Five long years have passed since the Marx Brothers' last movie, the
dreadful The Big Store. The brothers had retired for all practical
purposes. But Chico was a compulsive gambler and found himself in
heavily in debt. So he convinced his brothers to make one more picture,
1946's A Night in Casablanca.
The film takes place, as the title suggests, in Casablanca after the
war. Three managers of the Casablanca Hotel have been mysteriously
killed in the last six months. It seems that a planeload of French
treasure that was looted by the Nazis during their occupation is hidden
in the hotel. The Nazi agent Heinrich Stubel (Sig Ruman) wants to
recover the treasure, and will let nothing stand in their way.
Having trouble finding anyone competent to take the manager's job, the
owners of the hotel convince Ronald Kornblow (Groucho) to take over.
Aided by a camel-taxi driver Corbaccio (Chico,) and Stubel's incompetent
valet Rusty (Harpo,) the three have to make sure that the hidden treasure
doesn't fall in the wrong hands.
In a lot of ways this movie was a great achievement. Though the
brothers were ageing, they proved that their last three movies were an
aberration, and that they could still put out wacky comedies.
While this film is not great, it is still funny. Groucho is back
to his witty self and has some great lines. The madcap zaniness doesn't
hit the highs that their earliest work did, but it was a nice film for
them to end their careers on.
This is really the Marx Brothers last film. They would appear
again in the totally forgettable Love Happy, but that was really
Harpo's movie. All three brothers never even appear together in any
scene. A Night in Casablanca is a good movie, and one that
Marx brothers' fans should be sure to check out.
Like the other movies in this series, the mono audio had a slight hiss
to it, but it wasn't annoying. There were a few other audio imperfections,
an occasional pop or slight distortion, but these were rare. The
dialog was crisp and easy to hear. I'm sure this sounds just as good,
if not better, than when the movie was originally in theaters. Subtitles
are available in English, French and Spanish.
The full frame picture was a little soft, with the fine lines being
slightly blurred. There was also a little bit of grain in the picture,
but it wasn't excessive. The blacks were not true black, but they
were even. The picture did have very good contrast and brightness,
with a good amount of detail. There were very few, if any, video
imperfections. The print looked very clean.
This DVD has two shorts included as bonus material, but no trailer.
The first short is Acrobatty Bunny, a Bugs Bunny cartoon where a
circus sets up over Bugs' hole in the ground. As you might expect,
So You Think You're a Nervous Wreck is the second short, a comedy
in which Joe McDoakes' (George O'Hanlon) fears and phobias are examined.
Not a great movie, but a good one. I enjoyed A Night in Casablanca
more than the four movies the brothers made before this one. Marx
fans should be sure to snag a copy, and this movie is Recommended.
But if you haven't seen one of their films in a while, you should probably
start out with one of their best efforts, A Night at the Opera.