The Farmer House Museum

A Glimpse Into the Past

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Movies of the 1930s: A Night At The Opera

Starring the Marx Brothers with Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones, 1935

For a movie of the Depression-era the Marx Brother’s Night At the Opera delivers the main thing you would want – class conflict. Surprisingly most of the movie follows the same plotline as Jame’s Cameron’s The Titanic. There is a girl on a boat stuck with a privileged creep she doesn’t want to be with. There is a stowaway she is in love with. There is a big party in steerage. Seriously, lose the disaster subplot and stir in Groucho and Harpo Marx and they are the same movie.

Well, there is a disaster in the movie actually, the mayhem the Marx Brothers can wreck on a production of Il Trovatore at the New York Metropolitan Opera but this is, of course, after they make it off the boat, and all in the service of reuniting the star crossed lovers and elevating them as the rescuers of the opera. Il Trovatore went on to have a distinguished history in film, used in Visconti’s 1954 film Senso and Bertolucci’s 1979 film La Luna. There is a certain chaos inherent in Il Trovatore which makes it an excellent backdrop for the breaking down of social barriers. Plus it includes the Anvil Chorus.

Filed under Marx Brothers classic movies 1930s