Theatrical release poster.
|Directed by||Edward Buzzell|
|Produced by||Jack Cummings|
|Written by||Irving Brecher|
Nat Perrin (uncredited)
|Music by||George Bassman|
|Edited by||Blanche Sewell|
Go West is a 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer comedy-western film starring the Marx Bros. In their tenth film, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico head to the American West and attempt to unite a couple by ensuring that a stolen property deed is retrieved. The film was directed by Edward Buzzell and written by Irving Brecher, who receives the original screenplay credit.
Confidence man S. Quentin Quale is heading west to find his fortune, but is short ten dollars for a train ticket. In the railroad station, he encounters brothers Joseph and Rusty Panello and attempts to swindle their money, but the two manage to swindle Quale's money. The Panellos are friends with an old miner named Dan Wilson whose near worthless property, Dead Man's Gulch, has no gold. They loan him their last ten dollars for a grub stake and he gives them the deed to the Gulch as collateral. Unbeknownst to Wilson, the son of his longtime rival and beau to his granddaughter Eve Wilson, Terry Turner has contacted the railway to arrange for them to build through the gulch, making the deed holder rich. After crooked railroad executive John Beecher and shady saloon owner "Red" Baxter manage to steal the deed, Quale and the Panello brothers work with Terry and Eve to retrieve the deed.
- Groucho Marx as S. Quentin Quale
- Chico Marx as Joe Panello
- Harpo Marx as "Rusty" Panello
- John Carroll as Terry Turner
- Diana Lewis as Eve Wilson
- Walter Woolf King as John Beecher
- Robert Barrat as "Red" Baxter
- June MacCloy as Lulubelle
- George Lessey as Railroad President
- Tully Marshall as Dan Wilson
- Iris Adrian as Mary Lou
- Joan Woodbury as Melody
- Joe Yule as Crystal Palace Bartender Joe
- Mitchell Lewis as Halfbreed Indian Pete
- Arthur Housman as Drunk In Saloon
- Frederick Burton as Johnson
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Like all other Marx Brothers MGM films, Go West has several musical numbers, including "As if I Didn't Know" and "You Can't Argue with Love" both by Bronislau Kaper and Gus Kahn, "Ridin' the Range" by Roger Edens and Gus Kahn, "From the Land of the Sky-Blue Water" by Charles Wakefield Cadman and "The Woodpecker Song" by Harold Adamson and Eldo di Lazzaro. (In this song, Chico, playing the piano, rolls an orange on the keys in sync with the melody.)
As with A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races, the Marxes played key comedy scenes from Go West live onstage on a pre-filming tour; this tour was much shorter than that for the first two films, lasting three weeks.
Go West Screenwriter Irving Brecher stood in for an ailing Groucho when publicity stills for the film were first taken. Brecher bore a remarkable resemblance to Groucho and is all but unrecognizable in the photos, sporting Groucho's glasses, greasepaint mustache and eyebrows.
- "As If I Didn't Know"
- "You Can't Argue With Love"
- "From the Land of the Sky-Blue Water"
- "Ridin' The Range"
Thomas M. Pryor of The New York Times called the film "an unevenly paced show" with "only one really funny sequence," referring to the climax. Variety wrote, "The three Marx Bros. ride a merry trail of laughs and broad burlesque in a speedy adventure through the sagebrush country," adding that the film had "many fresh situations for the Marxian antics." Harrison's Reports wrote that it was "much better than their last two pictures" and that the final twenty minutes "should thrill as well as amuse spectators." Film Daily called it "wildly funny in places, amusing for the most part and dead in one or two spots that a little editing could improve." John Mosher of The New Yorker wrote, "Possibly not the most strenuous Marxian product that we have seen, the picture nevertheless is very satisfactory and quite lunatic enough."
- The New York Times Film Reviews, Volume 3: 1939-1948. New York: The New York Times & Arno Press. 1970. p. 1772.
- "Film Reviews". Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. December 18, 1940. p. 16.
- "Go West". Harrison's Reports. New York: Harrison's Reports, Inc.: 202 December 21, 1940.
- "Reviews of the New Films". Film Daily. New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.: 5 December 11, 1940.
- Mosher, John (February 22, 1941). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. New York: F-R Publishing Corp. p. 74.
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