Animal Crackers (1930)

97 mins | Comedy | 6 September 1930

Director:

Victor Heerman

Writer:

Morris Ryskind

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Production Company:

Paramount Publix Corp.
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HISTORY

The 6 Mar 1930 FD announced that Paramount had purchased audible film rights to the 1928 stage play Animal Crackers, written by George S. Kaufman, Bert Kalmar, Morris Ryskind, and Harry Ruby. The studio planned to cast the four Marx Brothers to reprise their roles onscreen. Principal photography was set to begin in six weeks at Paramount’s Astoria, Queens, NY, studios (later known as Kaufman Astoria Studios). The filmed marked the second Paramount production with the Four Marx Brothers, after the comedic quartet’s theatrical feature film debut, The Cocoanuts, in 1929 (see entry), which had also been filmed at the Long Island studios.
       One month after the rights were secured, the 6 Apr 1930 FD reported that director Victor Heerman had arrived on the East Coast to prepare for filming. At the time, William Saulter and Ernest Fegte had overseen construction of a scale model of a Long Island mansion, according to the 15 Apr 1930 FD. The 24 Apr 1930 FD reported that rehearsals were set to begin on 28 Apr 1930.
       On 20 May 1930, FD stated that filming would be completed in about two more weeks. Although the 1 Jun 1930 FD announced that Heerman was putting “finishing touches” on the picture, the 23 Jun 1930 FD noted that retakes were being held up by Harpo Marx, who had been “recovering from an infection” and was bedridden for one month.
       According to the 12 Jul 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World, Harpo Marx had recovered and returned to work, and re-shoots were nearly finished. The 9 Aug 1930 ...

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The 6 Mar 1930 FD announced that Paramount had purchased audible film rights to the 1928 stage play Animal Crackers, written by George S. Kaufman, Bert Kalmar, Morris Ryskind, and Harry Ruby. The studio planned to cast the four Marx Brothers to reprise their roles onscreen. Principal photography was set to begin in six weeks at Paramount’s Astoria, Queens, NY, studios (later known as Kaufman Astoria Studios). The filmed marked the second Paramount production with the Four Marx Brothers, after the comedic quartet’s theatrical feature film debut, The Cocoanuts, in 1929 (see entry), which had also been filmed at the Long Island studios.
       One month after the rights were secured, the 6 Apr 1930 FD reported that director Victor Heerman had arrived on the East Coast to prepare for filming. At the time, William Saulter and Ernest Fegte had overseen construction of a scale model of a Long Island mansion, according to the 15 Apr 1930 FD. The 24 Apr 1930 FD reported that rehearsals were set to begin on 28 Apr 1930.
       On 20 May 1930, FD stated that filming would be completed in about two more weeks. Although the 1 Jun 1930 FD announced that Heerman was putting “finishing touches” on the picture, the 23 Jun 1930 FD noted that retakes were being held up by Harpo Marx, who had been “recovering from an infection” and was bedridden for one month.
       According to the 12 Jul 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World, Harpo Marx had recovered and returned to work, and re-shoots were nearly finished. The 9 Aug 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World reported that Animal Crackers was recently completed.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald-World
12 Jul 1930
---
Exhibitors Herald-World
9 Aug 1930
---
Exhibitors Herald-World
6 Sep 1930
pp. 38-39
Film Daily
6 Mar 1930
p,. 2
Film Daily
6 Apr 1930
p. 39
Film Daily
15 Apr 1930
p. 7
Film Daily
24 Apr 1930
p. 8
Film Daily
20 May 1930
p. 9
Film Daily
1 Jun 1930
p. 5
Film Daily
23 Jun 1930
p. 7
Film Daily
3 Aug 1930
p. 11
Life
26 Sep 1930
p. 20
New York Times
4 May 1930
p. 6
New York Times
29 Aug 1930
p. 30
New York Times
7 Sep 1930
p. 5
New Yorker
6 Sep 1930
pp. 62-63
Time
8 Sep 1930
p. 25
Variety
3 Sep 1930
p. 19
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
MUSIC
Mus arr
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Animal Crackers by George S. Kaufman, Bert Kalmar, Morris Ryskind and Harry Ruby (New York, 23 Oct 1928).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
+
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
+
SONGS
"Collegiate," music and lyrics by Moe Jaffe, Nat Bonx; "Some Of These Days," music and lyrics by Shelton Brooks; "Why Am I So Romantic?" music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby; "Hooray for Captain Spalding," music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 September 1930
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 Aug 1930 at the Rialto Theatre
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Publix Corp.
6 September 1930
LP1546
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
97
Length(in feet):
8,897
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

At the estate of Mrs. Rittenhouse, Jeffrey Spaulding, an African explorer, and Horatio, his secretary, become social lions at a house party in progress; and on their heels are the professor and Signor Ravelli, musicians. Arabella, the hostess' daughter, is in love with John Parker, an unknown artist; and Roscoe Chandler, an art connoisseur, arrives with a valuable master painting, of which John had made a pastiche while a student. Arabella persuades the musicians to substitute the copy for the original, and recognizing the art patron as a former fish peddler, they blackmail him. But a rival society matron, whose daughter has copied the same painting, plots a similar substitution to embarrass Mrs. Rittenhouse. Later, during a thunderstorm, the musicians steal the painting, but Hives, the butler, replaces it with the other pastiche, and at the unveiling the plot is ...

More Less

At the estate of Mrs. Rittenhouse, Jeffrey Spaulding, an African explorer, and Horatio, his secretary, become social lions at a house party in progress; and on their heels are the professor and Signor Ravelli, musicians. Arabella, the hostess' daughter, is in love with John Parker, an unknown artist; and Roscoe Chandler, an art connoisseur, arrives with a valuable master painting, of which John had made a pastiche while a student. Arabella persuades the musicians to substitute the copy for the original, and recognizing the art patron as a former fish peddler, they blackmail him. But a rival society matron, whose daughter has copied the same painting, plots a similar substitution to embarrass Mrs. Rittenhouse. Later, during a thunderstorm, the musicians steal the painting, but Hives, the butler, replaces it with the other pastiche, and at the unveiling the plot is exposed.

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GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
with songs


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.