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Monday, January 23, 2012

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Vintage Comedy Edition!


By Glenn Mitchell

Softcover; 309 pages (not counting Appendix); B/W

editions: 1996, 2011 (revised and expanded edition released January 2012)

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."--Groucho Marx

Since their early days on stage through their time in film, the Marx Brothers have entertained audiences with their unique brand of comedy. While Groucho and his hilarious and controversial sexual innuendos (the legend surrounding the infamous cigar line from Groucho's 'You Bet Your Life' is here, too) will be forever remembered by the mass majority, the comic timing of the brothers four (Gummo Marx, the least known of the group, was replaced by Zeppo when he joined the military) led to years of successful shows on both the vaudevillian stage and on Broadway. From there, the popularity of the Marx clan grew and spread into a successful series of movies including favorites like ANIMAL CRACKERS (1930) and A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935). Mitchell's book explores and uncovers every aspect of the Marx Brothers universe from stage to screen. This being an encyclopedia, you wouldn't expect anything less than a comprehensive guide to the subject.

Filled with an expansive array of extremely rare and vintage photographs of the brothers and their many shows and films, these images run the gamut of behind the scenes stills, posters, advertisements and other assorted promotional paraphernalia. Anyone with the slightest interest in the early days of comedy, comedians and their place in cinema history, should find this encyclopedia intriguing. Everything from the Marxe's themselves to their biggest hits to their unrealized productions and every bit of trivia (such as an hilarious story involving Shirley Temple) that can be mustered is packed within these 300 plus pages. The original edition from 1996 was 256 pages. This revised and updated volume is extended by 53 pages not counting an Appendix listing a slew of bibliographical sources. Truly a vastly informative tome, this is a must for Marx fans and any lover of vintage comedy performers and their lasting contributions to show business.

You can order this book from amazon by clicking HERE.

You can visit the Titan Books website by clicking HERE.


Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

Comedy is one of my most despised of film genres. I can count on one hand the number of comedy films that have made me laugh. I prefer it when comedy moments infiltrate other genres, and besides I've always thought comedy works better on the small screen. One comedy film I do think is hilarious though, is PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES...brilliant film.

venoms5 said...

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES is a favorite of mine, too, Shaun. It has a nice message at its core, too.

I'm not a huge Marx fan, but I did love this kind of vaudevillian style humor as a kid. I was exposed to Abbott and Costello, Laurel & Hardy and the Stooges as a kid in heavy doses, but eventually gravitated away from it as I got older. It's a wonderful book, though and a must for Marx fans.

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