Review: ‘The Big Store’

A large department store serves as background for this display of familiar Marxian comedy, the final film appearance of Groucho, Chico and Harpo as a combo [from a screen story by Nat Perrin].

A large department store serves as background for this display of familiar Marxian comedy, the final film appearance of Groucho, Chico and Harpo as a combo [from a screen story by Nat Perrin].

Groucho gets a job as bodyguard-detective for Tony Martin, co-owner of the store, when manager Douglass Dumbrille tries to get Martin out of the way. The freres Marx then proceed to romp through the store in their usual slaphappy manner, taking advantage of the numerous props available for comedy purposes. There’s the ususal chase through the aisles at the finish which catches plenty of laughs with its speedy display of ribald Sennettian knockabout slapstick.

Martin is okay in the straight role, delivering his vocal assignments satisfactorily. Others in support include Margaret Dumont, who continues as femme foil for Groucho’s amorous approaches.

Direction by Charles Riesner takes advantage of every opportunity for basic slapstick – the broader the better. Harp solo by Harpo, staged between mirrors to obtain unusual effects both musically and comedically, is most original.

The Big Store

Production

M-G-M. Director Charles Riesner; Producer Louis K. Sidney; Screenplay Sid Kuller, Hal Fimberg, Ray Golden; Camera Charles Lawton; Editor Conrad A. Nervig; Music Georgie Stoll (dir.), Earl Brent (adapt.); Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Stan Rogers

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Groucho Marx Chico Marx Harpo Marx Tony Martin Virginia Grey Margaret Dumont
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