The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia

Marx Bros Encyclopedia

B+

If you want to know absolutely everything there is to know about the renowned comedy team the Marx Brothers, don’t waste your time anywhere other than Glenn Mitchell’s revised and expanded new edition of “The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia.”

To say this volume is extensive doesn’t quite do it justice. The author touches upon everything you’d need to know about the Brothers, including all of their films, unfinished projects, themes of their work, personal lives and professional acquaintances. Want to know what the Marx Brothers have to do with Frank Sinatra? Or where the family got their start in show-biz? How about an exhaustive amount of information on Groucho’s trademark mustache? It’s all there.

Personally, I found the write-ups on the major films of the Marx Brothers especially thorough — going into great depth on the synopses, awards and responses, and insights to the filmmaking. Given the format of the book, there isn’t a lot of critical reading, but it does provide a great overall review of their films.

Though there are only a few negatives, they are directly related to how the book is presented. While there are some good photos and production stills throughout, the book isn’t particularly fun to browse through. The presentation of the text reads much more like a formal textbook than a fun coffee table book, leaving this volume only for serious readers. There is a lot of information crammed into this encyclopedia (which is certainly great), but this leaves it feeling like a brick and not incredibly easy to navigate if you’re looking for a specific piece of information. In other words: made for fans, but maybe not so much for casual browsers.

tags: glen mitchell, marx bros, marx bros encyclopedia

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