The Marx Brothers as Social Critics: Satire and Comic Nihilism in Their Films

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McFarland, Oct 21, 2009 - Performing Arts - 218 pages
The Marx Brothers’ films are packed with slapstick and obvious jokes, gags, puns, pratfalls, and mimicry. But beneath the laughs is a serious and biting condemnation of American culture. This book examines historical events, political practices, economic conditions, manners and customs, literary subjects, and popular entertainment as satirized in the films and considers the ways in which the films were relevant in their era and remain so today.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
1 An Indifferent World
5
The Film Career
15
3 The Writers
27
4 You Can Get Stucco
40
5 Is It Swordfish?
54
6 The SevenCent Nickel
63
7 A Job in the Mint
72
13 Three Hardboiled Eggs
119
14 Ice Water in 318
127
15 The Main Hungerdunger
136
16 Grand Slam
145
17 A Very Strange Interlude
152
18 A Brace of Woodpeckers
164
19 Upside Down
171
20 Whim Wham
174

8 A Standing Army
80
9 Dear Old Ivy
89
10 A Coed with Two Pair of Pants
97
11 The Whole Wig
102
12 Its Toughon My Suspenders
113
Appendix
185
Chapter Notes
189
Bibliography
199
Index
209
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Martin A. Gardner has worked in advertising and as a writer for The Village Voice, House Beautiful, and Art Business News, among other periodicals. He lives in New York.

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