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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Big Store (1941)

When the heir (Tony Martin) to a major department store is attacked, his Aunt (Margaret Dumont) hires a private detective (Groucho Marx) to act as his bodyguard. Directed by Charles Reisner (STEAMBOAT BILL JR.), this was the last film for the Marx Brothers under their MGM contract and there wouldn't be another Marx Brothers movie for 5 years. THE BIG STORE isn't much admired but I'm actually rather fond of it in spite of not really being a fan of the brothers. I'm a huge fan of Groucho but have little tolerance for Chico and Harpo. With one exception, the musical numbers in the film stop the movie cold. We have to put up with Tony Martin's bellowing two songs including the hideous Tenement Symphony as well as the usual Chico playing on the piano and Harpo's interlude on the harp. The one exception is a delightful novelty swing number with Groucho and Virginia O'Brien. As long as Groucho is around, the laughs are dependable. The film was actually the Marx Brothers highest grossing film at MGM. With Virginia Grey, Douglass Dumbrille, Marion Martin and Henry Armetta.

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