'A Day at the Races'

"Emily, I have a little confession to make. I really am a horse doctor. But marry me and I'll never look at any other horse." Groucho Marx brings down the curtain with that startling declaration, and the glory of this Marx Bros. classic is that in anarchic, inspired fashion, everything really does build up to that line, including Chico's role as a sanitarium driver and Stuffy's as a jockey. The climactic race has never been topped for orchestrated comic chaos, and if you saw this as a kid, just remembering "Tootsie-Frootsie ice cream" can send you into convulsions. There was a time when every undergraduate discovered these surreal anarchists anew at revival theaters or on television. Monty Python and American late-night comedy left little oxygen for the Marxes' antiauthoritarian farce, but a Marx Bros. revival is long overdue.--Mike Sragow
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