Sunday, December 19, 2010

Animal Crackers

The Marx Brothers were the first great screen comedians of the Talkie movies, and they defined cinematic comedy in the 1930s. Born and bred in NYC, they influenced generations of comedians and were the first ones to bring New York shtick to the heartland -- decades before Woody Allen or Nora Ephron or Jerry Seinfeld or the Sex and the City gals did it.

Animal Crackers was one of the Marx Brothers' first movies and one of the only ones they shot in NYC (over in the Kaufman Astoria studios in Queens). This movie was released in 1930 -- eighty years ago! -- and, as this clip shows, their comedy has more than held up. Their one liners and attitude are pure New York and has a timeless feel. What's even more amazing is that, in 1930, the Talkies were only three years old but Grouch, Harpo and Zeppo are so good that they seem like old pros who have been doing this act forever. Just goes to show what a debt Hollywood owes to NYC.    

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