New Release: Five Marx Brothers Classics on DVD

Monkey Business movie scene

The Marx Brother have their herring and eat it too in 1931's Monkey Business.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment issued single-disc DVD versions of five classic Marx Brothers comedies. The Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933) were released on DVD on June 7, 2011.

These were the first five feature films starring Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo that were produced (not including 1921’s Humor Risk, which was reportedly previewed once, never released and is thought to be lost). All were previously issued together in Universal’s Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection DVD box set, which is still available.

The June 7 release marked the first time the titles were available as individual DVDs.

Here’s some info on each of the five movies:

The Cocoanuts – Generally considered to be the boys’ first feature-length film, this one finds them running a Florida hotel, auctioning off some land and thwarting a jewel robbery, but not before Groucho makes a mockery of his eternal foil, Margaret Dumont.

Animal Crackers – Groucho is Captain Spaulding, the African explorer, who attends a party in his honor at a society estate and then joins his bros in investigating the theft of a valuable that was heisted during the celebration.

Monkey Business –The third Marx Brothers movie finds the boys stowing away on a ship to America and then getting involuntarily pressed into service as toughs for a pair of feuding gangsters, one of whom later kidnaps the other’s daughter, leaving it up to the brothers to save the day.

Horse Feathers – This one revolves around a football game between the fictional Darwin and Huxley Colleges. Put your money on Huxley for the win, as that’s the esteemed institution that has just installed Groucho’s Quincy Adams Wagstaff to be its new president.

Duck Soup – Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is appointed the leader of the small, bankrupt country of Freedonia, leading to his inevitable declaring of war on the neighboring country of Sylvania.

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.