In their second movie for Paramount, the Marx Brothers once again
took a successful Broadway play to the silver screen. In this outing, Groucho plays Captain Jeffrey Spalding, the guest of honor at a Long
Island party (accompanied by Zeppo as his field secretary, Horatio
Jamison) being given by Mrs. Rittenhous (Margaret Dumont). Roscoe W.
Chandler (Louis Sorin) is displaying a painting, Beaugard's "After the
Hunt," in honor of Captain Spalding's visit.
Of course, two of the
guests at the party have made copies of this painting and, for their own
reasons, want their copies displayed in place of the original. Harpo (as
The Professor) and Chico (as Signor Emanuel Ravelli) roll in to add a
little music and larceny, and then the fun begins.
This film features one of Groucho's most memorable tunes, "Captain
Spalding." An interesting factoid about "Captain Spalding" is that one
line of Groucho's lyric was removed from the released version.
Originally, Groucho answered Mrs. Rittenhous' line, "He's the only white
man who covered every acre," with "I think I'll try to make her." I
guess 1930 audiences weren't ready for such a bold line. This film
also contains one of the few scenes in which Zeppo was actually allowed
to be funny, as he takes the liberty of interpreting Groucho's letter to
his lawyer, Honorable Charles H. Hungadunga.
Why a Duck?
(Website shut down)
Poster artwork and additional photos courtesy of Gunnar, Gary, and Frances