Room Service (1938)

Movie Title: Room Service

Year Released: 1938

Rated: Approved

Runtime: 1h 18min

Genre: Comedy

Director: William A. Seiter

Writer: Morrie Ryskind (Based on the play by John Murray and Allen Boretz)

Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Frank Albertson, Cliff Dunstan, Donald MacBride, Philip Loeb, Philip Wood, Alexander Asro, Charles Halton,

Review: The Marx Bros. are running a cash-strapped theater troupe that not only must outwit the high-strung hotel manager trying to evict them, but they must secure a backer for their new play that's certain to be a sure-fire hit! It's hotel hijinks that can only be ordered up by the Marx Bros. with their unique brand of Room Service.

The Marx Bros. are back, in movie, based on a stage-play, in roles that weren't specifically written for their well known personalities. Room Service definitely stands-out as one of their more straight-forward efforts, but that doesn't mean it not jam-packed with plenty of laughs, slapstick, and double-talk that come naturally to the trio of troublesome tricksters.

The biggest surprise in this classic comedy, besides the "live" turkey that goes on a rampage bit, was seeing television's queen of comedy, Lucille Ball. She's not in this picture enough and plays more of a "straight" part to the Marx Brothers whacky scams and such. Frank Albertson is the playwright that gets thrust into the cash-grab craziness. Ann Miller, who was only 15 at the time, is the love interest. And Donald MacBride is a wonderful comic foil as the hotel's efficiency expert with the ever-elevating blood pressure.

Room Service does feel like a stage play at times, but in the best way possible. High energy, high stakes, and hi-larious laughs are to be had. If you're a fan of the Marx Bros. then you'd better make a call for some quality Room Service.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Lucille Ball, who has a supporting role, would later buy the studio that made this film, RKO Pictures. She and Desi Arnaz purchased it during the height of their success on I Love Lucy and renamed it Desilu Studios.


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