The Cocoanuts (1929) Director: Robert Florey and Joseph Santley
As the first feature length Marx Brothers film, The Cocoanuts is a wonderful film filled with classic Groucho zingers and absurd mockery of status quo aristocratic culture. Groucho plays a character named Mr. Hammer runs a hotel in Florida called the Hotel de Cocoanut, as the land boom of the 1920s was taking place. His preference is to sleep on the job until Harp and Chico arrive with empty suitcases, ready to rob unsuspecting clientele. Mrs. Potter is played by Molly Dumont who was featured in seven later Marx Brothers films. Her daughter is in love with a struggling architect who is blamed for stealing a diamond of Mrs. Potter’s, though her preferred suitor is blamed.
As with other Marx Brothers films, the plot, location, and character have little to do with the film. The scenery exists merely to set the stage for the chaotic and anarchic gags of the Marx Brothers. This adds a kind of timeless quality to their films.
While not their greatest film, The Cocoanuts is a terrific film and demonstrates why the Marx Brothers are one of the greatest comedic groups of all time.