Bring on the Ba-Zing!

Perhaps it was the nun-kini.

But this summer’s remake of Three Stooges—aggressively juvenile, drunk on mean-spirited boorishness, now in color—has had us craving that other classic comedy trio from the 1930s. You know, the guys who knew how to elevate the pratfalls with a little witty repartee? The guys who could slip in dirty innuendo so seamlessly you only caught it on the second viewing? The cigar and the mustache?

Yup, we’re talking Groucho, Chico, and Harpo (and sometimes Zeppo): the Marx Brothers. We’re not saying their comedy was never dumb. But even when it went low-brow, it stooped with urbane sophistication. If the Stooges were an armpit-fart gag, the Marx Brothers were an illustrated Monty Python butt trumpet.

This Thursday, the Heights Theatre trots out one of the trio’s finest flicks, A Night at the Opera. The 1935 masterpiece is the first film the Brothers made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the first one they made without their erstwhile straight man Zeppo. It was a smash success both commercially, grossing over $3,000,000 at the box office, and artistically; in 2007, the American Film Institute listed it as 85 on its list of 100 best American movies.  

But don’t go for the culture cred. Go for the laughs. A Night at the Opera features two of the most famous Marx Brothers gags/moments in comedy history: the stateroom scene and the contract scene.

“You can’t fool me; there ain’t no Sanity Clause!”

A Night at the Opera
Thursday, August 9, 7:30 p.m.
Heights Theatre, 3951 Central Ave. NE, Columbia Heights