Review of The Cocoanuts, starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont
The Cocoanuts was the first movie filmed by the Marx Brothers, and remains one of their funniest. It features the Marx Brothers in the roles that they soon made famous – Groucho, with the grease paint mustache, master of the fast wisecrack; Chico, the vaguely-Italian pianist who constantly looking to con someone, and Harpo, who never speaks, but is the master of outrageous comedy and pantomime. Margaret Dumont, Groucho – ¢s perennial foil, appears in this first film as well. There is a plot to the movie, dealing with Groucho trying to flim-flam everyone possible in a land swindle, but that – ¢s frankly of secondary concern to the antics of the Marx Brothers.
One thing to bear in mind is that this is one of the first “speaking” movies – the sound quality reflects that, as does the music by Irving Berlin.
Funny movie quotes from the Marx Brothers – ¢ The Cocoanuts:
Chico : Right now I – ¢d do anything for money. I – ¢d kill somebody for money. I – ¢d kill *you* for money.
[Harpo looks dejected.]
Chico : Ha ha ha. Ah, no. You – ¢re my friend. I – ¢d kill you for nothing.
Groucho : I – ¢m gonna put extra blankets, free, in all your rooms, and there – ¢ll be no cover charge.
Groucho : Three years ago I came to Florida without a nickel in my pocket. Now I – ¢ve got a nickel in my pocket.
Zeppo : Any luck with the 4:30?
Groucho : Yeah. It didn – ¢t hit me.
Groucho : Hello? Yes? Ice water in 318? Is that so? Where – ¢d you get it? Oh, you want some.
Margaret Dumont : Get out of this room, or I – ¢ll scream for the servants.
Groucho : Let the servants know! Let the whole world know! About us!
Margaret Dumont : You must leave my room. We must have regard for certain conventions.
Groucho : One guy isn – ¢t enough, she – ¢s gotta have a convention.
Groucho : Now here is a little peninsula and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
Chico : Why a duck?
Groucho : Why, it – ¢s the most exclusive residential district in Florida. *Nobody* lives there.
Groucho : Believe me, you gotta get up early if you want to get out of bed.
[The Marx Brothers are chasing each other through Mrs. Potter – ¢s suite]
Groucho : This hotel not only has running water. It has running guests!
Groucho : You can have any kind of a home you want. You can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stucco.
Groucho : Jail is no place for a young fellow. There – ¢s no advancement.
Trivia about the Marx Brothers – ¢ The Cocoanuts:
- All paper used as props is soaking wet. This was done to prevent overloading the early sound equipment with paper-crinkling noise.
- Groucho Marx said of the film – ¢s two directors, “One of them didn – ¢t understand English, and the other one didn – ¢t understand comedy.”
- The Cocoanuts was filmed on a stage in New York City. Sound films were still so new that soundproofing was not installed, so the film had to be shot in the early hours of the morning to reduce outside traffic noise.
Editorial Review of The Cocoanuts (courtesy of Amazon.com)
In the motion picture debut of Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx, Groucho portrays the owner of the Hotel de Cocoanut who tries to fleece everyone from innocent bellboys and bellgirls to wealthy society matron Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont). Chico and Harpo play resort hotel con men who arrive with empty suitcases they plan to fill by robbing guests. Featuring elaborate musical production numbers with music by Academy Award winner Irving Berlin.