Room Service

  • 1938
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

The hit Broadway comedy by Boretz and Murray was not given a great treatment by RKO and the Marx Brothers. Harpo didn't play the harp, Chico didn't play the piano, and Groucho didn't have Margaret Dumont to play with. It cost more than a quarter of a million dollars for the stage rights, and despite the fact that the budget was low, the movie still lost...read more

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The hit Broadway comedy by Boretz and Murray was not given a great treatment by RKO and the Marx Brothers. Harpo didn't play the harp, Chico didn't play the piano, and Groucho didn't have Margaret Dumont to play with. It cost more than a quarter of a million dollars for the stage rights,

and despite the fact that the budget was low, the movie still lost almost $400,000 the first time around. Scenarist Ryskind did what he could to adapt the farce for the unique talents of the Marxes, but the result was just another comedy. Gordon Miller (Groucho; his character's ordinary name

immediately spells trouble) and Harry Binelli (Chico) are living at a Broadway hotel, planning a new stage show and waiting for financing to come through. How they bamboozle a young playwright (Albertson) and keep a hotel executive (MacBride) at bay make for some frantic but not especially

inspired situations.

Besides wasting the talents of the brothers Marx in an insufficiently absurd film, ROOM SERVICE also soft-pedals up-and-coming comic ingenues Lucille Ball and Ann Miller. MacBride, though his standard blowhard role is spread a bit thick sometimes, is the only cast member given a role worthy of his

talents. In 1944, RKO remade the film as a musical, STEP LIVELY. Who would ever guess that Adolphe Menjou, George Murphy, Frank Sinatra and Gloria DeHaven could be funnier than the Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball? Truth is stranger than fiction, folks.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The hit Broadway comedy by Boretz and Murray was not given a great treatment by RKO and the Marx Brothers. Harpo didn't play the harp, Chico didn't play the piano, and Groucho didn't have Margaret Dumont to play with. It cost more than a quarter of a milli… (more)

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