Review: ‘Room Service’

Room Service with the Marx Bros will satisfy on the laugh score. There may be captious ones who'll miss (1) Groucho's standard rasslin' with a femme via-a-vis; (2) Harpo's harp solo; (3) Chico's equally standard pianology. But the Marxes have a more staple story structure upon which to hang their buffoonery.

Room Service with the Marx Bros will satisfy on the laugh score. There may be captious ones who’ll miss (1) Groucho’s standard rasslin’ with a femme via-a-vis; (2) Harpo’s harp solo; (3) Chico’s equally standard pianology. But the Marxes have a more staple story structure upon which to hang their buffoonery.

The minimization of the musical highlights naturally points up Groucho’s comedy all the more. But running a close second is Donald MacBride, from the original George Abbott play production [by John Murray and Allen Boretz] re-creating his role of the bombastic hotel executive. MacBride well nigh steals all of his scenes, adroitly foiled by Cliff Dunstan (also of the Broadway original) as the distrait hotel manager who has permitted the shoestring impresario (Groucho Marx) to camp a stranded troupe of 22 in his hostelry and run up a $1,200 tab.

Frank Albertson is the trusting young playwright from Oswego; Lucille Ball and Ann Miller are virtually walk-throughs as the femme vis-a-vis to Groucho and Albertson.

Room Service

Production

RKO. Director William A. Seiter; Producer [Pandro S. Berman]; Screenplay Morrie Ryskind; Camera J. Roy Hunt; Editor George Crone; Music Roy Webb (dir.); Art Director Van Nest Polglase, Al Herman

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1938. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Groucho Marx Chico Marx Harpo Marx Lucille Ball Ann Miller Frank Albertson

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