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The Big Store

(1941 b 83')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Detectives are hired to protect a singer who owns half a department store, and they manage to foil the killers in this musical comedy.

Singer Tommy Rogers (Tony Martin) promises Ravelli (Chico Marx) a music conservatory if he can sell his half of a department store. Grover (Douglass Dumbrille) sends a man to murder Tommy. After lights go out, Joan (Virginia Grey) and Ravelli revive Tommy. Grover persuades Martha Phelps (Margaret Dumont) not to call the police. Wolf J. Flywheel (Groucho Marx) and Wacky (Harpo Marx) transform an apartment into a detective office before Martha comes in. Martha hires Flywheel to protect Tommy for $500. Flywheel takes her in an antique car, and Wacky finds her purse. For Joan and a customer Tommy sings "If It's You," making a record. Martha takes Flywheel to Grover, and Flywheel insults him. Both Flywheel and Ravelli are guarding Tommy. Wacky turns in the purse and finds his brother Wacky. Flywheel sings "Sing While You Sell." Grover kisses Peggy (Marion Martin) and sends her to Tommy as a music critic; but Tommy is out to lunch, and Wacky clips her skirt.

Grover orders the body guards removed from the bed department. Giuseppi (Henry Armetta) and his family ask for different beds, but six kids disappear on beds. Flywheel says Giuseppi can't have twelve kids on $25 a week, because is it economically impossible. Joan is planning to marry Tommy. Grover hires two murderers, but Flywheel is warned of men in gray suits. He wakes Ravelli and goes back to bed. Ravelli and Wacky play piano. Flywheel sees two men in gray suits and handcuffs them; but Martha and Grover say they are buying the store. Ravelli and Wacky catch the two criminals. Wacky plays the harp and other instruments in mirrors. Grover substitutes a camera. Flywheel wants to marry Martha's wealth. Tommy sings "Tenement Symphony." Ravelli drops a camera and takes a photo in the dark of Grover grabbing Joan. Tommy unties Joan. Grover with a gun demands the film; but Wacky grabs the picture and runs. Grover chases Wacky, Flywheel, and Ravelli, who use roller-skates as Grover shoots. After a wild chase Grover is captured and says a gun is in a camera. Flywheel takes Martha in his antique, which is hauled away for not making payments.

This under-rated Marx brothers farce satirizes modern department stores with their uncanny wit, mayhem, special effects, and stunts.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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