MARX BROS: THE BIG STORE

Director Charles Reisner
Year 1941
Starring Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Tony Martin
Run Time 83min
More Info IMDb

In the last of the Marx Brothers' MGM films, THE BIG STORE, Groucho Marx plays two-bit detective Wolf J. Flywheel, hired by department-store owner Martha Phelps (Margaret Dumont) to investigate  mismanagement. Despite his monumental ineptitude, Flywheel manages to do his job with the help of his mute assistant, Wacky (Harpo ), and a music-teacher pal, Ravelli (Chico).

The opening routine in Groucho's seedy office and Harpo's harp solo (in which, through trick photography, he accompanies himself on flute and bass violin) are highlights, along with a slapstick roller skating climax. This is the Marx Bros reduced to formula, but the formula is incredible. It's like the lightest, breeziest, funniest variety show with a crackerjack mystery plot grafted on.

This film was intended to be the Marxes' farewell as a team but they made a roaringly triumphant return in A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA five years later.

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