The final movie featuring The Marx Brothers, released in 1949.
In keeping with their format since the MGM days, the movie revolves around the Marxes helping a young couple, Mike Johnson and Maggie Philips, in their attempt to get their debut Broadway show up and running. Harpo gets himself caught up with the villainous Madame Egelichi, who has been after the famous Romanov family diamonds for some time. Also after the diamonds (and Madame Egelichi) is private investigator Sam Grunion, played by Groucho. Harpo happens upon the diamonds, which unwittingly end up in the Broadway show. Hilarity Ensues.
The movie plot was essentially thought up by Harpo himself, who later claimed it was intended as a way to help Chico pay off gambling debts. It is unique in that the brothers themselves seldom share scenes: Harpo gets the lion's share of the plot, followed by Chico in a supporting role and then Groucho rounds out with occasional scenes. One of these scenes famously introduces Marilyn Monroe in one of her first roles.
Tropes in this movie include:
- Call-Back: Chico gets one in with "Tootsie Frootsie Ice Cream".
- Groucho's spiel about the hide of an elephant ("Have you ever tried to hide an elephant, by the way?") might also be one.
- Demoted to Extra: Groucho, as Sam Grunion, the narrator.
- Dolled-Up Installment: Conceived as a Harpo solo vehicle, but Chico came onboard (allegedly to give him money to pay off gambling debts), then the only way they could get guaranteed financial backing was to lure Groucho in as well.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Harpo hides behind a billboard containing a giant cigar smoking penguin (Kool cigarettes). We also see a live one in his hut who is dressed exactly like him (and can't stop squarking, presumably in reference to Harpo's being mute).
- Framing Device: Groucho's scenes are basically this. He acts as a narrator, appears sporadically mostly on his own, and only appears with the other two brothers in the final scenes.
- Fur Bikini: Marilyn Monroe modeled in an ermine bikini as publicity for the film.
- He Who Must Not Be Heard: Played with. Harpo is central to this plot, and the villains try to interrogate him but "can't make him talk". He eventually manages to break free and find a phone whereupon he calls Chico for help... only to conduct the entire phone conversation using whistles and his horn (Chico seems to understand everything anyway due to his "mindreading").
- Large Ham: After one of the actors turns down a can of sardines in an extremely hammy way, Harpo literally hands him a large ham.
- MacGuffin: The Romanov Diamonds. The villains are after them (and so is Groucho) but they pass through various owners who mostly assume they're just paste jewelery.
- Ms. Fanservice: There's hardly a female character who doesn't dress up in something Stripperific (for the time period at least) at some point in the movie.
- Product Placement: The rooftop chase scene, featuring lighted signs for Baby Ruth candy bars, General Electric, Fisk tires, Bulova watches, Kool cigarettes, Wheaties cereal, and Mobil gasoline.
- Rummage Fail: One scene features two goons roughing Harpo up then emptying his pockets looking for the diamonds. Instead they find (among other things) a ship's lifesaver, a mailbox, the leg from a store mannequin, a welcome mat, a babershop pole, an umbrella, a sled, an ice cube, a live puppy, the other leg of the store mannequin...
- Skeleton Key: Harpo has got a literal one for opening his hut in the park.
- Unreliable Narrator: Groucho, sometimes.