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Room Service

(1938 b 78')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Adapted from a play by John Murray and Allen Boretz, a producer owing money for a hotel room stays there with the author waiting for backing.

Hotel manager Joseph Gribble (Cliff Dunstan) asks Gordon Miller (Groucho Marx) to pay his bill for $1200 or leave. Gordon and Harry Binelli (Chico Marx) put on several suits. Writer Leo Davis (Frank Albertson) arrives and says he has no money. Davis refuses to go home, and Gordon invites him to stay there. Binelli takes Davis' typewriter to pawn it. Hilda Manny (Ann Miller) meets Davis and takes him to meet an actor. Auditor Gregory Wagner (Donald MacBride) complains and charges Joseph $700 for the room. Gordon gets rid of Joseph so he can see backer Simon Jenkins (Philip Wood), who offers $15,000 for the play. Christine Marlowe (Lucille Ball) says the cast is being ejected from the hotel, and Wagner demands money from Gordon. Faker Englund (Harpo Marx) was evicted and joins them. Gordon and Binelli decide that Davis must play sick so they won't be put out. Faker gives Davis spots for measles.

Davis is hungry, and Gordon calls room service. Waiter Sasha Smirnoff (Alexander Asro) is offered a part if he'll bring them a meal. Gordon tells a collector for the typewriter that Davis went crazy. Faker brings a turkey that flies away. Sasha brings a cart, and the four eat quickly. Gordon says he can't give Sasha a part. Hilda calls, and Davis goes out to see her. Faker pretends to be Davis when Wagner comes in. Gordon says that Davis has a tapeworm and laryngitis, and Christine acts as a nurse. Wagner learns that 19 people are living in the ballroom. Gordon and Binelli lock Dr. Glass (Charles Halton) in the bathroom. Jenkins comes in and gives Gordon a check, but Wagner interrupts before Jenkins signs. Faker chases the turkey and knocks out Jenkins. Dr. Glass is found and tells Wagner he resigns. Jenkins signs the check and leaves, and Wagner gets Gordon to sign it over to him.

Davis tells them that Jenkins is going to stop payment, and they see the contract is not signed. Gordon says they can use their credit with Wagner for five days and open the play. Joseph learns the check is no good, but Wagner comes in and celebrates until he is called about the check. Gordon, Binelli, Davis, and Faker wait to be arrested. Davis suggests pretending suicide. Wagner discovers Davis and rushes out for an antidote, but Faker drinks them. Gordon leads a funeral service for Davis. Wagner finds Faker stabbed in a closet with a suicide note. Wagner and Gordon carry him to the alley. In the theater Wagner sees Davis and faints.

This farce satirizes the desperation of a producer trying to raise money for a show, implying how fragile show business can be.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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