A Day At The Races (1937)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

USA, 1937.  Story by , George Seaton, Screenplay by Robert Pirosh, George Seaton, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , Sam Wood.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .   

Reviews of this film always point out that it isn’t quite as good as its predecessor A Night At The Opera, but who cares?  The plot is strung together a little more haphazardly than before, but it doesn’t make Groucho any less witty or the sight gags any less brilliant. The story, such as it is, concerns Groucho‘s ambitions in the world of medicine. He’s an animal doctor who poses as a top-flight human practitioner when he is offered a position in a struggling sanitarium. His personal interests, however, take him to the nearby race track more often than to the examination room, and his ruse is soon suspected by a jealous rival at the institution who sets him up for a fall (the seduction scene with Esther Muir is absolute genius).

Meanwhile, the sanitarium’s owner () is doing her best to keep the place running while falling in love with a singer () who has spent all his savings on a race horse that he hopes will win at the track and save their hides. Ensuring that the horse does win the race is the other brilliant sequence in the movie, plus there’s a wonderful musical soundtrack (the most songs in any of the Brothers films) that features some terrific dance numbers. There are non-stop laughs here, and Groucho is once again the king of all comedy–come on, who else can make washing his hands an exercise in hilarity?

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Dance Direction (“All God’s Children got Rhythm”)

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