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A Day at the Races (1937)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, Sport | 11 June 1937 (USA)
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2:59 | Trailer
A veterinarian posing as a doctor and a race-horse owner and his friends struggle to help keep a sanitarium open with the help of a misfit race-horse.

Director:

Sam Wood

Writers:

Robert Pirosh (screen play), George Seaton (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Groucho Marx ... Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush (as The Marx Brothers)
Chico Marx ... Tony (as The Marx Brothers)
Harpo Marx ... Stuffy (as The Marx Brothers)
Allan Jones ... Gil Stewart
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Judy Standish
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Emily Upjohn
Leonard Ceeley Leonard Ceeley ... Whitmore
Douglass Dumbrille ... Morgan
Esther Muir ... Cokey 'Flo'
Sig Ruman ... Dr. Steinberg (as Sig Rumann)
Robert Middlemass ... Sheriff
Vivien Fay ... Dancer
Ivie Anderson Ivie Anderson ... Vocalist
The Crinoline Choir The Crinoline Choir ... Vocal Ensemble
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Storyline

Doctor Hugo Hackenbush, Tony, and Stuffy try and save Judy's sanitarium by winning a big race with her boyfriend's horse. There are a few problems. Hackenbush runs a high-priced clinic for the wealthy who don't know he has his degree in veterinary medicine. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

as the barrier goes up on the Whopper of all Musical Fun Shows! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

11 June 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Day at the Races See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (Sepiatone)| Black and White (blue tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Groucho Marx's character was initially to have been named Dr. Quackenbush, which he and everyone else thought was too silly a name to offend anyone. However, MGM's legal department discovered at least a dozen legitimate U.S. doctors named Quackenbush, so for legal reasons the name was changed to Hackenbush. Although initially dismayed by the name change, Groucho later came to like it. He cited "Dr. Hackenbush" as his favorite character from his films, and even occasionally signed letters to friends using that name. See more »

Goofs

In the closing seconds of the film, Hackenbush takes off his hat and puts it up on the tip of his umbrella. When the camera angle changes to a wide shot, he does it again. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Hackenbush: Get me Mr. Whitmore.
[the operator calls Whitmore's office]
Whitmore: Hello?
Dr. Hackenbush: [disguising his voice as the receptionist] Here's your Florida call, Mr. Whitmore.
Whitmore: All right. Hello?
Dr. Hackenbush: [as the receptionist] Florida Medical Office, good morning.
Whitmore: I'd like to talk to the man in charge of the records, please.
Dr. Hackenbush: [as the receptionist] Record department? Just a moment, sugar dear.
Dr. Hackenbush: [as Col. Hawkins] Record department? Colonel Hawkins talking.
Whitmore: Col. Hawkins, did you get a wire from me regarding Dr. Hackenbush?
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version previously aired on Turner Classic Movies featured the original blue-tinting of the image during the "Water Ballet" number. This scene is presented in black and white on previous VHS versions, and on the current DVD. The new DVD master has replaced TCM's old broadcast master, thus, when the film is now broadcast, the scene is in black and white. See more »

Connections

Edited into Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314 (Blue Danube Waltz)
(1866) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Played in the score and Danced by Groucho Marx
See more »

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User Reviews

Buy the video - and keep fast forward handy
30 October 1999 | by Jeremy-93See all my reviews

Having picked them up after their Paramount period, MGM seems to have decided it didn't trust the Marx Brothers. Just as with most modern studio products there's a feeling of a package designed by committee, in which everyone is guaranteed to dislike something. Did MGM execs seriously think people who didn't find the Marxes funny would come along to see the production numbers?

It's a movie of loosely strung-together set-pieces (of course), and one wants to watch individual scenes rather than sit through the whole show. Groucho's mastery of verbal and physical comedy remains immensely compelling and Harpo is an excellent clown, but the plot is rather tiresome as well as being (of course) total nonsense, and the male romantic lead (Allan Jones) is a prize bore to end all prize bores. There's a surplus of production values at the expense of pace, and the musical sections seem to have wandered in from several other films, none of them awfully good.

MGM simply hedged too many bets, and it's already clear the formula hasn't much of a future. One has to treasure this film for enshrining some iconic comedy routines, but it feels less like a shrine than a sarcophagus.


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