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The Essential Groucho: Writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx
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The Essential Groucho: Writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  322 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Groucho Marx may be the funniest man who ever lived. Here in one volume are the classics of Marxian mayhem: excerpts from the scripts of the immortal movies, passages from his books, his articles for magazines ranging from The New Yorker to the Saturday Evening Post, the choicest ad-libs and quips from his long-running game show, You Bet Your Life, and selected letters, in ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published June 13th 2000 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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Jon
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
includes the best of the movie monologues. Including my fave from "Duck Soup" :

Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency. We've been expecting you. As chairwoman of the reception committee, I extend the wishes of every man, woman, and child of Freedonia. [Notice the continuity error: Firefly's coat has changed from a formal black tuxedo coat with tails, to a gray coat with black edging.]
Firefly: Never mind that stuff. Take a card.
Mrs. Teasdale: Card? What will I do with the card?
Firefly: You can keep i
...more
Bruce
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of comedy, humor, Marx brothers, absurd wordplay
“Now, here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.”

“Why a duck? … Why-a-no-chicken?”

“I don’t know why-a-no-chicken…. All I know is that it’s a viaduct. You try to cross over there a chicken, and you’ll find out why a duck. It’s deep water, that’s viaduct.” (p. 17)
That’s a famous routine from the Marx Brothers play-cum-film, “The Cocoanuts,” and if that kind of wordplay’s over your head, you’ll hate this short anthology. This is wild, antic stuff, excerpts of th
...more
David
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with a funny bone
There's a brief introduction by Groucho's biographer, Stefan Kanfer, a couple of Time magazine articles about Groucho, then the rest of the material is by the man himself. A kind of "greatest hits" volume. So you know it's guaranteed to be funny. It includes favorite scenes from "Animal Crackers", "Monkey Business", "Horse Feathers", "Duck Soup", "A Night at the Opera", and "A Day at the Races", among other films. There are some freelance articles, as well as selected material culled from his ap ...more
The Book Nazi
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A penguin is only a duck in a monkey suit".

Groucho Marx was full of one liners! Many of his one liners are quoted today by almost anyone, sometimes unknowingly.

While preparing to film a movie entitled A Night in Casablanca, the Marx brothers received a letter from Warner Bros. threatening legal action if they did not change the film’s title. Warner Bros. deemed the film’s title too similar to their own ''Casablanca'', released almost five years earlier in 1942, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid
...more
Erika
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining collection of scripts, letters, stories, quotes and anecdotes by, for and about Groucho Marx.

There's a little biographical information sprinkled in among the gags and witticisms, but this is largely letting Groucho speak for himself. Scenes from "Duck Soup" and "At the Races" are lifted in one chapter. Another uses Groucho's personal and public correspondence. A third curates quotes and out-takes from "you bet your life." There's one for his time on radio as well.

At no point is
...more
Stephanie
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ry
I am really loving this one so far.
I loved this book! I need to get my hands on some Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel recordings! The Marx Bros. are one of my favs and I appreciated their comedic style on an entirely different level by reading excerpts of their movies rather than listening to them. Their timing was genius and Groucho's ad-libbing essential. I especially enjoyed the sections on Groucho's correspondence with T.S. Eliot and his freelancing work. I'm really looking forward to reading
...more
Matt
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of the Marx Brothers, and especially Groucho Marx. When I was fairly young, our library screened classic movies and my dad, in a display of fantastic parental instinct, dragged me along for all the Hitchcock and Marx Brothers films. The absurdity, the cravenness, the wit--I loved it all. So the five stars for this collection should be understood in that context. I make no attempt at an objective rating here. This was a fantastic collection of scripts, essays by and about Groucho, and ...more
Becky Haslam
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of scripts, letters and articles is perfect for someone who is familiar with the Marx Brother's films and wants to find out a bit more about the man behind the moustache. Everything included here shines with Groucho's eloquence and wit and most of it is an absolute joy to read. The only thing that falls a little short are the extracts from You Bet Your Life, purely because they are presented with little context or structure. This book is a must read for fans of Groucho or indeed, ...more
Maurya
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Far better than expected. My previous experience with a similar collection was Woody Allen's and it was nowhere as humorous as his on-screen persona. I'd expected a similar let-down in this book, but fortunately my apprehensions proved unfounded :) Though nothing can really match up to that half-sleazy half-spiteful dialogue delivery, his prose comes pretty close.
Leonard Pierce
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
The quotes from movies are pretty worthless, but the real finds here are huge collections of his various letters. There's a nice historical perspective at play here, too, since it was written recently enough to really analyze Groucho's historical impact.
Natasha
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book too blah. The humor is present but I did not get the same effect as I would perhaps watching some of the clips. Humor is somewhat outdated. I did find some lines that tickled me but overall it was tedious to get through.
Tlingit
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Read "Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx" by Stefan Kanfer first if you want an in depth look at Groucho. This book has the same information but just selections of the other book. Read this book if you are only interested in Groucho's comedy.
Jason
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I finished this book in one day.
It's fascinating and hilarious.
Highly recommended!!
Chris
Dec 16, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm as much of a Groucho fan as anyone, but it loses quite a lot on the page. Couldn't finish this one.
John Winkworth
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-book
I guess I like the idea of Groucho more than what I find when I read his stuff. Hope doesn't always win over experience.
Rick Vickers
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Even though most of the jokes and routines discribed are well over 50 years old they still had me laughing out loud while reading.
Vanlilith
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
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Jude Brigley
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love it.
Bimus
Sep 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the curious fan
Nice little collection of writings by Groucho as well as highlights from his movies. Not a history of the man but there are some delightful historic memories he's put to paper.
Sarah
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
If ever there was a book that should exist as an audiobook, this is it.
Gloria DeWeese
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
this is the funniest book!
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Jul 28, 2007
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Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx, was an American comedian and film star. He is famed as a master of wit. He made 15 feature films with his siblings, the Marx Brothers, and also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show, You Bet Your Life. He had a distinctive image, which included a heavy greasepaint moustache and eyebrows, and glasses.

More about Groucho Marx...
“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” 35414 likes
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.” 1028 likes
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