In post-war Casablanca, Ronald Kornblow is hired to run a hotel whose previous managers have all wound up being murdered. French soldier Pierre suspects the involvement of ex-Nazis, specifically Count Pfefferman, in reality the notorious Heinrich Stubel. But Pierre himself is accused of collaborating with the enemy, and attempts to clear his name with the help of his girlfriend Annette and cagey buddy Corbaccio. They enlist the aid of Pfefferman's beleaguered mute valet, Rusty, and discover a hoard of war booty the Nazis have cached in the hotel.Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
Introduced the song "Who's Sorry Now?" to the movies, which became a bigger hit than the movie ever would. See more »
When the police prefect gives the order to "Round up all likely suspects," his lips clearly say, "Round up the usual suspects" (see trivia). See more »
[as Beatrice Rheiner is leaving the room, with her back to the camera]
That reminds me, I must get my watch fixed.
[Alluding to her Hourglass-shaped body]
See more »
The first few seconds - the Approved code - are missing from some prints (including video prints). The code is on a title screen. The prints without the code fade in when the credits begin to run. See more »
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA (United Artists, 1946), directed by Archie Mayo, is not a sequel to the 1942-43 classic, CASABLANCA, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, but a comedy set at that location featuring those three Marx Brothers in their first motion picture comedy in five years.
A lot has happened since 1941, and the world has changed dramatically since the outbreak of World War II. While age has caught up with Groucho, Harpo and Chico, still sporting their familiar attire, one thing that hasn't changed is the public's necessity for laughter. Bob Hope, Red Skelton and the comedy team of Abbott and Costello filled in the gap for the Marxes during the war years, and for the post war generation, new comics continue to take the place of the old, notably Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis before the end of the decade. The Marx Brothers have been around since the bygone days of vaudeville and performed on screen since the advent of talkies (1929). Their return to films would be hailed as a welcome back by those who remember them well, or a curiosity for those who have never seen them before. For their return engagement, what sort of scenario would best suit them? They've already conquered the world of opera, the races, the circus and the old west. The chosen product in surrounding the brothers with murder and intrigue on foreign soil became the logical choice, since it had been common place in films of the 1940s. The city selected is Casablanca, where Rick and Ilsa (Bogey and Bergman) had re-found themselves. There's no Rick's café this time around, but a hotel where none-other than Groucho assumes top position as manager, almost in the same manner performed in THE COCOANUTS (1929).
Plot Summary: Three hotel managers of the Hotel Casablanca have been poisoned during the past six months. The only one who knows the motive to these murders is Lt. Pierre Delmar (Charles Drake), a pilot who had been forced to fly his airplane to South America loaded with treasures for the Nazis, having purposely landed in Casablanca, with the treasure disappearing and Nazis taking over the Hotel Casablanca. The prefect of police (Dan Seymour) doesn't appear to be interested in his story, and dismisses him. The only one who believes Pierre is Annette (Lois Collier), his fiancée and employee of the hotel. Count Pfefferman (Sig Rumann), a hotel guest, happens to be Heinrich Stubel, a wanted Nazi, who intends on taking over management of the hotel, along with his associates, Kurt (Frederick Giermann) and Beatrice Rheiner (Lisette Verea). Because his servant, Rusty (Harpo) accidentally vacuumed Pfefferman's toupee, which covers his distinctive scar on his head, he is unable to leave his room. Corbaccio (Chico), Rusty's partner, who runs a camel taxi service, picks up Ronald Kornblow (Groucho) at the train station. He's been sent over from the Desert View Hotel to assume the position as the new manager. Because Kornblow's life is in danger, Corbaccio acts as his body guard, keeping Kornblow from the clutches of Beatrice, out to disgrace him, by orders of Pfefferman. In time, the three zanies get together in helping Pierre in proving his theory correct and outwit the Nazis, with amusing results.
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA, as it is titled, attempts in recreating the sort of comedies the Marx Brothers performed at Paramount, simply being all over the place and creating chaos, yet it's more reminiscent to the ones they did at MGM, especially in casting Harpo as an abused servant to a villain (Rumann) who slaps and addresses him as a "silent idiot." Harpo is the first Marx brother to make an appearance, in the classic scene where he is seen "holding up the building," literally. Chico resumes his role as the helping hand to both his partner and love interest, while Groucho, the wiseacre, falls victim to a "vamp," almost a rehash from A DAY AT THE RACES (1937) with Groucho and Esther Muir. In this instance, he and Beatrice make numerous attempts to be alone together, only to be constantly interrupted, notably by Chico, who succeeds in locating him in a hotel room by knocking on the door and asking, "Hey boss, do you have a woman in there?" Sig Rumann makes his third and final appearance with the brothers, having appeared in A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935) and A DAY AT THE RACES, titles that make A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA appear as part of some sort of trilogy. Sadly, Groucho's frequent foil, Margaret Dumont is missing. She would have done splendidly in a cameo performance as the insulted wife of Mr. Smythe (Paul Harvey), a role played by an actress whose name is not listed in the closing credits.
Unlike their MGM comedies, the musical interludes are at a minimum. "Who's Sorry Now?" (sung in French and English by Lisette Verea) by Ted Snyder, Bert Kahlmar and Harry Ruby, ranks the best song ever written for a Marx Brothers comedy. It's truly memorable. This is followed by the traditional solos spots: Chico at the piano playing "The Beer Barrow Polka" and Harpo's harping to "The Second Hungarian Rhapsody." While categorized as the last official Marx Brothers comedy, A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA is still enjoyable from start to finish, climaxed by a wild airplane ride with Harpo at the controls. The fadeout involving Beatrice and the brothers is truly hilarious, something quite fitting to the conclusion of HORSE FEATHERS (1932).
A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA, distributed on video cassette in the 1980s, shown frequently on American Movie Classics (1994-2000), and having premiered on Turner Classic Movies in June 2002, is currently available (with clearer picture quality) on DVD. (***)
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