Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Flying Down To Rio and The Marx Brothers At The Circus

Watched these two 1930's movies  tonight on a double bill. The beauty of dvd's. Both films are surreal, with The Marx Brothers film having the  usual amount of anarchy and mayhem this time taking place at the circus. The best parts of "Flying" are  the musical numbers, including the elaborate and sexually charged "The Coppelia"  and all the girls at the end of the film on the airplane wings singing Flying Down To Rio which is crazy and salacious. Rio was the first of the Christmas attractions at Radio City Music Hall in 1933 and is really special and important because it's the first time Astaire and Rogers danced together, otherwise the film is predictable and  draggy. With  Dolores Del Rio who is ravishing but stilted and a surprisingly sexy Gene Raymond. The Marx Brothers film At The Circus is basically interchangeable with all of their films, this one has songs by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg the best one being  Lydia, the Tattooed Lady which is a classic of sorts and a lively number with African American kids that thankfully is void of any racism. The romantic leads are kenny Baker and Florence Rice who might as well be invisible, for all the charm and heat they generate and are not very attractive romantic leads.  Then there is Eve Arden who plays what might be her only unsympathetic role as  a not so nice circus performer who walks on the ceiling for her act, (one scene is so sloppy that you can easily tell that its not her doing the stunts) and of course the wonderful Margaret Dumont is also on hand. Made for M.G.M. and it shows in the production values that are hard, grand and glossy.


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