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At the Circus was released on 20 October 1939. The working title was A Day at the Circus and the earliest outline was written by Ben Hecht. In this version, the rich showman Joe Marlowe has died and left his circus to his son, the circus Strong Man, and to "his associates as clowns and ringmasters" - the Three Marx Brothers. However, the Strong Man and his sweetie Pauline plot to take it all. There are also eels in the bathtub, elephants in the living room, an escaped gorilla and society dame Mrs Chippendale who gets the circus show against her will for assembled upper-crust guests.
Arthur Sheekman and Irving Breecher wrote a similar
the fact that this script wasn't taken on a pre-filming stage tour like
most other MGM films makes a difference as the jokes are of a much less
consistent quality. However, a film which has Groucho Marx singing Lydia
the Tattooed Lady just can't be bad.
The scene described below is a sequence that was cut from the film
before release. It was intended to introduce Groucho as lawyer J.
Cheever Loophole and appears as presented in "The Freedonia
Gazette" no 13, 1984.
Judge Granville Bates
Detective Nicholas Bludge Herbert Ashley
Valerie Irene Colman
The Defendant Byron Foulger
A close shot of the judge on his bench. He is
with his gavel.
Judge We have had too much delay in
trial! Now then, where is the plaintiff's attorney?
Court clerk Is the attorney for the
plaintiff in the court? (louder) Attorney J.Cheever
Loophole! Attorney Loophole! Mr. Loophole!
Groucho Gentleman of the jury. I
you to face the facts. This is a simple case of...
Defendant's attorney This is highly
irregular! Why is the attorney for the plaintiff sitting with the jury?
Groucho I'd rather have the state owe
three bucks a day than the plaintiff.
Defendant's attorney Your Honor, the
plaintiff's counsel has introduced no evidence other than this
affidavit with half the pages missing!
Groucho Well, affa-davit is better
Defendant's attorney He has not
in proving even one of his allegations. And I move
that you dismiss the case.
Groucho (confidentially to
How do you like that guy? The first case I've had in nine years, and he
wants to dismiss it.
Judge (pounding gavel)
Groucho (to other
Yeah, pipe down!
Defendant's attorney There is not
scrap of evidence to show that my client here was ever even seen
with this woman...and yet she sues him for breach of promise!
Judge (to Groucho)
the plaintiff any further evidence?
Any further evidence? Only my trump card, that's all. If it please the
court, I should like to call Detective Nicholas Bludge to the stand.
Court clerk Detective Nicholas
Groucho You want evidence, eh?
Groucho No evasions,
please. Remember, the future happiness of several human lives depends
on your testimony here...now tell the court...tell the jury...tell the
whole world...WHO is that man?
Bludge (indicating Groucho)
Groucho (incredulous) Me?
Corridor outside courtroom. As Groucho darts out, slamming the door behind him, he is confronted by a quartette of Postal Telegraph boys. Groucho is terrified, as he mistakes them.
Groucho The National Guard!
The boys Mr. Loophole?
Groucho Yes, but I've got an alibi. I
didn't do it.
The boys Postal Telegraph Message No.
Groucho Don't wait for an answer.
it to him myself!