Horse Feathers

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Before Animal House and Old School even thought of poking fun at American college life, there was the hysterically madcap Horse Feathers. This wild 1932 Marx Brothers comedy finds Groucho playing Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the newly appointed president of Huxley College. The fun-loving Wagstaff attempts to help his son (Zeppo) finally graduate after 12 years by arranging to “buy” professional football players for an upcoming big game against rival Darwin University. The plan takes an expectedly unexpected twist, however, when a bootlegger (Chico) and a dogcatcher (Harpo) are mistaken for the athletes and are accidentally hired instead, leading to a series of truly outrageous hijinks involving a plot to kidnap the star players from Darwin. Co-written by S.J. Perelman, whose literate wordplay makes this a special treat, and containing the classic speakeasy and singing-lesson routines, not to mention one of the most hilarious football games ever captured on film, Horse Feathers is a one of the zaniest comedies in the Marx Brothers canon. (Dir. by Norman Z. McLeod, 1932, USA, 67 mins., Not Rated) Digital