In my last post I mentioned that there are at least two films called Monkey Business. One starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, and the other starring the Marx Brothers, the latter being made 21 years before the former.
I am a very big fan of the Marx Brothers, owning all 13 Marx Brothers films on DVD. I believe that the most well known member of the Marx Brothers is Groucho Marx.
Groucho with his quick fire insults and responses to other people's attempts to put him down, and his array of unusual character names and professions: Captain Geoffrey T. Spaulding, Explorer; Wolf J. Flywheel, Private Eye; Rufus T. Firefly, President of Freedonia; Otis B. Driftwood, Operatic Agent. And from my favourite Marx Brothers film, A Day at the Races, Dr Hugo Z. Hackenbush, a Veterinary Surgeon and Horse Doctor who is masquerading as a Medical Doctor.
As I mentioned before Groucho is well known for his insults, that roll easily off his tongue. Insults that go by so fast you don't realise they are in fact insults at first. And quick witted answers to things that other people have said, that when you think about them do make perfect sense...in a way.
'You must fight for this woman's honour, which is more than she ever did.' Rufus T. Firefly, Duck Soup
Naval Officer *looks at passport*: 'Say this picture doesn't look like you.'
Groucho: 'Well it doesn't look like you either.'
*Whilst taking Harpo's pulse* 'Either he's dead or my watch has stopped'
Dr Hugo Z. Hackenbush, A Day at the Races
I could go on and on listing Groucho's best lines, but I would be here for some considerable time. Someone once said (unfortunately I forget who) that they would rather be insulted by Groucho Marx than complimented by anyone else. I sort of understand that statement.
And so, lastly, I will give you my favourite Groucho Marx insult.
It is from Monkey Business, and the scene goes like this:
The ship has docked at the harbour and the passengers are beginning to make their way to have their passports checked. A woman, a well known star of some kind, is being interviewed by a group of reporters. Groucho swiftly steps into this group, takes the notepad and paper off the reporter stood next to him and begins firing random questions at the woman. She begins to look a little irritated with him and then he asks:
'Is it true you are getting a divorce as soon as your husband regains his eyesight?'
May the Marx Brothers live on through our laughter and DVD players!