Monday, December 30, 2013
WHAT: The Marx Brothers' The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers were based on successful stage shows. Their next two films, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, were not; they were created especially for the screen and had not been tested out on audiences. They were successful both critically and commercially nonetheless. Duck Soup, however, also an original-to-screen film, was a failure on both levels upon its initial release (only later did it become the Marx Brothers' biggest cult hit). So when A Night At The Opera was put into production by Irving Thalberg at MGM, the first step after the script was complete was to try something unusual: stage it on the road and hone it along the way: the tour started in April 1935 in Salt Lake City and went to Seattle, Portland and finally San Francisco (where I understand it was performed at the Orpheum) before being committed to film. The result? The three remaining Marx Brothers were back to being hit-makers, and went on to make seven more films. Of those I've seen from their post-Paramount period, this one is certainly the best.
WHERE/WHEN: Today at the Castro at 3:45 and 7PM, and 1PM January 11th at the SFPL Main Library
WHY: As far as I know (and I feel pretty confident that I'm one to know), today's screenings of A Night At the Opera and Duck Soup are the final 35mm showings of classic films in Frisco Bay theatres for 2013. Not a bad pair to go out on...
HOW: On a 35mm double-bill with Duck Soup at the Castro. On projected DVD at the SFPL event.