Classic Film Guide

Cocoanuts, The (1929)

This Marx Brothers comedy is their first feature length film; it co-stars Kay Francis, Margaret Dumont, Oscar Shaw, Mary Eaton, Cyril Ring, and Basil Ruysdael. Groucho & Zeppo run a fairly vacant hotel in Sunny Florida, but they hope their financial luck will change with the sale of some lots. Chico & Harpo are "employed" to help. Dumont plays a rich woman staying in the hotel, the object of Groucho’s harassment, Eaton plays her daughter who wants to marry wannabe architect Shaw. Ring & Francis are in cahoots together to steal Dumont's necklace. Ruysdael plays the detective on the case. Singing and dancing cause this one to have fewer laughs than many of the brothers’ better, later films. However, many of their films’ subsequently regular routines are established: Groucho and a wealthy woman (frequently played by Dumont); Chico's misunderstanding banter (why a duck? in this one) with Groucho, before he demonstrates his piano talent; Harpo’s horn honking, slight of hand, chasing of women, lifting his leg into other's palms, and playing the harp; and Zeppo not doing much of anything.

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