Room Service Reviews
Adapted from a stage play, which is obvious when you notice that nearly the entire movie is filmed within two adjoining hotel rooms. Made for RKO, so except for Ryskind who had written for some other Marx Brothers movies, they had a whole different production team and supporting cast. Still very funny situations and opportunities for madcap Marx antics, but no musical numbers except a few bars of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Ball is an actress in the play Groucho is trying to produce and his assistant, but she fades into the background amidst the brothers' schemes. Miller has next to no screen time and no chance of making an impression. Albertson is the author of the play, a whiny, small town bumpkin who is taken in by all the craziness. Dunstan plays Groucho's half brother and hotel manager, so he represents the authority of the hotel, but also goes along with Groucho's and Chico's plans without too much trouble. MacBride, as Wagner the efficiency expert, is really the stiff that the Marx Brothers are trying to tear down with their anti-authority hijinks. The man from the collection agency, the man representing the financial backer for the play, the Russian want-to-be actor, and the doctor each pop up in one or two scenes to move the plot and supply the set up for a couple gags. Several high quality visual and verbal gags are included. I must say that my favorite was when the doctor tries to get Harpo to say "Ahhh" too.
It's got some good lines scattered throughout the movie courtesy of Chico and Groucho's back and forth one liners, but it doesn't make it high up in the catergory of my favorite Marx Brothers movies. But for the avid fan of the brothers or just old comedies in general, you'll find something to enjoy and it'll be worth the watch for you.
"I still think it's a terrible play, but it makes a wonderful rehearsal."
My favorite scene though is his check-up by a doctor that the hotel management has brought in to see if he really has an infectious disease that the brothers have said he has (to stay in the room even though they're out of money). They've painted his face with huge spots and given him a tiny doll that will squeak when pressed. Of course, Harpo NEVER talks; but when the doctor says "Say 'ah'." Harpo makes the doll squeak. The doctor is puzzled and all chaos ensues.
Lucille Ball co-stars in a 'straight' roll, but I always think of the "I Love Lucy" episode with Harpo and her dressed up as Harpo. The famous dancer / actress Ann Miller also co-stars in "Room Service" - a great little movie!
Not bad, but not too good, either. But it does have Lucille Ball in an early role.
Started off well enough. Set up was good, some good one-liners from Groucho and was quite coherent. Middle section had some great sight gags (anything involving the turkey, and Harpo being diagnosed by the doctor, especially).
However, from a point it lost coherence and just got silly. Not ridiculously, unwatchably silly, but just mundane and not too funny.
Overall, the jokes were weaker than their best, and even Groucho's famous wisecracks seemed weaker and fewer-and-further-between.
Performances, given the material, are OK though. Lucille Ball is great in a supporting role, and not just for her acting... Good support too from Ann Miller and Frank Albertson.
Certainly not in the same league as A Night At The Opera or Duck Soup, but reasonably entertaining nevertheless.