Well, while I'm still revving up to REALLY make some progress on my thesis, might as well check in here and update you all on what I'm actually doing. Two movies tonight: some of A Day at the Races, most of Repo Man. It's all good, it's all related, my nine followers.
I've solved the Marx Brothers formula previously, but it's worth rehashing several times over. Groucho's the alpha dog, Chico's beta but makes it a point to match Groucho joke for joke... and who doesn't love Harpo? The free-form Curly of the group, but without the woo woo woo. He doesn't speak, but doesn't stay that quiet, either! How does that work? Well, he's got the cane horn, and he whistles. I never could figure out how to whistle with my fingers in my mouth, but I'm able to do it pretty well and loudly without my fingers in my mouth. I guess it looks strange, though.
As for the formula in terms of plot, Groucho is the authority figure, at least in terms of Marx brothers. Chico and Harpo are aligned, typically against Groucho, but during the course of the picture end up on Groucho's side. Zeppo stays aligned with Groucho, or his non-Marx equivalent. Then, of course, there are the REAL authority figures. Quite a few in this one! At least three: the sanitarium pill, his boss, and the local police chief. A Day at the Races marks a bit of a departure from the typical formula. Also, I did forget how epic and crazy the big finale is, involving the boys stalling a horse race and running from the cops in the process. There's also some unfortunate blackface scenes, but I like to think they were just doing their part to end segregation in America. I was actually out of the room for most of the film, but I've always got the big Groucho and Chico scene memorized, where Chico keeps saying "Getta you tootsie frootsie ice cream!" Ah, memories, hay rides or otherwise.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan