Time: 90 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Slapstick Comedy
Like most Marx Brothers comedies, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA has just enough plot to give them situations to strut their individual talents and make the story interesting, but not enough of one to strangle the manic pace and craziness that ensues. This foray is a little more highbrow since the secondary players are actually opera singers trying to become famous as they fall in love. There is more music than usual and much opera singing, but the Brothers still manage to work their comic magic in between. In fact, it makes them even funnier since most people dislike opera and are only too pleased to see it made fun of.
Their usual comic foil Margaret Dumont reteams with the brothers as Groucho's "love" interest and financial backer Mrs. Claypool. Groucho plays Otis B. Driftwood a con artist cum manager trying to convince the wealthy dowager he can get her into high society if she promises to invest $200,000 in the New York Opera Company. He introduces her to Hermann Gottleib (Rumann) the head of the opera company who convinces her that she'll be the toast of New York since they'll be hiring the celebrated Italian opera singer Rodolpho Lassparri (King) for the new season with her cash. Meanwhile, Tomasso (Harpo) is being harassed and fired by the overbearing Lassparri and Fiorello (Chico) is trying to think of a way to get his friend Ricardo (Jones), a wonderful, yet unknown tenor, into the limelight. Ricardo wants to be famous, but he'd much rather be with Rosa (Carlisle), an up-and-coming soprano, who feels the same way.
Unfortunately, she's caught the eye of Lassparri, who wants to take her to New York with him for the season. Ricardo doesn't want to stand in the way of her career, so she decides to go. Knowing Lassparri's intentions, Ricardo and the boys stow away on the steamer to protect Rosa. They have nowhere to stay, so Otis allows them to stay in his cabin. Of course, craziness ensues. In one of cinema's most famously funny scenes, everyone from the bellhop to a manicurist arrives and piles into the tiny stateroom. Just when you don't think the room could fit another soul, they add 10 more. The boys are discovered by Lassparri after a rousing musical performance on deck. They are very popular with the passengers, but not so much with ship security. To get off the ship unnoticed Tomasso, Fiorello and Ricardo pretend to be three heroic brothers. They are quickly found out when the speeches of their exploits don't exactly wow the waiting crowd.