Sunday, 24 October 2010

Groucho Marx

Manchester and Salford Film Coop is showing the film Duck Soup in January 2011. This film stars the Marx Brothers and it so threatened the Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini that he barred it from Italy. According to the writer J B Priestley "Karl Marx showed us how the dispossessed would finally take possession . But I think the brothers Marx do it better". Antonin Artaud described their films as " a hymn to anarchy and whole hearted revolt". Groucho can loosely be described as a libertarian socialist, and he supported Heywood Broun when he stood for Congress in the Manhattan district of New York on the socialist ticket. Other supporters include George Gershwin, Fred Astaire, Harpo Marx and Helen Hayes.

Groucho was dismissive of the Hollywood Communists. He described them as "the kind of Hypocrites who would sing in between laps around their swimming pool". Nevertheless Groucho opposed the witch hunts of McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. He supported the Committee for the lst Amendment in defence of freedom of speech.

An underground newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area asked Groucho for his views on Nixon, the US President. "Do you think theres any hope for Nixon?" The reply- "No I think the only hope this country has is Nixons assassination". He was investigated by the FBI and listed in their files as a political threat to the President.

Groucho once referred to the United States as the "United Snakes" on a quiz show and contributed to an anti-fascist rally in the 1930s.

Finally Groucho Marx influenced the French students in May 68 in Paris. Grafitti read "je suis marxiste, tendance Groucho". He also quipped "Military Intelligence is a contradiction in terms"

The Film Coop shows monthly films at the Kings Arms, Bloom Street, Salford.

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