap somebody? First I call ‘em up on the telephone, then I send ‘em my chauffer.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Oh, have you got a chauffer? What kind of a car have you got?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Oh, I no got a car, I just got a chauffer.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well maybe I’m crazy, but when you have a chauffer, aren’t you supposed to have a car?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): Well I had one, but-a you see it cost too much money to keep a car and a chauffer so I sold the car.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well that shows you how little I know. I would’ve kept the car and sold the chauffer.
Baravelli (Chico Marx): That’s a-no good. I gotta have a chauffer to take me to work in the morning.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well if you’ve got no car, how can he take you to work?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): He don’t have to take me to work, I no got a job.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Baravelli, this is the finish: how much would you want to stand at the wrong end of a shooting gallery?


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): [referring to the picture of the pin-up girl] Baravelli, is this your picture?
Baravelli (Chico Marx): I don’t think so. It no look-a like me.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Young man, you’ll find as you get older, you can’t burn the candle at both ends.
[Harpo pulls out a candle burning at both ends]
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Well, I knew you couldn’t burn something at both ends. I thought it was a candle.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Why, I’d horsewhip you if I had a horse!


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Why don’t you go home to your wife? I’ll tell you what, I’ll go home to your wife, and outside of the improvement she’ll never know the difference.


Jennings: [at the College Widow’s apartment] Pretty popular place, huh?
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Yes, a hot dog stand would clean up here.


Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Jumping anaconda!


Frank (Zeppo Marx): Dad, two of the greatest football players in the country hang out in a speakeasy downtown.
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Are you suggesting that I, the president of Huxley College, go into a speakeasy without even giving me the address?


Football Coach: [sees Wagstaff lying in the middle of the field with a cigar] What are you doing with that cigar in your mouth?
Professor Wagstaff (Groucho Marx): Why? Do you know another way to smoke it?

 

Trivia about Horse Feathers starring the Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo

  • When Groucho Marx is broadcasting on the radio, the man next to him at the typewriter is Groucho’s friend/writer Arthur Sheekman.
  • In the last half of the movie Chico Marx is limping. During the making of the movie, Chico was in a car accident and his kneecap was shattered.
  • All four Marx Brothers perform their own version of the song “Everyone Says I Love You”. In fact, Harpo Marx performs it twice: whistling it once to his horse, and playing it on his trademark harp. Woody Allen later used the song within his musical of the same name, which movie had a scene of Woody and others dressed as Groucho for a costume party.
  • A scene in which all four Marx Brothers play a poker game as the university burns to the ground around them was filmed but cut.
  • According to Groucho Marx, when Thelma Todd fell out of the boat he kept rowing as she cried for help not knowing she really couldn’t swim. Crew members got her out of the water.
  • Zeppo played Groucho’s son, but in real life, Zeppo was only 11 years younger than Groucho. Groucho was born in 1890, and Zeppo in 1901.
  • Although the present running time (68 minutes) is very close to that of the original (70 minutes), there are still a few bits and pieces and lines of dialogue missing, due to re-editing in 1935 in order to bring the film up to Production Code standards. Apparently the only surviving material also contained some splices which lop of lines of dialogue and bits of action, particularly in the sequence in Thelma Todd’s apartment involving the blocks of ice.
  • Before she became famous, Shirley Temple walked by the set with her parents at one point during filming. Harpo Marx reportedly approached her parents with an offer to adopt the child on the spot for $50,000.
  • “Darwin” & “Huxley,” the two opposing college football team, are named after the originator of the theory of evolution, 19th century naturalist Charles Darwin, and his leading advocate, biologist Thomas Huxley.
  • One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.

Originally published at Clown Ministry