AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Horse Feathers
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Aug 1932
Duration (in mins):  68
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Cast: Groucho Marx  (Professor [Quincy Adams] Wagstaff)
  Harpo Marx  (Pinky)
  Chico Marx  (Baravelli)

Summary: Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff takes over as president of Huxley College in order to help his son Frank graduate, as he has been attending Huxley for twelve years. Wagstaff's inaugural speech is incoherent, and at one point, he bursts into song, after calling attention to Frank, who is sitting among the students with a girl on his lap. After the song and speech, Wagstaff admonishes his son for dating only one college "widow" in twelve years, whereas he himself dated three college widows and attended three different colleges in twelve years. Frank tells his father that Huxley has had a new college president every year since 1888, which is also the last year the school won a football game. Frank insists that the college needs a good football team to beat the opposing team from Darwin University, and informs his father that he can buy two football players at a speakeasy downtown. At the speakeasy, Jennings, a representative of Darwin, buys the two athletes. Wagstaff arrives and gains admission to the speakeasy through repartee with Baravelli the iceman and bootlegger. Pinky, who is Baravelli's mute partner as well as a dog catcher, gets into the club and makes a nuisance of himself. Wagstaff mistakes the two men for football players and hires them for the big game against Darwin, then signs them on as students at Huxley. Jennings goes to see Connie Bailey, Frank's college widow with whom he is in cahoots, and tells her to get the football plays from Frank. He leaves and Frank arrives, after which Wagstaff arrives to convince Connie to give up Frank. Pinky and Baravelli, meanwhile, try to deliver ice several times to Connie's house but continually drop the ice blocks out of the window. Wagstaff discovers he hired the wrong athletes and tells Pinky and Baravelli to kidnap the real athletes. Meanwhile, Jennings buys the football signals from Baravelli but discovers they are the wrong signals. Connie then steals the signals from Wagstaff by attempting to seduce him. Meanwhile, Baravelli and Pinky try to kidnap the athletes but wind up trapped in an apartment. They saw their way through the floor in time to rush to the field and eventually increase Huxley's score through their antics. In the end, Huxley wins, and Baravelli, Pinky and Wagstaff all marry Connie. 

Distribution Company: Paramount Publix Corp.
Production Company: Paramount Publix Corp.
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
  Charles Barton (Asst dir)
Producer: Adolph Zukor (Pres)
Writer: Bert Kalmar ([Wrt] by)
  Harry Ruby ([Wrt] by)
  S. J. Perelman ([Wrt] by)
  Will B. Johnstone ([Wrt] by)

Subject Major: Chases
  College presidents
  Fixed football games
Subject Minor: Bootleggers
  College life
  Fathers and sons

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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