El Paso, TX

July 18 - July 28, 2024 • El Paso, TX

The Cocoanuts

Signature Classic
Thursday, July 18
Philanthropy Theatre

The Marx Brothers were so popular in the late 1920s that they shot The Cocoanuts in the day and performed Animal Crackers on Broadway at night. It’s one of the earliest box-office successes for a sound film and employs the formula that informed their later films. Hapless Groucho runs a Miami hotel. Mary Eaton and Oscar Shaw play the young couple with big dreams. Margaret Dumont is the stuffy dowager. Harpo and Chico create mayhem and rob the guests. Based on the George S. Kaufman musical, it features five Irvin Berlin songs, including “When My Dreams Come True.” This is the early days of sound. Cameras were encased to reduce noise. Paper was moistened to silence crackling (the viaduct/why-a-duck scene was shot 28 times). It’s the first talkie with two directors, prompting Groucho to crack: “One of them didn’t understand English and the other didn’t understand Harpo.” — Doug Pullen

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Starring: The Marx Brothers
Rated: NR