Harpo Marx

silent running drones

If you’re going to see Despicable Me 2 this weekend, there’s a good chance it’s because either you or your children mostly want to see the Minions. Who cares about Gru and the human children let alone whatever the plot is this time around when those little yellow blobs are running around causing trouble? This is just a hurdle until the spin-off movie that’s centered just on the Minions comes out next year. Why do we love them so much? Movies.com writer Perri Nemiroff gave a few likeminded reasons earlier this week, comparing them to pets and plush toys come to life. She also notes that their gibberish is always “immensely more entertaining than any line of human dialogue.” The lack of intelligible dialogue is the reason I believe they’re so popular, combined with their slapstick antics. They’re Keystone henchmen, basically, characters that continue the tradition of silent comedy well into the era of sound cinema. In fact, they are cinema, almost purely visual treats (without their gibberish and occasional English word they would still be as funny). They’re reportedly modeled after the Jawas from Star Wars and the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while Steve Carrell (the voice of Gru) believes the Minions “are as close to a modern day version of the Marx Brothers as I’ve seen.” One of the Marx Brothers in particular, for me. Harpo was one of the earliest figures in film to maintain the tradition of the dumbshow pantomime once […]

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we close out the 2011 season of the show with a long-form interview with Bill Marx about his father Harpo and the rest of the Marx Brothers. The musician and film scorer shares his memories of the most famous harp player this side of King David, a legend of comedy, and one hell of a great human being. Download This Episode

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Your weekly fix of great movies made before you were born that you should check out before you die. This week’s Old Ass Movies celebrates the nonsense of the best American comedians of all time. Groucho, Harpo and Chico move in on Bogart’s territory by setting up camp at a hotel in Casablanca, mocking Nazis, playing with a toupee, and remembering to set their watches.

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oam-ducksoup

War! Politics! Insults! Absurdity! The greatest comedy group of all time makes their funniest movie.

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