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Episodes

Episode 165: A Night At the Opera (1935)

maverickEpisode 165: The second in our classic comedy pairing of Marx Brothers films advances the timeline two years (and one studio) in 1935's "A Night At the Opera!" Directed by Sam Wood, and ghost-directed by Edmund Goulding (of "Nightmare Alley" fame, see Episode 162), this film was the first to feature only Groucho, Chico, and Harpo, since Zeppo had decided to leave acting for a more lucrative career as an agent. In his place, as the romantic lead, Allan Jones plays a chorus tenor in the Opera, madly in love with Kitty Carlisle's Rosa (she returns his love as well). Attempting to get between the lovers is Walter Woolf King, playing the selfish and arrogant Rudolfo Lassparri. Add to this Sig Ruman's wonderful Herman Gottlieb, the head of the New York Opera Company. Add to this story some of the funniest may have the best Groucho-Margaret Dumont interplay, and you have an operatic comedy like no other! This one is Jeff's favorite! Plus, the trio discuss their first public appearance at Michigan ComicCon (August 16-18), as well as what two supernatural action-comedies they'll be reviewing life from their booth (#663)!



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Episode 164: Duck Soup (1933)

maverickEpisode 164: This week it's the first classic comedy film in our Marx Brothers pairing! We go back to 1933 and the surreal romp known as "Duck Soup!" Directed by Leo McCarey and starring the fab-foursome of comedy, Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo Marx, the film also features Raquel Torres, Louis Calhern, and the woman who became the perfect foil to Groucho's charms every... single... time... the wonderful Margaret Dumont! The story follows Otis P. Driftwood (Groucho) who becomes the leader of a small country called Freedonia. Inevitably, they end up at war with a neighboring country, although the hijinks that get them there are ingenius. While a bit short on plot, this film isn't short on laughs, or music (although not in the traditional Marx-Brothers-way), and shows off some of the best interplay between Grouch and Margaret Dumont in any film! This one is Buddy's favorite!



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Episode 163: Weird Science (1985)

maverickEpisode 163: The second film in our pairing around the title of "Geek" as suggested by listner Bill Mukalian, we move up 38 years from the last film and look at what "geek" meant in the 80s with the John Hughes film "Weird Science!" Written (in only two days) and directed by Hughes, the film stars Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton, Syzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson, Robert Downey Jr. Robert Rusler, Vernon Wells, and Britt Leach! This is an 80s sex-comedy take on the Frankenstein story, with two hapless computer geeks accidentally creating a demi-goddess (named Lisa) who decides to, instead of being the sex-toy the boys intended her to be, turn the lads into something vaguely resembling decent young adults. The film is hectic, total fantasy, and features a very well-known title song by Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo! Plus the trio discuss which two classic comedies (both by the same comic team) they'll be pairing together for the next two episodes!



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Episode 162: Nightmare Alley (1947)

maverickEpisode 162: The first in our pairings focusing on the meanings of the word "Geek," as suggested by listener Bill Mukalian, we head back to 1947 and Tyrone Power's attempt to break out of his romance/adventure leading-man status in the film noir classic "Nightmare Alley!" Directed by Edmund Goulding and co-starring Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray, Helen Walker, Taylor Holmes, Mike Mazurki, and Ian Keith, this is the story of circus pitch-man turned big-time mentalist (i.e. con-man) Stantaon 'Stan' Carlisle as he discoveres what he thinks is a road to riches, only to reach too high and fall spectacularly! This is a film noir, however, so it's full of twists and turns, a truly sinister femme fatale, and a twist near the end that has viewers and critics split on what actually happens in the film! Although not a hit when it came out (because audience's weren't ready to see Tyrone Power as a bad guy), it has since become a staple of the film noir genre!



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Episode 161: Maverick (1994)

maverickEpisode 161: The second film in our "Movies that didn't suck, based on TV shows" pairing is arguably one of the best comedy westerns to come along since Blazing Saddles. Based on a TV show that ran from 1957 to 1962, this film also features a lead actor from the original program, 1994's "Maverick!" Directed by the great Richard Donner, and written by the fantastic William Goldman, this version stars Mel Gibson as the titular character Bret Maverick, and co-stars Jodie Foster and James Garner (the original Bret Maverick). The supporting cast includes the incredible Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Dub Taylor, Geoffrey Lewis, Denver Pyle, and so very many cameos it would take far too long to mention them here (but they're mentioned in the episode, never fear)! The story follows Bret Maverick as he endeavors to collect the last $3,000 he needs to enter a poker tournament whose prize is a cool half a million dollars! Of course, nothing is easy, and wonderful entertainment ensues. This film also features a representation of Native Americans seldom seen on-screen, and almost never seen in a western! Plus, the trio take another listener suggestion for the next pairing, focusing on the definition of a "geek!"



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