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The Cocoanuts

(1929 b 93')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on George S. Kaufman's play, the Marx brothers debut their zany humor in a depressed Florida hotel where a jewelry robbery takes place.

People enjoy the beach in Florida. Bellhops ask Hammer (Groucho Marx) for their pay, and he persuades them not to be wage slaves. Penelope (Kay Francis) and Harvey Yates (Cyril Ring) plan to steal a necklace from Mrs. Potter's adjoining room so that he can marry Polly. Architect Bob Adams (Oscar Shaw) and Polly Potter (Mary Eaton) are in love and sing "When Our Dreams Come True." Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont) wants Polly to marry a Yates.

Hammer tries to sell Cocoanut Manor to Mrs. Potter. Harpo (Marx) and Chico (Marx) arrive and ask for a room. Harpo tears up letters, eats things, and takes money. Penelope tells Yates how she will get Harpo and Chico suspected. Chico tells Harpo that they need money, and the detective Hennessey (Basil Ruysdael) warns them. Penelope invites Chico to her room and suggests the same to Harpo. Hammer proposes to Mrs. Potter, but she ignores him.

Harpo plays the harp. Yates comes to Penelope's room and gives her Mrs. Potter's keys. He gives her a map and tells her to take the necklace to Cocoanut Manor. Harpo is under the bed. Chico and Hammer come and go. Harpo goes into Mrs. Potter's room. Hennessey comes in, but Penelope takes the necklace.

Hammer tells Chico to bid up the auction. At Cocoanut Manor, Polly sings and dances. Hammer says there are many lots, and they can get stucco. Chico does most of the bidding, and Hammer says he is coming out even. Hammer tries to sell to someone else. Harpo hits Yates with a cocoanut, and Bob Adams buys lot 26 for $1,200. Mrs. Potter says her $100,000 necklace is missing, but Harpo hands it to her. Hennessey questions Bob why he bought the lot, and Penelope tells Bob that she was joking about taking it. Hennessey arrests Bob, and Mrs. Potter announces a party for Polly's engagement to Yates. Polly cries, and Harpo consoles her.

Chico and Harpo get the keys and let Bob out of jail. In the hotel Hammer and Bob try to figure out the crime while Harpo picks Bob's pockets. At the party Mrs. Potter laughs at Hammer's costume. Harpo takes Hennessey's shirt, and he sings that he wants it back. Hammer stands on a chair at the table and makes a speech. Harpo cringes when Mrs. Potter and Yates speak. Chico plays piano. Polly presents the incriminating map in Yates's handwriting. Mrs. Potter announces that Polly will marry Bob, who will design the homes for Cocoanut Manor.

This early sound comedy shows how a play can be adapted for the cinema with the witty lines and puns intact. The farce reflects the Florida land boom that went bust.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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