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The Marx Brothers: Swordfish Collection (a TM2YC FanEdit series)

TM2YC

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I've been a lifelong Marx Brothers fan (From my earliest memories), owning all their work on DVD imported from the US. I could debate with myself all day about which of their 13 films is the best ('A Day At The Races'?). But I can say with no doubt that most of their films come with certain baggage.

Due to the commercial neccesities of the time and due to the radical nature of their comedy they usually peppered the popular songs of the day throughout the films, to keep people happy. At the time, this formula was boxoffice dynamite but some of these songs have not aged well and I almost always fastforward through them (Other songs are still masterpieces, 'Cosi-Cosa' for example). Also sometimes the plots, subplots and supporting talent isn't up to the match of The Brothers' firecracker humour. Fast forwarding through this material isn't really possible so wouldn't it be wonderful to have a collection of these films with all the killer and none of the filler?

These edits should be a fun diversion for me, from more time consuming and challlenging edits. This 13 film project will be a long time in the making. I'll be editing through their filmography in chronological order...

1 - The Cocoanuts (1929) - Released
2 - Animal Crackers (1930) - Released
3 - Monkey Business (1931)
4 - Horse Feathers (1932)
5 - Duck Soup (1933)
6 - Night at the Opera (1935)
7 - Day at the Races (1937)
8 - Room Service (1938)
9 - At the Circus (1939)
10 - Go West (1940)
11 - The Big Store (1941)
12 - A Night in Casablanca (1946) - Released
13 - Love Happy (1949)
- Released

... starting now with 'The Cocoanuts'. This and their last full movie 'Love Happy' will require the most editing for similar reasons. They both have some of The Brothers' best material but they are both drowning under a weight of subpar musical numbers and boring minor characters. This means I don't watch them as often as I'd like. Of course the 3 films they made between 1933 and 1937 will require only a minimal ammount of editing as the casts are strong, the plots are engaging, the music is sensational and of course the comedy is matchless.

There will be less of this...


...and much more of this...


As I said, I've started with 'The Cocoanuts' but I welcome any suggestions and thoughts for all fourteen films as I plan on having them all under this thread. I'll post a sample video soon.

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... I have others."
 

baileym43

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this is a project i want to follow. my father loves the Marx Bros and he's also got a lot of their films (on vhs. i should probably replace those for him). it would be fun to watch your edits with him. best of luck on this project.
 

TM2YC

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baileym43 said:
this is a project i want to follow. my father loves the Marx Bros and he's also got a lot of their films (on vhs. i should probably replace those for him). it would be fun to watch your edits with him. best of luck on this project.

^ Great, thats good to hear!
 

TM2YC

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Here is the first 5 minutes of The Cocoanuts...


By the end of this clip ^ I've already cut 3 minutes of boring dancing, singing and exposition...
- Sharpened the image throughout (Low-res clip doesn't show this)
- Adjusted the intro-credits to match the framing of the rest of the movie.
- Drastically slimmed down and completely recut the opening "Sunny Florida" montage. All formation exercise routines removed.
- Removed the entire bellboy dance routine

This being one of the earlier sound films the camera work and editing is almost non-existent. So I will largely be unable to make small trims as there is nothing to cut away to! For example, at 3.18 Groucho's gag about mistaking the genders of the bellboys/girls falls totally flat. I'm sure it was a zinger when they toured the live play but should have been cut from the film version. But there is no way to remove it since the whole scene is one take.
 

TM2YC

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Finished up the cover for the first film and the edit will be done soon. Having so much fun with these edits.



^ Click to see full size image.

All covers with follow the same sort of design (Featuring a reconfigured original poster on the front) and will look nice together on a shelf :p
 

Dwight Fry

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Believe it or not, I've toyed with a similar idea. Never looked into it seriously, but I've frequently wondered if the romance subplots the studios imposed into the later Marx Bros movies and which hurt them quite badly, could be removed (the singing and dancing bits didn't bother me too much, though). Either way, I'll follow these edits with great interest.
 

TM2YC

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Dwight Fry said:
I've frequently wondered if the romance subplots the studios imposed into the later Marx Bros movies and which hurt them quite badly, could be removed (the singing and dancing bits didn't bother me too much, though).

You can't remove the romance subplots entirely. I've minimised the romance in The Cocoanuts because the girl is wet and the guy looks like Dracula (Naturally I won't be cutting a frame of Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones later on in the series). But it still needs to be there to give the Bros something to fight for. Alot of the Marx's humour is derived from helping a pair of sweethearts by knocking over a stuffy instituation. It's 3/4 working class Jewish lads cocking a snoop at the pompous upper classes. Humour that was derived from real life, the best ever story about Harpo is from 2 years before The Cocoanuts...

Time: Summer 1927
Place: Montauk, Long Island

Poverty I had never forgotten, and never could. But meanness and stupidity I had been spared for a long time — until I had an unhappy reminder in the early summer of 1927. I made a fishing date with Paul Bonner, a book-collector friend of [Alexander] Woollcott’s, and Pie Traynor, the third baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I said I’d take care of the accommodations. I wired a hotel out in Montauk, Long Island, for reservations.

The hotel wired back: “RESERVATIONS CONFIRMED. TRUST YOU ARE GENTILE.[not Jewish]”


I was sore as hell, but I didn’t bother to wire back. Why should I stir up a fuss and embarrass Bonner and Traynor and ruin the weekend? Better to turn the whole thing into a joke.
So when I entered the Montauk hotel I had my pants rolled above the knees, wore a tam o’ shanter, smoked a pipe, walked with a crooked cane, and signed in as “Harpo MacMarx.” The place was deserted. At dinner we were the only diners. Twenty waitresses stood around watching us eat. I began to feel depressed, and I finally told Bonner and Traynor what the “joke” was. They got sore and insisted we should move to a hotel where nobody cared what anybody’s name was.
That made me feel a lot better. While we were checking out the manager came over to us. I said to him, “Lad, could ye dir-r-rect me to the near-r-rest Jewish temple?” and threw him a Gookie [a goofy tongue-lolling, cheek-puffing, eye-popping, eye-crossing face] and we blew the joint.
From Harpo Speaks!


btw I've cut 16 minutes of dancing and singing from The Cocoanuts. Probably gonna be the biggest edit until I get to their last film 'Love Happy'. Looking forward to rescuing that one as it's actually got some of Harpo's funniest gags and Marilyn Monroe is jaw dropping (In only her 2nd film role).

marx+brothers+love+happy+marilyn+monroe+groucho+1.jpg
 

TM2YC

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DVD-5 uploading now!:)

Here is the finished cut list...


- Tried to cut as much of Bob and Polly's romance and the Diamond necklace subplot as possible. Without removing any of the Brothers.
- Sharpened the image throughout (The print is of a low and variable quality)
- Smoothed out some of the primitive cuts and shots where possible. While still preserving the look of a film from this period.

00.00.00 Added TM2YC and Swordfish idents
00.00.11 Adjusted framing of opening credits to match rest of film
00.01.16 Opening Florida montage heavily reduced and recut (All dancing removed)
00.04.32 Bell boy/girl dance heavily reduced and recut
00.05.04 Start of veranda scene slightly trimmed
00.06.22 Bob and Polly's duet entirely removed
00.07.23 Bob singing as he walks off and some exposition removed
00.07.24 Shot of the Potters flipped so Mrs Potter doesn't magically appear in the next shot
00.08.10 The Potter's exit trimmed and redubbed
00.17.47 Awkward rapid pan removed in favour of a straight cut
00.18.20 End of exposition conversation trimmed
00.28.11 Start of Harpo playing dubbed over Groucho and Mrs Potter scene
00.30.39 Fade to black shortened
00.36.21 Fade to black shortened
00.41.29 Auction establishing shot removed to create a match cut of Chico and Groucho
00.42.13 Polly's singing and dancing heavily reduced and recut
00.43.13 Start of Groucho shot slightly trimmed
00.49.45 Created a proper match cut by removing a few frames of the policeman entering
00.54.04 Cropped Yates out of long shot
00.54.16 Cut Yates comforting Polly and created a match cut to her sobbing alone
00.55.04 Fade to black shortened
00.57.21 Fade to black shortened
01.01.04 Fade to black shortened
01.14.06 Trimmed Polly's entrance
01.14.38 Over-long reaction shots to the map unvailing removed
01.16.09 Added fade from cheering to Polly singing
01.17.24 Trailer for 'Animal Crackers' added to the end

Original Length: 93 minutes
FanEdit Length: 77 minutes
Removed: 16 minutes


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TM2YC

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DVD-5 of THE COCOANUTS is uploaded so PM me if you want to find out more.

btw does anybody have or know where I can get a DVD quality trailer for The Marx's 'Monkey Business'? As it is missing from the 'Silver Screen Collection' and I want to add it to the end of 'Animal Crackers'.

Here it is in terrible quality...


...also I found this fun compilation cut to 'Jungle Boogie' while I was searching...

 

Frantic Canadian

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TM2YC said:
btw does anybody have or know where I can get a DVD quality trailer for The Marx's 'Monkey Business'? As it is missing from the 'Silver Screen Collection' and I want to add it to the end of 'Animal Crackers'.

Which version of the Silver Screen Collection do you have? The original box set, or the more recently released one in a single disc case? Because according to DVD Compare the original box set includes trailers for every film in the box set except for The Cocoanuts.
 

TM2YC

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Frantic Canadian said:
Which version of the Silver Screen Collection do you have? The original box set, or the more recently released one in a single disc case? Because according to DVD Compare the original box set includes trailers for every film in the box set except for The Cocoanuts.

I've got the original American import Region 1 SSC. It comes with trailers for 3 of the films but not 'The Cocoanuts' and 'Monkey Business'. I didn't need the trailer for Cocoanuts, but I need every other trailer.

25192125027_p0_v2_s260x420.jpg


Screenshot from google images showing no trailer listed on the menu...

protectedimage.php
 

TM2YC

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I've finished the cover for Swordfish volume 2 (Animal Crackers)...



^ Click to see fullsize image.

The edit is done (Only 4 minutes removed this time). Annoyingly I've just noticed that 3 frames have been added or subtracted from every cut in the timeline. It's halfway through rendering so I'm hoping this wierd glitch won't be present. It defies explanation... maybe it was aliens (Or left-handed moths).:mad:

Here is one of my favourite clips from this comic masterpiece...

 

TM2YC

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Nope! Missing frames glitch was there when it rendered, on every single edit. But guess what, I fixed it in the timeline then reloaded and it had reappeared in the timeline. I imported the glitched video back into the timeline and cut out missing gaps, reloaded... still there. Opened a fresh project, imported the glitched vid file, fixed it, reloaded... STILL THERE!

Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!!

WhyGodWhy.jpg
 

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What are you going to do about the damaged section of "Horse Feathers"? I was very disappointed, when I bought the "Silver Screen Edition" box set, to see the condition of that section of that film. I guess I had videotaped that film from TV back in the late '70s or early '80s (when it was shown regularly on PBS) and the damage was minimal then. I looked around for my videotape, but haven't been able to find it. I wonder what earlier-released videocassettes and/or the LaserDisc are like?
 

TM2YC

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slark said:
What are you going to do about the damaged section of "Horse Feathers"? I was very disappointed, when I bought the "Silver Screen Edition" box set, to see the condition of that section of that film. I guess I had videotaped that film from TV back in the late '70s or early '80s (when it was shown regularly on PBS) and the damage was minimal then. I looked around for my videotape, but haven't been able to find it. I wonder what earlier-released videocassettes and/or the LaserDisc are like?

I don't recall an especially damaged section in 'Horsefeathers'. The first few films show a lot of wear and tear generally. I'll see when I get there. But there is probably little I can do unless anybody can point me in the direction of a superior source.

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Dwight Fry

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TM2YC said:
Nope! Missing frames glitch was there when it rendered, on every single edit. But guess what, I fixed it in the timeline then reloaded and it had reappeared in the timeline. I imported the glitched video back into the timeline and cut out missing gaps, reloaded... still there. Opened a fresh project, imported the glitched vid file, fixed it, reloaded... STILL THERE!

Aaaarrrrggghhh!!!!!

WhyGodWhy.jpg

Sorry to hear. But I hope you decide to do it right, even if it means starting it over, instead of going the easy "f*** it, I'll leave it like this" route.
 

TM2YC

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Dwight Fry said:
Sorry to hear. But I hope you decide to do it right, even if it means starting it over, instead of going the easy "f*** it, I'll leave it like this" route.

I wish! No I've started over on 'Animal Crackers' ;-(

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