Monkey Business (1931)

77-78 mins | Comedy | 19 September 1931

Director:

Norman Z. McLeod

Cinematographer:

Arthur L. Todd

Production Company:

Paramount Publix Corp.
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HISTORY

The opening title card to the film reads "Paramount Presents The Four Marx Brothers in Monkey Business ." In a contemporary interview, Norman McLeod mentions that there were up to twelve writers working on this film, and when Eddie Cantor visited the set, he made some contributions. A FD news item notes that Samuel Marx, father of the Marx Brothers, made his film debut at the age of 72 in this film. A modern source reports that he earned $12.50 a day for two days. This was McLeod's first solo directorial work. Although copyright records credit cartoonist J. Carver Pusey as contributing writer, modern sources refute any contribution to the final film by him. Modern sources do credit Nat Perrin as a contributing writer. Thelma Todd also appeared in the Marx Brothers' 1932 Paramount film Horse Feathers (see above). Scenes shot for Monkey Business are included in the 1931 Paramount promotional film The House That Shadows Built (see ... More Less

The opening title card to the film reads "Paramount Presents The Four Marx Brothers in Monkey Business ." In a contemporary interview, Norman McLeod mentions that there were up to twelve writers working on this film, and when Eddie Cantor visited the set, he made some contributions. A FD news item notes that Samuel Marx, father of the Marx Brothers, made his film debut at the age of 72 in this film. A modern source reports that he earned $12.50 a day for two days. This was McLeod's first solo directorial work. Although copyright records credit cartoonist J. Carver Pusey as contributing writer, modern sources refute any contribution to the final film by him. Modern sources do credit Nat Perrin as a contributing writer. Thelma Todd also appeared in the Marx Brothers' 1932 Paramount film Horse Feathers (see above). Scenes shot for Monkey Business are included in the 1931 Paramount promotional film The House That Shadows Built (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
20 May 31
p. 21.
Film Daily
27 Sep 31
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 31
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Aug 31
p. 30.
New York Times
8 Oct 31
p. 22.
Variety
13 Oct 31
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
WRITERS
[Wrt] by
Addl dial
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
SOURCES
SONGS
"O sole mio," music by Edoardo di Capua, lyrics by Giovanni Capurro
"Sweet Adeline," music by Harry Armstrong, lyrics by Richard Gerard
"You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me," music and lyrics by Irving Kahal, Pierre Norman and Sammy Fain.
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 September 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Publix Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 September 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2486
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77-78
Length(in feet):
6,947
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

Four stowaways, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo, are discovered aboard a luxury liner and are chased for the entire voyage by Captain Corcoran and his crew. At various times during the chase, Harpo becomes part of a Punch and Judy show, and Chico and Harpo impersonate the barber. Groucho hides in a closet in gangster Alky Briggs's stateroom, and when Groucho emerges from the closet, he finds Lucille, Briggs's wife, alone and flirts with her. Briggs suddenly comes in, and after Zeppo also bursts into the room, Briggs hires Groucho and Zeppo as his bodyguards. Meanwhile, Chico and Harpo wander into rival gangleader Joe Helton's room to play a game of chess and become his bodyguards. Briggs enters Helton's stateroom and announces his takeover of Helton's territory, but Helton orders him out, with the help of Chico and Harpo. Groucho later hires himself out to Helton as his personal bodyguard in an attempt to baffle logic. When the ocean liner docks, the stowaways try to impersonate singer Maurice Chevalier, whose passport Zeppo stole, but are unsuccessful. When a man faints, the stowaways hide in his stretcher and are carried off the ship. Later, Mary Helton is kidnapped at her coming-out party by Briggs's men and is held in the barn. Because Briggs has told Groucho of his plan, Groucho and the boys warn Helton and then go to the barn. A fight ensues, during which Zeppo rescues Mary and later knocks Briggs out just as Helton ... +


Four stowaways, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo, are discovered aboard a luxury liner and are chased for the entire voyage by Captain Corcoran and his crew. At various times during the chase, Harpo becomes part of a Punch and Judy show, and Chico and Harpo impersonate the barber. Groucho hides in a closet in gangster Alky Briggs's stateroom, and when Groucho emerges from the closet, he finds Lucille, Briggs's wife, alone and flirts with her. Briggs suddenly comes in, and after Zeppo also bursts into the room, Briggs hires Groucho and Zeppo as his bodyguards. Meanwhile, Chico and Harpo wander into rival gangleader Joe Helton's room to play a game of chess and become his bodyguards. Briggs enters Helton's stateroom and announces his takeover of Helton's territory, but Helton orders him out, with the help of Chico and Harpo. Groucho later hires himself out to Helton as his personal bodyguard in an attempt to baffle logic. When the ocean liner docks, the stowaways try to impersonate singer Maurice Chevalier, whose passport Zeppo stole, but are unsuccessful. When a man faints, the stowaways hide in his stretcher and are carried off the ship. Later, Mary Helton is kidnapped at her coming-out party by Briggs's men and is held in the barn. Because Briggs has told Groucho of his plan, Groucho and the boys warn Helton and then go to the barn. A fight ensues, during which Zeppo rescues Mary and later knocks Briggs out just as Helton arrives. +

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.