The Marx Brothers
Monkey Business (1931)

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Monkey Business

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The third film released in 1931 was their first with a script made for the screen and their first made in Hollywood.

In this outing, the boys are stowaways on an ocean voyage. Apart from a bit involving a couple of gangsters trying to put each other out of business, there's very little plot to get in the way of the gags. Speaking of gags, Groucho brought in his uncle, Al Sheen, to write plenty for this picture. If you're looking for sheer Marx Brothers zaniness without any unnecessary musical numbers or subplots, this is a movie for you.

According to Frank Bland, this picture also contains the funniest line ever delivered in a Marx Brothers film by a non-Marx Brother:
Captain: "Stowaways? How do you know there are four of them?"
Steward: "Well, they were singing Sweet Adeline."
Opinions are split about whether you can hear Harpo's voice when the stowaways sing "Sweet Adeline".

Speaking of stowaways, check out "That's The Bunk," a very funny scene from the film, featuring Groucho, Chico, and the Captain.
MAN: What's the idea putting your hand in my pocket
CHICO: Just a little mistake. I had a suit once just looked like that, and for a moment I thought those were my pants.
MAN: How could they be your pants when I've got them on?
CHICO: Well, this suit had two pair of pants.

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Groucho Marx   A Stowaway
Harpo Marx   A Stowaway
Chico Marx   A Stowaway
Zeppo Marx   A Stowaway
Thelma Todd   Lucille
Rockliffe Fellowes   Joe Helton
Tom Kennedy   Gibson
Ruth Hall   Mary Helton
Harry Woods   Alky Briggs
Ben Taggart   Captain Corcoran
Otto Fries   Second Mate
Evelyn Pierce   Manicurist
Maxine Castle   Madame Swempski
Ethan Laidlaw   Cab Driver at barn
Sam Marx   Passenger / man on dock
Eddie Baker  
Davison Clark   Frustrated passport official ("Chevalier, ehh???")

Director  Norman Z. McLeod
Written by  S.J. Perelman
  Will B. Johnstone
  Arthur Sheekman (additional dialogue)
Cinematography  Arthur L. Todd
Assistant director  Charles Barton
Producer  Herman J. Mankiewicz (uncredited)
Production company / Distribution  Paramount Publix (A Paramount Picture)
Runtime  77 min.
Release date  19 Sep 1931
New York opening  07 Oct 1931
Featured in  That's Entertainment, Part II (1976)
  Twelve Monkeys
Spanish title  Pistoleros de agua dulce
French title  Monnaie de singe
German title  Die Marx Brothers auf hoher See
Italian title  Quattro folli in alto mare
Finnish title  Neljä nolattua neroa
Extracts published on Super 8 titled  The Stowaways

Posters and Lobby Cards for this movie. Click to enlarge.
Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster

Musical numbers

Performed byComments
 Main Title   
 Sweet Adeline   
 Classical Excerpt   
 O Sole Mio   
 Sugar In The Morning   
 Harp Theme   
 End Title   
 What follows is a listing from the movie's script. I will try to work out how this matches to title names above   
 Monkey Business Prelude #2 
Music and lyrics by: John M. Leipold
 I'm Happy Over You 
Music and lyrics by: Chico Marx, Violinsky
 Sweet Adeline 
Music and lyrics by: Henry Gerard, Henry Armstrong
 Sailor's Hornpipe   
I'm Daffy Over You
I'm Daffy Over You 
Music and lyrics by: Chico Marx, Sol Violinsky
 The sheet music cover is from the time of "Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel" 
 Just One More Chance 
Music and lyrics by: Coslow, Johnson
 Volga Boat Song 
Music and lyrics by: Trad. Russian
Music and lyrics by: D. D. Emmett
Music and lyrics by: Rainger, Leipold
Music and lyrics by: Rainger, Leipold
 Just One More Chance 
Music and lyrics by: Coslow, Johnson
 You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me 
Music and lyrics by: Fain, Norman, Kahal

This site uses material originally created by Frank Bland for his website Why A Duck?. Frank did kindly give me permission to use this material.

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