Room Service is a 1938 movie starring the Marx Brothers (well, three of them, anyway). It's special for two reasons: 1. It's the only Marx Brothers movie that wasn't written specifically for them, and 2. it is often quoted as being the worst (or least favourite, depending on who you ask).

Adapted from a play from Allen Boretz and John Murray, and produced by RKO studios, Room Service is a comdey of errors set in a hotel and directed by William A. Seiter. The general plot goes thusly:

Gordon Miller (Groucho Marx) and his pals Faker (Harpo Marx) and Binelli (Chico Marx) need money or they'll become homeless. They manage to fool a hotel manager into giving them a room to stay in. They meet a naive playwright named Leo Davis (Frank Albertson), and devise a plan to get some money by putting on a play in the hotel. Shenanigans ensue. The hotel manager has enough of their tomfoolery and decides to stop the play. The last half-hour or so of the movie involves Davis pretending to be deathly ill in order to keep the play going. Oh yeah, Lucille Ball's in it as well.

The fact that this wasn't originally written for the Marxes really shows. The scenes are awkward and stunted and the story is far from funny itself. It seems as if the brothers realised this, so they just decided to muck around the whole time while the other actors said their lines, which may be the movie's only redeeming quality.

As with any Marx flick, Room Service has its classic moments, like the room-swapping scene and, my personal favourite, the Mister Jenkins scene, but they pale in comparison to such Marx greats as the lemonade stand (Duck Soup) and the "party in the first part" scene (A Night at the Opera).

The brothers requested a salary for this movie that RKO initially refused. Zeppo Marx, the brothers' manager at the time, threatened to star alongside his brothers if their demands weren't met. Apparently, the studio caved in immediately.

It's likely that you would only appreciate this movie if you were a seasoned Marx fan. If you're new to the brothers' films, try Duck Soup, Animal Crackers or Horse Feathers before you give this one a go.

Hail and farewell!

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