"O JOY!"IS NOT THE UNIVERSAL response to the idea of a sofa, a bag of toffees, a long weekend and six Marx Brothers movies to sit through. Inexplicably, there are those whose funny bones are immune to the work of Groucho, Harpo and the rest of the crew. When it comes to the Marx brand of sideways lunacy, seems you either get it or you don't. This latest DVD set gathers up A Day At The Races, A Night At The Opera, At The Circus, Go West, The Big Store and A Night In Casablanca.

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The Marx Brothers Collection

“O JOY!”IS NOT THE UNIVERSAL response to the idea of a sofa, a bag of toffees, a long weekend and six Marx Brothers movies to sit through. Inexplicably, there are those whose funny bones are immune to the work of Groucho, Harpo and the rest of the crew. When it comes to the Marx brand of sideways lunacy, seems you either get it or you don’t.

This latest DVD set gathers up A Day At The Races, A Night At The Opera, At The Circus, Go West, The Big Store and A Night In Casablanca. So the first thing to be said about it is that it’s not first-chop Marx, those being the seven near-perfect comedies the brothers made for Paramount between 1929 and 1933, which included immortals like Animal Crackers and Duck Soup. They lost some of their anarchic panache on their move to MGM and thereafter tended to overdose on romantic subplots and lavish musical set-pieces. They never stopped being funny, though.

And the main selling point of this new collection is that these movies lack the familiarity of their most celebrated work and can therefore be relied upon to take the viewer by ambush.

Opera’s the prize jewel here, complete with the Groucho-Chico contract squabble that you’d defy anyone not to burst a blood vessel to. Though Harpo attempting to turn a piano into a harp in Races runs it pretty close. All in all, if you’re the sort of person who fills his/her trousers with mirth at the very thought of the Marx Brothers, then this set should send you giddy. On with the funny moustache and away you go.