The comedy of the Marx Brothers highlights Tibbits classic film Series in December with a double feature of Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera December 15 at 7 pm.
The Marx Brothers were a comedy team, and actual brothers, who were popular on stage, screen, and radio for 30 years from 1905 – 1949. Widely considered by critics, scholars, and fans to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century, Chico, Harpo, and Groucho collectively were listed as number 20 of the greatest screen legends by the American Film Institute (AFI). Additionally, five of the Marx Brothers’ 13 feature films made AFI’s list of 100 top comedy films. Tibbits will be showing Duck Soup considered number two on the list and A Night at the Opera number 12.
Duck Soup takes place in Freedonia a fictitious country in the middle of a financial crisis and on the brink of revolution. In order to gain a bail-out from the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale, (Margaret Dumont) the government appoints Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) as its president. However, Mr. Firefly shuns the pomp and pretentiousness of government, along with all prudence and rationality. Meanwhile, the neighboring country of Sylvania is plotting to overthrow Freedonia and sends Pinky (Harpo) and Chicolini (Chico) to spy on Firefly. Comedy and antics run wild as war seems inevitable.
Then, more mayhem ensues when the Marx Brothers take a satirical look at the world of opera in A Night at the Opera. Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho) is helping Mrs. Claypool (Margaret Dumont) enter society and gets her to make a major donation to an opera company. An arrogant tenor with an amorous intent for his co-star who loves another singer creates a perfect scenario for the Marx Brothers to help the young lovers while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies. When none of their plans work out, they ensure that the opera company’s presentation of Il Trovatore is one the audience will never forget. The film also features the classic Marx Brothers scene piling a host of visitors into their tiny stateroom.
Both films were deemed by the United States Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, Duck Soup in 1990, and A Night at the Opera in 1993.
The Tibbits Classic Film Series, a 10-part set of monthly double features, showcases Hollywood classics from such genres as sci-fi, film noir, musicals, comedies, and mysteries. The entire Classic Film Series is sponsored by Dr. Matthew Christopher, DDS. Admission to the film series is free except for the special February presentation of the Academy Award Nominated Short Films. Concessions, including a cash bar, will be available for purchase. For more information, please visit Tibbits.org or call 517-278-6029. Performances are held at the historic Tibbits Opera House, 14 S. Hanchett St. Coldwater.