|Publisher:||Random House Inc|
|Publish Date:||May 2001|
|Number of Pages:||465|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||1.1|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.0 x 7.75 x 1.0|
|A Severed Head||p. 9|
|They Grow So Fast||p. 21|
|Charged with Electricity||p. 72|
|You Can Call Me Schnorrer||p. 93|
|Listen to the Mockingbird||p. 122|
|Whatever It Is, I'm against It||p. 148|
|No Sanity Clause||p. 172|
|His Life Was His Jokes||p. 206|
|You Lose Either Way||p. 235|
|Marx's Dust Bowl||p. 263|
|Parodies Lost||p. 286|
|Two Soft Rackets||p. 307|
|Just Don't Die||p. 333|
|Groucho-off and Groucho-on||p. 353|
|A Manager or a Keeper||p. 374|
|Everybody Has a Temperature||p. 395|
|O Splendid and Disreputable Father!||p. 418|
|Suggested Reading||p. 439|
Groucho Marx mastered the worlds of vaudeville, theater, movies, radio, and television, yet he remained a moody, morose, unfulfilled man. Plagued by nagging financial insecurities, partly realized literary ambitions, and difficult, unsatisfying relations with his wives, lovers, and daughters, Groucho was a "depressive clown", notes Kanfer (The Eighth Sin). This is the show business saga of "Minnie's boys", Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and, sometimes, Gummo and Zeppo. Groucho never really had a childhood, as mother Minnie drove the boys relentlessly as they perfected their trademark antic, ad-lib style.
Many books on the Marx Brothers pay homage to their innovative wisecracks, word play, and nonstop non sequitur's, but Kanfer shows the show biz realities behind the madness. The book also details Groucho's ambivalent relations with his son, Arthur; his brothers; New Deal liberals; intellectuals and collaborators like S.J. Perelman; and his custodian, Erin Fleming. Although Chico and Harpo remain shadowy figures in this portrayal, this is the first comprehensive portrait of Groucho in years. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.
[Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/00.] - Pubbing in the same month as Kanfer's book, this work may signal the beginning of a Marx Brothers revival. The brothers' nonstop barrage of verbal and visual gags delighted average moviegoers and intellectuals alike. Kanfer focuses on Groucho, where Louvish, the author of The Man on the Flying Trapeze, a biography of W.C. Fields, expands the canvas to appraise the contributions of the other brothers, plus Margaret Dumont, a regular target of the brothers' mayhem.
Chico was a compulsive gambler and risk taker. Harpo, whose comedy career was limited by his silent act, found fulfillment in family life. Dumont, Louvish shows, was more than a dimwitted comic stooge. (In fact, the Marx Brothers often failed to attract a female audience, an interesting topic covered more fully by Kanfer.) The Marx Brothers' story is now encrusted with numerous myths and dubious anecdotes, and Louvish does a solid job of separating fact from fiction and includes a family tree and a discussion of the FBI's file on the group. Like Kanfer's book, Monkey Business includes generous excerpts of classic Marx Brothers film dialog. Recommended for public library film collections.--Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA
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This definitive biography of one of the world’s greatest comedians unflinchingly yet affectionately uncovers the man behind the cigar.
Here is the amazing career of the man the world recognized as Groucho: the improbable disasters of the vaudeville years; the Marx Brothers, an act so funny W.C. Fields refused to follow it; the unprecedented Broadway success of The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers; the cinematic triumphs of Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera; and the marvelous come-back career as king of the game show hosts with You Bet Your Life. Here, too, is the man himself: a lonely middle child who aspired to be a doctor; a man who sabotaged three marriages; a father alternately indulgent and cruel. Intelligent and thorough, hilarious and sad, Groucho is a spectacular biography of the century’s most influential comedian.
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