a night at the opera
the year: 1935
the genre: comedy
the cast: Groucho Marx (Otis B. Driftwood); Chico Marx (Fiorello); Harpo Marx (Tomasso); Kitty Carlisle (Rosa); Allan Jones (Riccardo); Sig Rugman (Gottlieb); Margaret Dumont (Mrs. Claypool)
the plot: Arrogant European opera impresario, tenor Rodolfo Lassparri, is chasing after his leading lady, Rosa Castaldi - who detests him. She's in love with Riccardo Baroni, an unknown tenor who is (of course) more talented than Lassparri. All Riccardo needs is an opportunity to show the world his talent. Otis B. Driftwood convinces Mrs. Claypool to be a benefactress to the New York Opera Company to the tune of $200,000. With the money, the company's managing director, Herman Gottlieb, hires Lassparri. Lassparri accepts and wants to bring Rosa to New York with him to continue as his leading lady, both on stage and in life. On the ship to New York, Riccardo, his friend and self-appointed manager Fiorello, and Lassparri's former valet Tomasso (Lassparri fired him) stowaway on board. They want help Riccardo get the gig as the leading tenor and reunite him with Rosa. Once in New York, the trio and Driftwood have to keep one step ahead of the authorities all the while helping Riccardo achieve his dream.
don't miss: Lassparri's stage debut in New York.
listen for: "And now, on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor."
did you know: Producer Irving Thalberg would often call people in for meetings, and then keep them waiting in his office for hours while he attended other meetings on the MGM lot. One day, during pre-production for A Night at the Opera (1935), Thalberg kept The Marx Brothers waiting for several hours in his secretary's office, while he was in his own office making phone calls. When Thalberg's secretary went home for the day, the brothers decided they'd had enough. They pushed the office file cabinets against Thalberg's door, trapping the producer in his office. Afterwards, Thalberg kept his appointments with the Marx Brothers, but would often interrupt his meetings with them and step out to attend other meetings - again keeping the brothers waiting for hours. One day, Thalberg came back from another meeting to find Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx sitting in his office completely naked, and roasting potatoes on sticks in his office fireplace. Thalberg sat down with them, had a potato, and never missed or interrupted another meeting with the Marx Brothers.
extra bonus points: if you know how many eggs Otis Driftwood orders from the steward. I lost count at 18.