“A Night in Casablanca” (German: “Eine Nacht in Casablanca“) is the twelfth joint film of the legendary Marx Brothers and a parody of the film “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman from 1942. UCM.ONE releases this film with “The Marx Bros. – A Night in Casablanca” on the label M-Square Classics for the first time in…
“A Night in Casablanca” (German: “Eine Nacht in Casablanca“) is the twelfth joint film of the legendary Marx Brothers and a parody of the film “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman from 1942. UCM.ONE releases this film with the English title: “A Night in Casablanca” on the label M-Square Classics for the first time in HD scanned and restored as a limited media book with DVD and Blu-Ray together with a 16-page booklet in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Morocco during the Second World War: The German army (“Wehrmacht”) has deposited stolen valuable art objects in a secret mezzanine of a hotel. Count Pfefferman alias Heinrich Stubel, his assistant Kurt and his lover Beatrice Rheiner are now trying to get them out of the country. To this end, they murder the managers of the hotel in the hope that Count Pfefferman will be appointed manager. Unfortunately, Ronald Hühnerpuster (Groucho Marx) is hired as manager. Now they also try to get him out of the way. But finally, together with Rusty (Harpo Marx) and Corbaccio (Chico Marx), he finds out where the works of art are hidden in the hotel. They now do everything they can to prevent them from getting out of the country and the villains from getting behind bars.
About director Archie Mayo:
Archibald L. „Archie“ Mayo – born on 29 January 1891 in New York – began his career first as a stage actor and gag writer before he went to Hollywood in his early twenties and made his directing debut in 1917 with his first short film “A Nurse of an Aching Heart“. Until the middle of the 1920s Mayo made several short movies especially for the Christie Studios, his first feature “Money Talks” he shot in 1926 with Claire Windsor and Owen Moore in the leading roles. His other movies between 1927 and 1937 were made almost exclusively in cooperation with Warner Brothers. Here he made movies with well-known faces like Kay Francis, James Cagney and Barbara Stanwyck. He quickly gained the reputation to be an efficient director who didn’t focus on himself but on his leading actors and tailored movies and roles to them.
The thriller „The Petrified Forest“ from 1936 is one of his most famous movies. The leading roles were played by the film legends Bette Davis, Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart. In the 1940’s he concentrated more on comedies and had great success with “Charly’s Aunt” (1941) and “A Night in Casablanca” (1946), the penultimate movie of the Marx Brothers. After his last appearance as a director, the fantasy movie “Angel on My Shoulder“, he retired from the film business in 1946. He spent the last years of his life together with his wife Barbara Lane until he died of cancer in 1968 at the age of 77 in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was buried on the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and his work as a director, which amounts to 89 movies, was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame.
Anecdote about the film:
It was a thorn in the side of the big Hollywood studio Warner Brothers that the Marx Brothers took the big hit “Casablanca” as a model, obviously satirized it and used the city name “Casablanca” in the title. So they threatened to sue the Marx Brothers if they didn’t change the title. Groucho Marx responded to the threat: “Then we’ll sue you, too, because you use the term Brothers in the studio name, we were already brothers when you weren’t even there yet”.
Die Marx Brothers – blooming nonsense!
When you think of comedy in film, there are some names that have burned themselves into the memory of film culture forever. Whether Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin or the bizarre Monty Pythons, they all went down in film history. This series also includes Leonard, Adolph, Julius, Milton and Herbert Marx, alias the Marx Brothers: Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo and Zeppo.
The brothers grew up in a poor family in New York’s Upper Eastside. Their mother Miene came from Friesland, their father from Alsace. They inherited their mother‘s, a harpist, musical talent, her father had been a ventriloquist. The mother therefore encouraged her sons’ artistic education at an early age, with Harpo in particular standing out and mastering six instruments in the course of his life. He owed his nickname “Harpo” to his love for the harp. Chicos instrument of choice was the piano, Zeppo sang, while Groucho both sang and played guitar. They made their first appearances in Vaudeville, inspired by their uncle Albert Schönberg, who was famous as one half of the duo Gallagher and Shean. Groucho made his debut as a singer in 1905 and founded the trio “The Three Nightingales” with his brother Gummo and Mabel O’Donell in 1907. One year later Harpo expanded the trio to a quartet and finally formed, together with their mother and their aunt Hannah, the “Six Mascots“.
„If things get too much for you and you feel the whole world’s against you, go stand on your head. If you can think of anything crazier to do, do it.“ (Harpo Marx)
Original title: A Night in Casablanca
Director: Archie Mayo
Screenplay: Joseph Fields, Roland Kibbee, Frank Tashlin
Actor & actresses: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Charles Drake, Lois Collier, Sig Ruman, Lisette Verea, Lewis L. Russell, Dan Seymour, Frederick Giermann, Harro Meller, David Hoffman, Paul Harvey, Alex Ball, Edward Biby, Eugene Borden, Nick Borgani, James Conaty, Mary Dees, Joe Dominguez, Nestor Eristoff, Adolph Faylauer, Kenneth Gibson, Herschel Graham, Stuart Hall, Art Howard, Mike Lally, Ethelreda Leopold, Wilbur Mack, Harold Miller, Sol Murgi, Paul Ravel, Waclaw Rekwart, Suzanne Ridgway, Ruth Roman, Harry Semels, Sammy Shack, Stephen Soldi, Larry Steers, Count Stefenelli, Arthur Tovey, Philip Van Zandt, Bob Whitney
Producer: David L. Loew
Cinematography: James Van Trees
Sound: Frank Webster
Cutting: Gregg G. Tallas, Grace Baughman
Specal Effects: Harry Redmond Jr.
Kostüme Design: Eva Gord
Makeup: Otis Malcolm, Scotty Rackin
Music: Werner Janssen (eingespielt mit dem “Janssen Symphony Orchester von Los Angeles”)
Production company: Loma Vista Productions
Year of production: 1946
Genre: Crine, Comedy
Languages: English, German, French
Length: 85 Min
Rating: FSK 6
Aspect ratio: 1.37 : 1
Sound: Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color: black & white
German: Eine Nacht mit Beatrice (Austria)
German: Eine Nacht in Casablanca (East Germany)
French: Une nuit à Casablanca
Spanish: Una noche en Casablanca
Portuguese: Uma Noite em Casablanca
Russian: Ночь в Касабланке
Premiere: May 16, 1946 (Chicago, USA)
Start USA: August 10, 1946 (New York, USA)
Start France: April 09, 1947
Start Germany: September 09, 1977 (West Germany)
Media book start (Blu-Ray & DVD) Germany: November 29, 2019
VoD start Germany: November 29, 2019
The donkey gave the impuls
It is often curious coincidences that get the ball rolling, and in the case of the Marx Brothers, this ball was a run-away donkey. At a concert in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1912 – or in Ada, Oklahoma, or in Marshall, Texas? – the evening was suddenly interrupted by screams and riots on the streets. The audience hurried out of the hall to get to the bottom of the cause. It was an escaped donkey that rampaged the streets of the small town. After the audience had returned to the concert hall, Groucho gave vent to his displeasure at the interruption through sharp comments (“The donkey is the state flower of Tex-arse…”). The audience, however, did not get angry, they burst out laughing and so the suspicion grew that the brothers had comedic potential. They extended their musical program with comedic interludes and slowly worked out their typical style: Groucho wore the typical moustache, Harpo didn’t speak a word on stage anymore, Chico got an Italian accent and Zeppo took over the role of the goodie two shoes. By the early 1920s, the Marx Brothers were among the most popular stage teams in the United States, and their satirical view of high society was particularly popular with audiences. Finally Chico took over the management of the troupe and they became celebrated stars on Broadway.
And so, at a time when the movies were learning to speak, the film studios slowly became aware of the brothers. Paramount Pictures signed them in New York. Their first movies “The Cocoanuts” (1929) and “Animal Crackers” (1930) were adaptations of her Broadway plays of the same name. Afterwards they went to Hollywood where they made their third movie “Monkey Business” in 1931. One year later they made one of their most popular movies to date: “Horse Feathers” was a satire about the American education system and prohibition. Their last movie at Paramount “Duck Soup” (1933) is today generally regarded as the best movie of the brothers. Although it remained behind “Horse Feathers” at the box office, it took sixth place in the cinema rankings of 1933.
The contract with Paramount had expired and Zeppo initially left the troop to work as an agent. Together with his brother Gummo he established one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood. Groucho and Chico went to the radio and considered returning to Broadway, but a contract with MGM was offered. Here producer Irving Thalberg insisted on giving the brothers’ films more substance and structure, so their comic characters were woven into romantic and non-comic stories. “A Night at the Opera” (1935) was her first collaboration with MGM and became a great success. Also “A Day at the Races” (1937) was a great box office hit and so RKO borrowed the brothers in 1938 for “Room Service“. There followed three more movies at MGM which were all very successful. At this time the brothers announced that they wanted to retire from the screen, but Chico was able to persuade his brothers to do two last joint appearances in the mid-1940s: Their penultimate movie, “A Night in Casablanca” was made in 1946 by Loma Vista Productions under the direction of Archie Mayo, and one last time the team could be seen on the screen in 1949 in “Love Happy“.
Honoured in the Motion Picture Hall of Fame, awarded with Honorary Oscars, included in the top 20 American Male Screen Legends, they are still today – according to the motto: “Time flies like an arrow, fruit like a banana” – among the greatest sources of inspiration for modern comedians, and echoes of their bizarre comedy can be found in comedy giants such as Woody Allen, John Cleese or Mel Brooks. But as Groucho Marx said: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”.
The Marx Bros. – A Night in Casablanca | Trailer (German)
“…the diffuse story, which doesn’t leave the cult film “Casablanca” undamaged, gives the brothers’ imagination a lot of leeway.” (Adolf Heinzlmeier and Berndt Schulz in the encyclopedia “Films on Television“)
“Today the world is a little happier, because the Marx Brothers are back in the cinema.” (The New York Times, 12 August 1946)
“In this penultimate Marx Brothers movie there are a lot of great jokes” (Rinkworks.com)
“The comedian trio and director Archie L. Mayo have succeeded in creating one of those turbulent comedies, whose countless jokes one would like to tell immediately. But they elude narrative, because even the dialogue jokes are inseparably linked to the three characters, their gestures and their experiences; they move at such a rapid pace that it becomes clear that they fear the moment of calm in which they should come to their senses.” (film-dienst 20/1977)
“Late work by the Marx Brothers, which may not be able to keep up with their best films, but whose ludicrous story nevertheless provides a perfect background for a virtuoso firework of gags and a multitude of unforgettable absurdities.” (kino.de)
Equipment and technical data of the media book
Movie in the original version, 16-page booklet | Picture format: DVD full screen 1.37:1 (original format); Blu-Ray WS 1.37:1 / 1080p 23,976 (original format) | Total runtime Blu-Ray 85 Min, DVD 81 Min | Sound format DVD: German DD 2.0 mono, English DD 2.0 mono; Blu-Ray: German DTS- HD Master Audio 2.0 mono, English DTS- HD Master Audio 2.0 mono | FSK 6