At least five of the original movies have been digitally cleaned up and, in some cases, with lost or cut footage restored.
I watched a couple of these movies last year and loved them all over again, but wondered why nobody had come in and done a better restoration. I figured it was a money thing and there wasn’t enough interest in it from studios too busy putting out billion dollar blockbusters.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
There’s no planned Blu-ray release schedule yet, but I’m sure we’ll get one eventually. I am a patient man.
Schade points out that a print of Animal Crackers was located in the British Film Institute archives, and it contains bits of monkey business that were cut by American censors, including the excised lyric “I think I’ll try and make her” from the song “Hooray for Captain Spaulding,” as well as a bit where Harpo, rolled-up newspaper in hand, plays “slap-ass” with a society dame.
Update: I first wrote of my excitement about the Marx Bros. movies coming to DVD in 2004 on this very blog. The money quote from that:
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 only took twelve years (or more)…