Monkey Business


The Marx Brothers’ third feature, the first not adapted from one of their Broadway shows, contained their first original screenplay – by S.J. Perelman and an uncredited Ben Hecht, among others – and it’s also perhaps their most purely bizarre comedy (and the only one in which they have no character names). In Monkey Business, the guys play a quartet of stowaways who hide from the authorities on a luxury cruise ship and inadvertently find themselves posing as bodyguards to rival gangsters. Complete lunacy ensues as the brothers get mixed up in a kidnapping plot and must save the day, all while wreaking their own special brand of havoc on everyone who crosses their path, including the glamorous Thelma Todd. Includes the famous scene where all four Marx Brothers try to get through customs by pretending to be Maurice Chevalier. A box-office smash, Monkey Business set new standards for on-screen anarchy and launched the Marx Brothers into the ranks of Hollywood royalty. (Dir. by Norman Z. McLeod, 1931, USA, 77 mins., Not Rated) Digital