A Day at the Races (film): A Classic Comedy Delight

CEO Tam DT
A Day at the Races is a timeless American comedy film released in 1937. Starring the legendary Marx Brothers - Groucho, Harpo, and Chico - alongside Allan Jones, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Margaret Dumont, this film...

The film's trailer

A Day at the Races is a timeless American comedy film released in 1937. Starring the legendary Marx Brothers - Groucho, Harpo, and Chico - alongside Allan Jones, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Margaret Dumont, this film is a comedy masterpiece that will leave you in stitches.

A Hilarious Plot Unfolds

The story revolves around the Standish Sanitarium, owned by Judy Standish. Facing financial difficulties, Judy seeks help from Mrs. Emily Upjohn, one of their wealthy patients. When Tony, Judy's loyal employee, overhears Mrs. Upjohn's admiration for Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, a renowned doctor, Tony concocts a plan to pose Hackenbush as the sanitarium's new director to secure financial support.

Meanwhile, Judy's boyfriend, Gil Stewart, buys a racehorse named Hi-Hat to win a race and save the sanitarium. But Hi-Hat is terrified of Morgan, a banker who holds the mortgage on the sanitarium. Gil, Tony, and Stuffy, Hi-Hat's jockey, resort to clever trickery to keep the Sheriff at bay and afford Hi-Hat's expenses.

Amidst the chaos, Hackenbush, Tony, and Stuffy must also deal with Whitmore, Morgan's stooge, who suspects Hackenbush is not who he claims to be. The film takes us on a wild ride, filled with comedic genius and unforgettable moments.

Unforgettable Characters and Memorable Performances

With the Marx Brothers leading the cast, you can expect uproarious entertainment from start to finish. Groucho's portrayal of Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush is pure comedic gold, while Harpo and Chico bring their unique brand of physical and verbal humor to the screen. The chemistry and timing of the entire cast make every scene a delight to watch.

Behind the Scenes

Directed by Sam Wood, A Day at the Races is a testament to the Marx Brothers' exceptional talent as comedians. The film underwent numerous drafts and revisions before reaching its final form. Al Boasberg, a renowned comedy writer, contributed significantly to the screenplay but chose not to receive credit due to a disagreement with MGM.

The Marx Brothers on the set with director Sam Wood

Despite the untimely death of Irving Thalberg, the producer who brought the Marx Brothers to MGM, the film showcases their comedic prowess. Thalberg's absence, however, resulted in the later MGM films of the Marx Brothers receiving less attention and care.

Musical Delights

Accompanied by a delightful score composed by Bronislaw Kaper, Walter Jurmann, and Gus Kahn, the film features enchanting musical numbers. Songs like "On Blue Venetian Waters," "Tomorrow Is Another Day," and the infectious "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" performed by Ivie Anderson from Duke Ellington's orchestra, add a rhythmic and melodic layer to the film's joyous atmosphere.

Enduring Appeal and Recognition

Colorized publicity shot featuring Harpo and Chico.

Critics and audiences alike have praised A Day at the Races for its comedic brilliance. The New York Times describes it as "comparatively bad Marx," but still acknowledges its superiority in the comedy genre. Variety raves about its surefire and madcap humor, while Harrison's Reports considers it one of the Marx Brothers' funniest films.

This classic gem has also garnered recognition from the American Film Institute. It holds a place on their list of the "100 Years...100 Laughs," ranking at number 59. Additionally, two quotes from the film were included in the "100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" list.

In Conclusion

A Day at the Races is a timeless comedy that showcases the Marx Brothers' impeccable comedic talents. With its unforgettable characters, hilarious plot, and delightful musical numbers, this film continues to entertain audiences of all ages. So sit back, relax, and prepare for a laughter-filled adventure!

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