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Monday, October 22, 2012

Room Service (1938)

The producer (Groucho Marx) of a play has no backers while running a hotel bill up for housing his 22 actors and himself. When the management (Donald MacBride) denies him further credit and insists he vacate the rooms, he has the play's author (Frank Albertson, PSYCHO) pretend to be ill in order to evade eviction. Based on the hit Broadway farce by Allen Boretz and John Murray, it has been reconstructed as a Marx Brothers vehicle. The result is a mixed bag, neither the best of the Marx Brothers nor a fully realized farce because it's been compromised to fit the comedy team. Unfortunately, Groucho seems relatively restrained by the constraints of the material yet on the other hand, Harpo is also restrained which is a good thing (he made me laugh a couple of times, something he rarely does). As the two leading ladies, the film features two young actresses, Lucille Ball and Ann Miller (she doesn't dance), neither of whom gives any indication of their potential. It's not a bad film by any means but the laughs are sporadic at best. Directed by William A. Seiter.

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