Friday, December 30, 2011

A Night at the Opera (1935)



“And now, on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.” 

            My friend’s step-dad is obsessed with The Marx Bros. Every time I see him he asks if I have seen one of their films yet. He is always doubly disappointed because I am Italian and I have yet to see The Godfather and never saw a Marx Bros film. Now at least I have seen one of them. I was looking forward to seeing A Night at the Opera since I heard it was one of their best films but to me it was a bit of a letdown.
            The brothers play different characters within the world of opera: Groucho plays some kind of manager named Otis B. Driftwood who is put in charge of managing money for a lady with a lot of money looking to invest in the opera; Chico is Fiorello a piano player who cannot find a job anywhere; and Harpo is a mute who was a dresser for the famous opera singer Lassparri until the singer fired him.
            Thrown in the middle of the brothers are two characters named Rosa and Ricardo. Rosa is the female lead in the opera and Ricardo is just another tenor. They love each other very much. Lassparri also loves Rosa and wants her to travel to New York with him to perform there. Rosa is hesitant she does not want to leave Ricardo behind but he tells her to go.
            It is mostly Fiorello and Tomasso who help Ricardo and Rosa get together. The three men stowaway in Otis’s trunk since he is going to America as well. On the ship as well as on land in New York Tomasso, Fiorella, and Otis cause chaos wherever they go.
            Now I love comedy films especially 1930s screwball comedies they are my favorite but I did not really like A Night at the Opera. I did not really have any expectations going into watching this film, I knew it was going to be funny and there were funny parts, I cannot tell you why I did not like it too much. I think I found it too goofy and too silly. I love dry sarcastic humor but I found Groucho’s sarcastic humor almost too dry and brutal to be funny.  I was laughing hysterically though when a police man was searching Groucho’s room for Ricardo, Tomasso, and Fiorello and Groucho tells the officer “I… I vant to be alone.” Another part was when he was found in the opera house sitting in balcony, as he is climbing to the other one to get away he makes a Tarzan noise.
            I did really like Kitty Carlisle and Alan Jones as Rosa and Ricardo. They were cute together. This liking definitely comes from me liking the tradition rom-coms than crazy ones. Carlisle was a good actress and very pretty
            A Night at the Opera definitely has its moments that are hysterical and very funny but to me, as I said, it was a little too much silliness and goofiness for my liking. I am willing to give another Marx Bros. film a go though and I am glad I sat through one of their films at least.