Friday, October 2, 2009

Uncut "Night at the Opera" discovered! Can "Humor Risk" be far behind?

The ever-excellent Jennifer, normally to be found holding court at Flappers and Flickers and Silent Stanzas, brings me the momentous news that the uncut and free-to-make-references-to-Italy version of A Night at the Opera has finally been found - and right where I always thought it would be.
Follow the link to read the full story, and then petition MGM or Warners or whoever the hell it is that owns the rights to put out a new DVD featuring both versions.
And happy birthday, Groucho!
Stop Press 15/11/9:
Original council member and all-round good egg Eugene Conniff has brilliantly celebrated the find in splendid illustrated form over at his blog The Poison From My Brain.
I cannot recommend it highly enough, and my only question is what you're still doing here, trying to decipher the miniscule text on my reproduction, when all you have to do is click on the link and there it'll be, all big and colourful.


Avalon76 said...

Whilst that article hasn't appeared anywhere else yet, I did find further info about another Marx Brothers found gem:

Animal Crackers Color Footage Found

Lolita said...

Oh my God! Come back soon and write about it!

Lolita said...

That color sequence is awesome! It has been around for some time, though. It's fun to see Harpo without his wig and in a bath robe!

Avalon76 said...

I'm new to all this stuff. *laughs* Pretty exciting!

Matthew, have a great trip! ^_^

Mikael said...

Scott Marks at Emulsion Compulsion has interviewed Thomas Racz about his find (, but apart from that there has been virtually no big fuss about this at all.

After Thomas contacted me and I put the stuff on my site, I've also tried to spread the news via platforms like alt.comedy.marx-bros and Marxonians whose contact info I happened to have (guys like like Paul Wesolowski, Joe Adamson etc), but still nothing more has happened.

Both me and Thomas expected a DVD-release of a restored A Night At The Opera, which I think would sell pretty well world-wide (even if not all scenes that were cut have been found).

I would also like to see a similar search through national film archives everywhere. Who knows what might be waiting to be found?

/Mikael @ Marxology

Damian said...

Great story, Now all we need to find is the end scene of Horsefeathers where the college is burning!

Lolita said...

I've given you the Kreativ Blogger award! Read more here! Love //Lolita

Econniff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Econniff said...

(Fixed terrible spelling)
This is such a cool news story! I love the Marx Brothers, so I decided to recreate this lost scene in comic form:



Skinny Arbuckle said...

sort of off topic:
i taught a 3 week class recently to a group of 20 beginning actors. Most of them had been through school, but were new to the industry. 20 somethings in age, mostly.

i sent them all youtube links of THE MARX BROS. and THELMA TODD and told them to study the comedy and get to know these legendary performers, who's archetypes all still exist in film and television, but are rarely performed as well today.

Matthew Coniam said...

How did it go down?

Azz said...

I'm new to the forum and love it!

I'm a 30 year old Marx Bros fan, not many of them about.

This is a non-story. If any Marx Brother's fan come across a print of A Night At The Opera that effectively nobody had seen before, they would have sold their house to watch it! It's a bit like getting a tip on a horse that's guaranteed to win and not having the money to place a bet. Why would you watch a third of the film because it cost the price of buying the DVD? If I was in Hungary, I would've taken my wallet out, set up the video camera, bribed the officials and put everything on Sun Up!

Thomas Rácz said...

Dear Azz,

I'm a 20 year old Marx Bros. fan and also the person who has actually discovered this I have to say that the situation is not that easy. There is a lot of legal issues we have to consider, and the people at the archives were helpful, but they are afraid of the copright comittee which has the power to fine them or shut them down. I am doing the best I can, and believe me, it is a matter of time that the print will be out, and be seen by the public. So please don't doubt things because I can also show you proof.

Hail Freedonia!

Thomas Rácz

Boredoftheflies said...

Just wanted to leave some general praise: your blog rules!
You may disagree with my views on the films, but I thought you'd be interested to see that I too enjoyed that Christmas Marx season on BBC2:

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Matthew Coniam said...

Your blog is superb - exactly what I'm looking for to fill out my blogroll over at Eccentrica Britannica. As soon as I get back from me wedding I will do so. (Or sooner if a spare minute presents itself.)
In the meantime, thanks for doing my old heart good by providing another tangible link to that Christmas '83 experience, and chalk yourself up a new regular reader.
Incidentally, I'll be reissuing my 'pointlessly watching the films at the original times Christmas challenge' this year, after a very impressive turnout of nobody whatsoever giving a toss last year. I'm hoping to build on that this time. Are you up for it?

Ginger Ingenue said...

I agree with Damian (above)...I just recently saw a photograph of the Boys playing poker outside the burning college, from HORSE FEATHERS, and thought, "What freakin' scene is that?!"

I had no idea...was it lost or just cut, or cut then lost??

Maybe it was eaten by a left-handed moth!

-- I bet you get sick of people making Marx-borne jokes around here, huh? ;)

Well, anyway...I just now noticed the post date on this one; well over a year old.

Any news on the subject?? I'd love to see a restored version of A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, too. And HUMOR RISK. And the secret, lost, better-version of LOVE HAPPY. And AT THE CIRCUS without the song Two Blind Loves.

But I can't have everything, I hope.

Matthew Coniam said...

It was lost, then cut, to cover up the fact they'd lost it.
Maybe if we cut it, they said, nobody will notice that we lost it. But then they went and lost their scissors so they couldn't cut it either. In the end they were forced to shoot that new bit, where they all got married at the same time. The reason why the main figure never shows his face is because they lost Zeppo at around the same time. (The man calling himself Zeppo in Duck Soup is really Groucho in disguise. The story goes that often Groucho would stand in for Zeppo on stage, and nobody ever noticed. Ironically, it is often said that off-stage Groucho was the least funny member of the team, but never got a chance to show this on film because it was decided that one straight man was enough. That's why Chico stops being funny when Zeppo leaves. A vacancy opened, and Chico leapt in while Groucho was busy being funny. Though he does try his hardest not to be funny in Go West and The Big Store and, in fairness to him, succeeds for long stretches.)
I don't think there's much chance of the uncut Opera being released for as long as it remains in Hungary. Nothing ever escapes from Hungary.
As for Two Blind Loves, I have to say I like the bit where he puts a doughnut on her finger. I think it's the only time I've ever seen anyone do that in a movie.

Great to see you back in these parts, Ginger. I always like to imagine you looking in.
Please continue to quote the Brothers as often as possible.

Azz said...

It's been nearly 3 years since Thomas found this different version of Opera and no new news (that's hard to say!). Surely there are Marx fans of greater means than me (pretty much all of them) who could get a cheap flight to Hungary and watch the whole thing (with concealed HD camera). If not I suggest you start a fund and we'll send you as our intrepid representative (whatever intrepid means) to verify its existence!