Those who have watched a few Marx Brothers movies know that Margaret Dumont is often trying to get her hands on Groucho Marx but usually finds him to be slippery as an eel. Dumont is missing from this, the third Marx Brothers feature-length film, Monkey Business. Here, Dumont is replaced by Thelma Todd, a pretty ingenue who simply does nothing but add looks to the plot.
The plot, in this Marx Brothers film at least, can be boiled down quite simply: The Marx Brothers stow away on a ship, get involved with rival sets of gangsters, throw a party, crack jokes, play piano, play harp, and save the girl. It is a simple story and it doesn’t lead to nearly as many laughs as most of their movies. On the other hand, Monkey Business is where the writers realized Zeppo should be serving as the love interest, finally giving him something to do.
- The Marx Brothers: Hollywood’s Kings of Chaos
- Feature Commentary with Marx Brothers Historian/Author Robert S. Bader and Bill Marx (Son of Harpo Marx).
There are only two bonus features, but they are both excellent. The Marx Brothers: Hollywood’s Kings of Chaos is an excellent, hour and twenty minute documentary, filled with knowledge from many Marx Brothers scholars and family members. The commentary from film historian Robert S. Bader and Harpo Marx’s son, Bill, has interesting tidbits about the cast and the filming of Monkey Business.