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Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers
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Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Sometimes Zeppo: A Celebration of the Marx Brothers

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Sometimes Zeppo: A History of the Marx Brothers and a Satire on the Rest of the World
Hardcover, 484 pages
Published February 1st 1976 by Pocket Books (first published 1973)
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The best thing about this book are the amazing photos, many of which I had never seen before. Beyond that, there are a few interesting bits of information, but the writing style is painful - Joe Adamson attempts to write in his own "Marx Brothers style," which as you can imagine, does not go very well. He also goes extremely deep and detailed into the variety of writers, directors and producers of the films, which is beyond boring, although it was interesting to read exactly why the early Marx B...more
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The man who wrote this book is an unfunny man who thinks his writing is rather funny. He must also think that he is more credible if he doesn't laud the team, but launches an "attack" (he writes poorly) on the Marx Brothers. He seems to think that by pointing out their flaws, he must be comedically superior to them.

This book is supposed to be factual and informative. This man has done some research, but writes of his personal feelings. Adamson knows very littl...more
Adamson tries to be funny alongside the Brothers, a dangerous gambit, and succeeds at times. The book's format becomes a fifth brother (well, all right, a fourth - Zeppo was the biggest stiff on stage since Curly Joe). We learn all we need to know about them. We learn a little about what "funny" is. We watch it all fizzle away under TV lights.

Most importantly, we learn this verse of D.H. Lawrence's "Song of a Man Who Has Come Through:"

"What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the...more
I love the Marx Brothers and I have loved this book for years, returning to it time and again for healthy doses of disrespect.
Don't get me wrong; this guy is a fan. However, he's not a my-Marx-Brothers-right-or-wrong kind of fan. This is someone who writes lyrical recountings of what they got right, bewildered and funny analyses of what didn't work (the Marx Brothers could miss, big time), and the rest of the time, he is as bemused as the rest of us in a resigned, parent-of-teenagers way.
A painl...more
Phil Overeem
Sorry to say, but Adamson's book-long attempt to harmonize his voice with Marxian whimsy was wearying--admirable, but doomed to failure. What I found myself enjoying most were excerpts from the film scripts, including some dialogue that never made it. I learned more from Groucho's first memoir. I will say there are some excellent anecdotes, but I'd heard most of them (possibly from folks who'd read this book already).
EF Slattery
I tracked this book down after reading a recommendation for it on the DorothyL mystery-writers' listserv. It's an excellent, nutty study of the Marx Brothers phenomenon, with a style all its own, packed full of studio anecdotes and details on everything from rehearsals to writing to filming. If you're a writer interested in humor (or working in humor), do yourself a favor and find a copy.
Jeff Cohen
Brilliant. The Marx Brothers book a Marx Brother could have written, if he'd wanted to be honest. An assessment of their work and their lives told intelligently and with amazing humor. The funniest non-fiction book I've ever read, and one I can re-read regularly, and often do. I wish I'd written it, but then, I never would have had the chance to read it.
Keith Davis
A great backstage history of the Marx Brothers, focusing mostly on their great early films and not so much on their not so great later films. The author clearly knows his subjects and the book is funny in its own right, not just for the Marx anecdotes and quotes.
This book wasn't sure whether it wanted to be a biography of the Marx Brothers, or a critical analysis of their works, and in the end, didn't really do a complete job of either. This book has some interesting anecdotes, but on the whole, it wasn't much of a standout.
I don't think I've ever had more fun with a Hollywood book. Adamson's sharp wit serves his subjects well. There have been a lot of Marx Brothers books written since this one, but I can't imagine any of them being any better or written with such personality.
Paul Cool
The best analysis of their career I've read. Includes many excerpts from their most brilliant (and funny) routines. Insane!
James M.
One of the best books on the Marx Brothers and their movies. If you are a fan, it is a must read.
Peter H.
Fantastic and witty book about one of the cinema's greatest comedic teams: The Marx Brothers.

Loved the Marxist details.
Got really tired of the author's attempts at humor.
One of the best books on the Marx Brothers I've ever read.
Full of history and humor.
Gary Codding
A zany book about a zany family. A pleasure to read.
Francie Shoemaker
Loads of fun and the author is funny too.
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