At the Circus (1939)
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as Jeff Wilson
as Julie Randall
as Peerless Pauline
as Attorney Loophole
as Mrs. Dukesbury
as John Carter
as Little Professor Atom
Critic Reviews for At the Circus
The beginning of the Marx Brothers slide from their peak comedies.
Even lesser Marx Brothers is hilarious fun.
exhibits the sort of anarchy that the Marx Bros. once trafficked in with a willful, almost malevolent mayhem.
Second-rate Marx Bros, but with more than a few high spots
Audience Reviews for At the Circus
This isn't one of my favourite Marx Brothers movies. First of all, I didn't like that really long song with Harpo and the Black kids. Second, the circus seems like the natural habitat for the Marx Brothers, so they don't stand out as much. It is funny most of the time, but I didn't like the story.
Not my favorite Marx Bros. film. It has some funny bits in it, but it's hampered by exposition...and the magic just doesn't seem to be there.
Back to MGM, but with Mervyn LeRoy producing. Kenny Baker, no not the Kenny Baker from Star Wars, another Kenny Baker who was in musicals in the 30's and 40's, is Jeff who wants to pay off Carter so he can have sole ownership of this circus. He has the money ready to pay. His romantic interest is Rice as Julie. They have what looks like a very old fashioned relationship with the man in his place and the woman in her place. The songs they share are hokey and not very engaging. Chico assists Jeff and Harpo is a clown in the strong man act. This is probably the source of some of the inspiration for La Strada. Carter for some unknown reason wants to ruin the circus, but somehow keep it for himself too. He has Arden as Peerless Pauline, Pendleton as Goliath, a midget, and a handful of other thugs do his dirty work. Jeff's money is stolen and Chico sends for Groucho as Attorney Loophole. The Marx Brothers play at detective work till finally Groucho goes to Dumont again to find another way to get the money to save the circus. This is one of the more disjointed plots. Chico plays another number on the piano. Groucho gets to sing a full song this time, the naughty and frolicking Lydia, The Tattoed Lady. I was not aware of this song, yet this whole fourth season of Heroes involving the carnival has made use of this character that Groucho describes. Harpo is putting lions to sleep when out of nowhere a huge crowd of African American children and adults show up to dance and sing a jazz/swing number with him like in A Day at the Races. The song is called Swingali by Harburg and Arlen who did the music for The Wizard of Oz the same year, but it sounds like a medley with a major piece of Blue Moon and other tunes. It is upbeat and adds some energy to the movie though it is badly synched. The only thing that saves the musical break is Harpo's consistently amazing strumming on the harp. There are still a few good one liners and physical gags, but they are not as well timed for the most part. When Groucho is snooping around Peerless Pauline's tent, she slips the stolen money down the front of her sequined leotard in her cleavage and he has one of the best lines about trying to get it without upsetting the Hays Office.
At the Circus Quotes
|J. Cheever Loophole:||That night I drank champagne from your slipper. Two quarts. It would have held more but you were wearing inner soles.|
|J. Cheever Loophole:||I don't know what I'm doing here wehn I could be at home in bed with a hot toddy. That's a drink. (not wanting toddy to be confused with actress Thelma Todd)|
|J. Cheever Loophole:||I don't know what I'm doing here wehn I could be at home in bed with a hot toddy. That's a drink. [not wanting toddy to be confused with actress Thelma Todd]|
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