Mark Evanier chimes in with the announcement that I’ve been waiting for: a new Marx Bros DVD boxed set is coming in May. This one will collect A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, At The Circus, Go West, Room Service, The Big Store and A Night in Casablanca. There are a couple in there I’ve not yet seen. I already picked up the rest when they were originally issued a few years ago. Hopefully, those’ll be cleaned up and put back out someday soon.
It’s always amazed me how little respect the Marx Bros. have gotten on DVD. So much stuff from the earliest days of Hollywood have come out now, but relatively little from those Marx Bros. movies. Yes, five others were released years ago, but they received no special attention. There aren’t any special bonus features added to them, the prints weren’t cleaned up at all, and they were released almost like they were public domain films someone was trying to dump.
It’s gotten better over the years, with a number of Marx Bros. compilations, including the excellent “You Bet Your Life” boxed set that Evanier mentions. But it’s still bothered me that nobody has made the effort to go back, clean the movies up as much as can be done today, and release them as special editions. Why hasn’t Criterion looked into some of these movies? Imagine what they could do with Duck Soup or Animal Crackers.
It looks like the tide is finally starting to turn for Groucho and his brothers. Let’s hope Universal follows suit.