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  • mistermuse 12:08 am on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Night at the Opera. Duck Soup, classic movies, , , , ,   


    As the curtain rises on Act IV, we pick up where we left off in Act III:

    We’ve come at long last to the denouement (aka the point in the presentation where it’s time to wrap up the plot before the popcorn runs out): Fiorello and Tomasso abduct and gag lead tenor Alasprairie during the onstage uproar and take him to a site out of sight, where he’s fit to be tied. Gottliebchen is in a bind: a replacement tenor is needed to quiet the affronted audience, as well as those seated in the rear. Ricardo Macaroni happens to be handy. Gottliebchen gives in. Ricardo and the lovely Rosa Grossa sing an aria. The audience is enthralled. Miraculously, everything has worked out in….

    THE END?

    But as we all know, it’s not the end until the fat lady sings — a requisite which is unaccountably missing in this opera. Fortunately for our fannies, the fat lady who doesn’t sing in this opera did sing to end this earlier opera, which will serve our purpose here:

    Now that’s what I call leaving on borrowed time.


    • mlrover 8:58 am on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I love that they aimed the fruit over her head. My favorite was always when Harpo played.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:56 am on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Harpo’s playing always provided just the right balance of “catch-our-breath” between what would otherwise have been non-stop zaniness — not to mention that his playing was excellent in itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tubularsock 1:50 pm on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Tubularsock loved that as well and found it interesting how she showed such confidence they’d miss. Wonder how many times they had to run through that without a mistake hit.

        Liked by 2 people

        • mistermuse 9:23 pm on February 16, 2020 Permalink

          They did hit their initial target (Trentino) several times without noticeable effect before turning their attention to her, so I suspect that the “fruit” was made of something relatively soft (I was going to say foam rubber, but I checked and found that foam rubber wasn’t invented until 1937 — 3 years after DUCK SOUP was filmed). In any case, it does look like they missed her on purpose.

          Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 6:17 pm on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      The Marx Brothers were unequaled! Still just as funny today. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:43 pm on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely! And A NIGHT AT THE OPERA lends itself perfectly to being satirized like a soap opera. I can’t think of another film which could as easily “inspire” the writing of these posts.

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 8:22 am on February 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Just leave out the sanity clause next time…

      Liked by 1 person

    • JosieHolford 8:45 pm on February 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Not for nothing they were known as comic genius.

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 10:26 pm on February 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      love the Marx bros…the first Beatles. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:58 am on February 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I guess you could make that comparison, though I’ve never thought of the Beatles’ films in that way before.


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , classic movies, , ,   


    When last we met, leaving our three stowaways on the good ship Lollipoop, Tomasso had cut the beards off of three Russian aviators, and he, Fiorello and Ricardo had assumed their identities….or so you were left to assume. But you don’t have to take my word for it….

    Having escaped from the speakers’ platform outside City Hall with plainclothes detective Henderson in pursuit, the stowaways and Driftwort take refuge in a nearby hotel, where they have a flat and retire. In the a.m., they have room service send up their breakfast.

    Just when you thought the opening night of the opera season would never arrive, it does….and so does Driftwort, only to learn that he has been fired by Missis Playpool for associating with riffraff (how riffraff got into the act, I’ll never know). Not to be denied, Driftwort (together with Tomasso and Fiorello) goes to Gottliebchen’s office, locks him in a closet, replaces Gottliebchen as Missis Playpool’s escort, and delivers the opening night address, which is the same as the day address, but not as easy to see:

    Is there no end to this madness? For the answer to that question, you will have to return for Act IV. Until then….

    • calmkate 5:34 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for finally revealing why my father would Never let us watch the Marx Bros … but I enjoyed a good giggle. They are obviously cousins to Abbott and Costello 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:39 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You’re welcome, Kate. A & C’s heyday started when the Marx Brothers’ best years ended in the 1940s. A & C may have been the ‘successors’ to the Marxes, though in my opinion, their films didn’t reach the level of madcap originality and wit of the Marx Brothers. But all due credit to A & C for one of the classic routines of all time, WHO’S ON FIRST?

        Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 9:23 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve repeated Chico’s story of crossing the Atlantic to people just for the blank stares I get.

      “We getta close… a maybe a three feet… and what dya think, we run outta gas and we gotta go back…”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ashley 9:39 am on February 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Crazy, crazy, crazy! Only the Marx Brothers could get away with such idiocy! It’s good to laugh just for the hell of it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 3:00 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      ‘O for the lyrics and lyricists of yore.
      They don’t make too many like them anymore
      Since ol’ Yip and Porter and Brecht
      Said adieu
      The clever and worldly are far ‘tween and few.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:50 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You’re not a bad “lyricist” yourself — though setting your lyrics to music might stand no more than a “Ghost Of A Chance” (a 1933 hit composed by Victor Young, lyrics by Ned Washington)! 😉


    • barkinginthedark 9:54 pm on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      i almost forgot what a terrific crooner Der Bingle was. thanks MM. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:29 pm on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I love the early Crosby’s voice. After about 1935, he gradually changed from being the emotional crooner of that 1933 clip to being, in my opinion, a less appealing and more commercially oriented (for lack of a better term) singer — still good, but not “terrific.” I own many recordings from both stages of his career, and the difference is obvious.


  • mistermuse 12:00 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book of Kells, classic movies, , , Importance of Being Earnest, , , , , , , , satiric masterpieces, St. Patrick, ,   


    I contemplated concluding this four-part series with thoughts and reminisences on my tour of the Emerald Isle some thirty years ago, but I have so many fond memories that I lack the time, and perhaps the words, to do them justice. Besides, recounting personal vacation trips is a dubious proposition of boring potential at best, so I’ll spare you (and me) the task, and go instead with a few swigs of St. Patrick’s Day trivia and a wee bit of Irish Lit, writ and wit.

    Let’s start with St. Patrick himself. One might assume that St. Patricks Day is celebrated on March 17 because that’s his birthday, but in fact, his exact birth date is unknown. March 17 is the day he died (in the year 461).

    The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in NYC on March 17, 1762. For more on this and other things Irish, click on these short video clips:


    As for Irish Lit, one of the earliest surviving manuscripts is the painstakingly crafted and astonishingly beautiful Book of Kells (circa 800), which I had the pleasure of viewing at Dublin’s Trinity College Library. See for yourself at:


    Ireland, of course, has produced some of the greatest satirists and masterpieces of wit in history, including Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest), George Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion, on which My Fair Lady is based), and John Millington Synge (The Playboy of the Western World). Excellent movies (and some not-so-excellent re-makes) have been made of all, and I close with a quote or a clip from each:

    The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver’s watch may be his God, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.  –Gulliver’s Travels (1939)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eymdx4xomM  –The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EADz07k_wXU  –Pygmalion (1938)

    …if it’s a poor thing to be lonesome, it’s worse maybe to go mixing with the fools of earth.  –The Playboy of the Western World (1962)

    May this St. Patrick’s Day find you neither lonesome nor with the fools of earth.

    • arekhill1 1:45 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Been years since I read the Playboy of the Western World. thanks for reminding me of it.


    • mistermuse 4:07 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I own a two-record (33 1/3 rpm) box set of the play recorded by Cyril Cusack (who played the playboy) Productions of Dublin in 1955. The accompanying booklet relates how the play’s first performance in Dublin in 1907 caused a riot because, as the Irish Times wrote, “the majority of theatregoers are not accustomed to remoreless truth.” The 1911 American premiere caused “one of the noisiest rows ever seen in a New York theatre.”

      I find it extremely interesting that one of the play’s champions was none other than ex-President Teddy Roosevelt, who wrote that “The little crowd of denaturalized Irishmen who tried to prevent the performance of The Playboy of the Western World by the Irish players in New York City have succeeded in doing precisely what was needed to bring the play to public attention.”

      How much, and yet how little, people and times have changed since then.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 10:25 am on October 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply



    If you’re not a classic movie buff, you probably didn’t recognize that name (and therefore may not be interested in reading further). I bring up the name of Leo McCarey because today is his birthday (born Oct. 3, 1898), and he deserves to be remembered, at the very least, for the great movies he directed (and, in some cases, also wrote and/or produced) during Hollywood’s “Golden Age” — including these:

    DUCK SOUP (1933) – not only one of the Marx Brothers best, but one of the best, comedies of all time.

    SIX OF A KIND (1934) – with a cast including W, C. Fields, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Charlie Ruggles, how could this not be great?

    BELLE OF THE NINETIES (1934) – a Mae West classic.

    RUGGLES OF RED GAP (1935) – one of McCarey’s lesser known films, but one of his very best. Charles Laughton did it (starred as a butler).

    MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937) – speaking of lesser known McCarey films, this one probably takes the cake. A departure from his previous run of comedies but just as well done, and a personal favorite of mine.

    THE AWFUL TRUTH  (1937) – screwball comedy starring Cary Grant; McCarey won Academy Award for Best Director. Enough said.

    LOVE AFFAIR (1939) – Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (quoting film critic Leonard Maltin) “are a marvelous match” in a “superior comedy-drama.” Remade twice (including once by McCarey) but, as is usually the case with remakes, not up to the original.

    After the 1930s, McCarey continued to make movies into the 1960s, but in my opinion, never again with the magic of the above films. But what a glorious run he had while it lasted.

    • K.J. Ulsh 4:46 am on October 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to see you up and running. By the way, Oct 3rd is my birthday. How odd is it that, your first post on a birthday salute. Keep it up Muse.


      • mistermuse 2:32 pm on October 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Happy Birthday a day late, K.J. – and welcome to my first post which would’ve been on SWI, if not for having been not only blindsided, but effectively back-stabbed. At least, that was the end result, even if I just “happened” to be the primary victim, which seems to be the case. In my opinion, Bob Grant was the first one blindsided (by HostGator), but instead of instead of insisting on time to remove posts in an orderly, thought-out and fairer way, he capitulated, panicked and deleted in a way that was the complete opposite. Why all of a sudden the big rush, when obviously site capacity had been approaching for days, if not weeks? Sad.


        • K.J. Ulsh 3:27 pm on October 4, 2013 Permalink

          Murray Banks wrote a piece called “Stop The World- I Want To Get Off”. It got me through some difficult times as a youth when I had dilemmas I could not comprehend nor control. I have not read it in 20 odd years, maybe I should dig it up in my attic. I only mention it because I just thought of it as I read your reply….for some reason. Maybe it was rushing to conclusions as we did, but a very sketchy scenario no doubt in that world, hence, we got off the ride…for now.


        • mistermuse 4:57 pm on October 4, 2013 Permalink

          Back in the 1960s, there was a Broadway show and movie musical of that same name (I happen to own the original cast LP) starring Anthony Newley. You may heard the hit song from the show, “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” Probably no connection with the Murray Banks piece, except the show/movie may be where he got his title from. I’ll try to check it out before the world stops.


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