The Marx Brothers do the horse track—which is to say that A Day at the Races has very little to do with racing at all. Unfortunately, it’s one of the brotherhood’s later films, for MGM, which despite hearty servings of Marxian wackiness are overrun with romantic subplots and unfunny musical numbers. Still, if you’re having juleps, this is your best bet.
The second of the Marx Brothers’ films (after 1929’s
), this dusty, sarcastically musical vaudeville farce involves a sham “explorer” (Groucho), a society party thrown in his honor, a stolen painting, a pair of suspicious musicians (Chico and Harpo), and so on. The bros’ vim could not be contained even by the primitive early-talkie technology.
The Marx Brothers attack college life, a life-brightening process that climaxes, more or less, with a crucial football match, between universities Darwin and Huxley, that is itself reduced to slapstick chicanery.