Monday, May 28, 2007

Super Service!

Having not yet seen all of their pictures, I really don't know if the Ritz Brothers ever had a better showcase than Hotel Anchovy, their 1934 screen debut for Educational. Certainly, this must be the highest ever concentration of pure Ritz in a film; exhausting, bizarre, and very funny... much funnier than the three Fox pictures I've seen (although some say that their Universal pictures are much worse). Harry, as would forever be the case, gets the lion's share of footage as the act's front-man, and he deserves the attention. Watching Harry's anything-goes performance, it's little wonder why Mel Brooks holds such a high opinion of him. The Ritzes returned in 1936 in a running-gag role in Sing, Baby, Sing for Fox. In the film's most memorable moment, Ted Healy, on loan from MGM for the first time without his stooges, gives Harry, Al, and Jimmy a nostalgic triple-slap.

Part 1

Part 2

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Blogger East Side said...

Another coincidence. I was ready to burn my VHS copy of "Hotel Anchovy" to DVD when you posted this. Funny movie -- I wish the Ritz Bros. made more shorts, because I'm not sure if I could take them in a feature. (I tried "3 Musketeers"a long time ago but turned it off after 10 minutes; I couldn't tell them apart.) Watching "Anchovy" with fresh eyes, though, made it clear just how much Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar and Danny Kaye were influenced by Harry Ritz. That is to say, they stole everything but his name.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Aaron Neathery said...

"Three Musketeers" is pretty well regarded, but I've never liked it. Believe it or not, the best Ritz feature I've seen yet is their 1939 Fox deal-breaker, "The Gorilla". There MUST be a better one.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Zero Mostel's performance as Rami the Swami in "DuBarry Was a Lady" is a complete rip-off of Harry Ritz, right down to the crossed eyes!

3:35 PM  

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