AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Monkey Business
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Sep 1931
Duration (in mins):  77-78
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Cast: Groucho Marx  (Groucho)
  Harpo Marx  (Harpo)
  Chico Marx  (Chico)
 

Summary: Four stowaways, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo, are discovered aboard a luxury liner and are chased for the entire voyage by Captain Corcoran and his crew. At various times during the chase, Harpo becomes part of a Punch and Judy show, and Chico and Harpo impersonate the barber. Groucho hides in a closet in gangster Alky Briggs's stateroom, and when Groucho emerges from the closet, he finds Lucille, Briggs's wife, alone and flirts with her. Briggs suddenly comes in, and after Zeppo also bursts into the room, Briggs hires Groucho and Zeppo as his bodyguards. Meanwhile, Chico and Harpo wander into rival gangleader Joe Helton's room to play a game of chess and become his bodyguards. Briggs enters Helton's stateroom and announces his takeover of Helton's territory, but Helton orders him out, with the help of Chico and Harpo. Groucho later hires himself out to Helton as his personal bodyguard in an attempt to baffle logic. When the ocean liner docks, the stowaways try to impersonate singer Maurice Chevalier, whose passport Zeppo stole, but are unsuccessful. When a man faints, the stowaways hide in his stretcher and are carried off the ship. Later, Mary Helton is kidnapped at her coming-out party by Briggs's men and is held in the barn. Because Briggs has told Groucho of his plan, Groucho and the boys warn Helton and then go to the barn. A fight ensues, during which Zeppo rescues Mary and later knocks Briggs out just as Helton arrives. 

Distribution Company: Paramount Publix Corp.
Production Company: Paramount Publix Corp.
Director: Norman McLeod (Dir)
  Charles Barton (Asst dir)
Producer: Herman J. Mankiewicz (Assoc prod)
Writer: S. J. Perelman ([Wrt] by)
  Will B. Johnstone ([Wrt] by)
  Arthur Sheekman (Addl dial)
  J. Carver Pusey (Contr wrt)
  Al Shean (Contr wrt)

Subject Major: Bodyguards
  Gangsters
  Impersonation and imposture
  Ocean liners
  Stowaways
 
Subject Minor: Barbers and barbershops
  Barns
  Chases
  Maurice Chevalier
  Fights
  Flirtation
  Kidnapping
  Masked balls
  Opera singers
  Passports
  Pianos
  Punch and Judy (Puppets)
  Puppets

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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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