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horse feathers movie poster Horse Feathers revolves around college football and a game between the fictional Darwin and Huxley Colleges. Many of the jokes about the amateur status of collegiate football players and how eligibility rules are stretched by collegiate athletic departments remain remarkably current. Groucho Marxwho sings ‘I’m Against It’, plays Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley College. Zeppo Marx is his son Frank, who convinces his father to recruit professional football players to help Huxley’s team. There are also many references to Prohibition. Baravelli (Chico Marx) is an “iceman”, who delivers ice and bootleg liquor from a local speakeasy. Pinky (Harpo Marx) is also an “iceman”, and a part-time dogcatcher. Through a series of misunderstandings, Baravelli and Pinky are recruited to play on Huxley’s football team; this requires them to enroll as students at Huxley, which creates chaos throughout the school.marx brothers time magazine

Horse Feathers (1932) is a Pre-Code Marx Brothers film comedy. (The Motion Picture Production Code, Or Hays Code as it was known,  was the set of industry moral guidelines that was applied to most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968). The only existing prints of this film are missing several minutes, owing to censorship and damage. Several of the film’s gags were taken from the Marx Brothers’ stage comedy from the 1900s, Fun in Hi Skule.

The climax of the film, which ESPN listed as first in its “top 11 scenes in football movie history,” includes the four protagonists winning the football game by taking the ball into the end zone in a horse-drawn garbage wagon that Pinky rides like a chariot. A picture of the brothers in the “chariot” near the end of the film made the cover of TIME in 1932. – Wikipedia

Here’s another clip from Horse Feathers that not only shows off the comedy that made The Marx Brothers great, but also features Chico Marx at the piano singing ‘Everyone Says I Love You’ to his sexy “student”. (This song was later the title song of a 1996 Woody Allen movie).

All four brothers perform ‘Everyone Says I Love You’ in Horse Feathers, almost every time as a serenade to Connie Bailey. Zeppo leads with a “straight” verse:

Everyone says I love you
The cop on the corner and the burglar too
The preacher in the pulpit and the man in the pew
Says I love you.

Harpo whistles it once to his horse, and later plays it on the harp to serenade Miss Bailey. Chico sings a comic verse, with his standard fake Italian accent, while playing piano:

Everyone says I love you
The great big mosquito when-a he sting you
The fly when he gets stuck on the flypaper too
Says I love you.

Groucho sings a sarcastic verse, sitting in a canoe strumming a guitar as Miss Bailey rows. This is in line with his suspicions about the college widow’s intentions throughout the film.

Everyone says I love you
But just what they say it for I never knew
It’s just inviting trouble for the poor sucker who
Says I love you.  – Wikipedia

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