A Night at the Opera (film)

1935 Marx Brothers film by Sam Wood
(Redirected from A Night at the Opera)

A Night at the Opera is a 1935 film about a silly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers who help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.

Directed by Sam Wood. Written by George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, Al Boasberg (uncredited), and Buster Keaton (uncredited).
Don't miss it! The funniest picture ever made!

Otis B. Driftwood

The Marx Brothers
The overcrowded stateroom
  • [to Mrs. Claypool] Don't you see, you'll be a patron of the opera. You'll get into society. Then, you can marry me and they'll kick you out of society, and all you've lost is $200,000.
  • [to Gottlieb] I saw Mrs. Claypool first. Of course, her mother really saw her first but there's no point in bringing the Civil War into this.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen. I guess that takes in most of you. This is the opening of a new opera season, a season made possible by the generous checks of Mrs. Claypool. [Applause] I am sure the familiar strains of Verdi's music will come back to you tonight, and Mrs. Claypool's checks will probably come back in the morning. Tonight marks the American debut of Rodolfo Lassparri. [Applause] Senor Lassparri comes from a very famous family. His mother was a well known bass singer. And his father was the first man to stuff spaghetti with bicarbonate of soda, thus causing and curing indigestion at the same time. And now on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons and necking in the parlor. Play, Don.
  • Can you sleep on your stomach with such big buttons on your pajamas?


  • Friends...how we happened to come to America is a great story. But I don't tell that. When we first started out, we got-a no idea you give us this-a grand reception. We donna deserve it. And when I say we donna deserve it, believe me, I know what I'm a-talkin' about...So now I tell you how we fly to America. The first time we started, we get-a halfway across when we run out-a gasoline and we gotta go back. Then I take-a twice as much gasoline. This time we-a just about to land - maybe three feet - when whaddya think? We run out-a gasoline again and a-back we go again to get-a more gas. This time I take-a plenty gas. Well, we get-a halfway over when what-a you think-a happened? We forgot-a the aeroplane. So we gotta sit down and we talk it over. Then I get-a a great idea. We no take-a gasoline. We no take-a the aeroplane. We take a steamship. And that, friends, is how we fly across the ocean.


Mrs. Claypool: I've been sitting right here since 7 o'clock.
Driftwood: Yes, with your back to me. When I invite a woman to dinner, I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay.

Mrs. Claypool: Mr. Driftwood, three months ago you promised to put me into society. In all that time, you've done nothing but draw a very handsome salary.
Driftwood: You think that's nothing, huh? How many men do you suppose are drawing a handsome salary nowadays? Why, you can count them on the fingers of one hand, my good woman.
Mrs. Claypool: I'm not your good woman!
Driftwood: Don't say that, Mrs. Claypool. I don't care what your past has been. To me, you'll always be my good woman. Because I love you. There. I didn't mean to tell you, but you...you dragged it out of me. I love you.
Mrs. Claypool: It's rather difficult to believe that when I find you dining with another woman.
Driftwood: That woman? Do you know why I sat with her? Because she reminded me of you.
Mrs. Claypool: Really?
Driftwood: Of course, that's why I'm sitting here with you. Because you remind me of you. Your eyes, your throat, your lips! Everything about you reminds me of you. Except you. How do you account for that? If she figures that one out, she's good.
Mrs. Claypool: Mr. Driftwood. I think we'd better keep everything on a business basis.
Driftwood: How do you like that? Every time I get romantic with you, you want to talk business. I don't know, there's something about me that brings out the business in every woman.

Driftwood: You see that spaghetti? Now, behind that spaghetti is none other than Herman Gottlieb, director of the New York Opera Company. Do you follow me?
Mrs. Claypool: Yes.
Driftwood: Well stop following me or I'll have you arrested!

[In Lassparri's dressing room, Tomasso dressed as a clown sprays his perfume in his mouth twice and not making any sound until he heard Lassparri entering his room]
Lassparri: What are you doing in my costumes!? [Lassparri wacks Tomasso with a cane] Take it off at once! Do you hear!? Immediately!
[Tomasso took off the clown costume and reveals a sailor costume]
Lassparri: Why you... YOU!! [Lassparri shakes Tomasso and throws him] Take that off.
[Tomasso took off the costume and reveals a dress]
Lassparri: Take off that dress! Do you hear!? You dumb idiot! Do as I say or I'll break your neck!
[Lassparri chasing Tomasso]
Lassparri: Do you hear me!? Take off that dress! If I ever get my hands on you, you'll never hear the end of this! If you're not out of my dressing, YOU'RE FIRED!! [Lassparri whipping Tomasso] GET OUT!! GET OUT!! GET OUT!! Do you hear me!? OUT YOU GO!! And don't ever come back here again!! [Lassparri throws Tomasso out]
[Rosa was feeling very sorry for Tomasso about what happened]
Rosa: Don't you care. You're lucky to be rid of him.
Lassparri: Oh, good evening, Rosa.
Rosa: Good evening, signore.
Lassparri: Tomasso, why don't you come in. I've been waiting for you.
[Lassparri took Tomasso back to his dressing room. And when he's in the room, Lassparri once again whipped him]

Gottlieb: If you pardon my saying so, Mrs. Claypool, Mr. Driftwood seems hardly the person to handle your business affairs?
Mrs. Claypool: I'm beginning to think the same thing.
Driftwood: Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Well, I made it. How soon does the curtain go up?
Gottlieb: The curtain, Mr. Driftwood, will go up again next season.
Mrs. Claypool: You've missed the entire opera.
Driftwood: Well, I only missed it by a few minutes. Then, I can go then, huh?
Gottlieb: Mrs. Claypool, was I right? Isn't Lassparri the greatest tenor that ever lived?
Mrs. Claypool: He's superb. What would you have to pay him?
Gottlieb: What's the difference? He must sail with us tomorrow no matter how much we pay him. Why, he wouldn't be worth $1,000 a night.
Driftwood: How much?
Gottlieb: $1,000 a night.
Driftwood: A thousand dollars a nacht? What does he do?
Gottlieb: What's he do? He sings!
Driftwood: So, you're willing to pay him $1,000 a night just by singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. For a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie.
Gottlieb: If you'll excuse me, Mrs. Claypool, I think I had better arrange to see Lassparri immediately. You are agreed-- $1,000 a night?
Mrs. Claypool: Just as you think.
Driftwood: [To himself] Thousand dollars a night? There must be something I have to get a piece of this? [To Gottlieb] Wait a minute! Why don't I sign Lassparri? I represent Mrs. Claypool.
Gottlieb: But, I represent the New York Opera Company. My boy? Will you give my card to signor Lassparri, please?

Lassparri: Rosa?
Rosa: Yes, signore?
Lassparri: My good friend Herman Gottlieb is coming back to see me. How would you like to have supper with us?
Rosa: I'm terribly sorry, signor Lassparri. I already have an engagement.
Lassparri: Oh, I see. [glances contemptuously at Ricardo] Well, that's too bad because I have an idea that he's going to invite me to sing in New York. And uh... He may permit me to select my leading lady. Are you sure you can't break your appointment?
Rosa: [smiles and shakes her head] I'm terribly sorry, signore.
[Rosa leaves with Ricardo, who smirks at Lasparri over his shoulder. Looking away angrily, Lasparri hears Tomasso playing a cheerful tune on his whistle, goes over to him and grabs him aggressively]
Lassparri: What do you mean by humiliate me in front of all those people!? [slaps him] You're fired!! Do you understand!!? YOU'RE FIRED!!
Driftwood: Hey, you big bully. What's the idea of hitting that little bully?
Lassparri: Will you kindly let me handle my own affairs!? [shoves Tomasso away] GET OUT!! [To Driftwood] Now, what have you got to say to me?
Driftwood: Just this: can you sleep on your stomach with such big buttons on your pajamas? [pulls one of the clown buttons off the front of his costume]
Lassparri: Why you--
[Before Lassparri can punch Driftwood, Tomasso whacks him over the head with a large mallet, knocking him out]
Driftwood: [crouches next to them] Nice work, I think you got him. [Tomasso pulls out a small bottle and holds it under Lasparri's nose] Ah, smelling salts? That should bring him to. You're sorry for what you did? [Tomasso nods] Well, that shows a nice spirit. [Lasparri begins to stir] He's coming around, he'll be fine now-
[Just as Lasparri starts to sit up, Tomasso whacks him with the mallet again, knocking him out a second time. Tomasso grins, then runs away. After a moment, Driftwood stands back up and puts his foot on Lasparri's chest]
Driftwood: Get fresh with me, eh?
Fiorello: [wanders over] How do you do?
Driftwood: Hello.
Fiorello: What'sa matter, Mister?
Driftwood: Oh, we had an argument, and he pulled a knife on me, so I shot him.
Fiorello: Do you mind...?
Driftwood: No, no go right ahead! [He moves over slightly, and Fiorello rests his foot on Lasparri's chest as well, imitating a foot rail at a bar] Two beers, bartender!
Fiorello: I'll take two beers, too.
Driftwood: Well, things seem to be getting better around the country
Fiorello: Well, I wouldn't know, I'm a stranger here myself. [Driftwood looks at him in bewilderment]

Driftwood: Could he sail tomorrow?
Fiorello: You pay him enough money, he could sail yesterday. How much you pay him?
Driftwood: Well, I don't know... [muttering to himself] Let's see, a thousand dollars a night... I'm entitled to a small profit... How about ten dollars a night?
Fiorello: Ten? Ten dolla— ha ha ha ha ha! I'll take it...
Driftwood: All right, but remember, I get 10% for negotiating the deal.
Fiorello: Yes, and I get 10% for being the manager. How much does that leave him?
Driftwood: That leaves him— uh, $8.00.
Fiorello: Eight dollars, huh? Well, he sends a five dollars home to his mother...
Driftwood: Well, that leaves him $3.00.
Fiorello: Can he live in New York on $3.00?
Driftwood: Like a prince. Of course he won't be able to eat, but he can live like a prince. However, out of that $3.00, you know, he'll have to pay an income tax...
Fiorello: Ah, there's income tax...
Driftwood: ...there's a federal tax, and a state tax, and a city tax, and a street tax, and a sewer tax.
Fiorello: How much does this come to?
Driftwood: Well, I figure if he doesn't sing too often, he can break even.
Fiorello: All right, we take it.

Driftwood: Now, here are the contracts. You put his name at the top and uh... you sign at the bottom. There's no need of you reading that because these are duplicates.
Fiorello: Yeah, these are duplicates. [Fiorello looking at the contract] Duplicates, huh?
Driftwood: I say they are duplicates!
Fiorello: Sure. These are duplicates.
Driftwood: Don't you know what duplicates are?
Fiorello: Sure. There's five kids up in Canada.
Driftwood: Well, I wouldn't know about that. I haven't been in Canada in years.
[Driftwood and Fiorello looking at the contract]
Driftwood: Well, go on and read it.
Fiorello: What does it say?
Driftwood: Well, go on and read it!
Fiorello: Uh... You read.
Driftwood: Alright, I'll read it to you. Can you hear?
Fiorello: I haven't heard anything yet. Do you say anything?
Driftwood: Well, I haven't said anything worth hearing.
Fiorello: That's why I didn't hear anything.
Driftwood: That's why I didn't say anything.
[Fiorello and Driftwood moving the contract around because they would be able to read]
Fiorello: Can you read?
Driftwood: I can read it. But, I can't see it! It doesn't seem to have it in focus here. If my arms are a little longer, I can read it. You haven't got a baboon pocket, have you? Ah! There we are. There you have it.

Driftwood: Now pay particular attention to this first clause because it's most important. It says the, uh... "The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part." How do you like that? That's pretty neat, eh?
Fiorello: No, that's no good.
Driftwood: What's the matter with it?
Fiorello: I dunno. Let's hear it again.
Driftwood: It says the, uh... "The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part."
Fiorello: That sounds a little better this time.
Driftwood: Well, it grows on you. Would you like to hear it once more?
Fiorello: Er... just the first part.
Driftwood: What do you mean? The... the party of the first part?
Fiorello: No, the first part of the party of the first part.
Driftwood: All right. It says the, uh, "The first part of the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the first part of the party of the first part shall be known in this contract..." Look, why should we quarrel about a thing like this? We'll take it right out, eh? Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
Fiorello: Well, I don't know about that...
Driftwood: Now what's the matter?
Fiorello: I no like-a the second party, either.
Driftwood: Well, you shoulda come to the first party. We didn't get home 'til around four in the morning. I was blind for three days!

Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here?
Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that's the usual clause that's in every contract. That just says, uh, it says, uh, if any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.
Fiorello: Well, I don't know...
Driftwood: It's all right. That's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a sanity clause.
Fiorello: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause!

Gottlieb: Could you tell me where Lassparri is?
Fiorello: Sure. There's Lassparri.
Gottlieb: LASSPARRI!!
Driftwood: Lassparri? Then, whom did I sign?
Fiorello: You signed Riccardo Baroni. That's my man.
Gottlieb: Signor Lassparri, what happened! Speak to me! It's me! It's Gottlieb! It's me! It's Gottlieb!
[While Gottlieb was trying to revive Lassparri, Tomasso once again bashed Lassparri on the head with a heavy sack]
Gottlieb: Oh! What is this now!?
Driftwood: How early is the fruit is falling this season?

Lassparri: Those men-- They can't be passengers on this boat. They must be stowaways.
Captain: Stowaways? Well, we'll soon find out.
[The captain's guards ran after Tomasso, Riccardo, and Fiorello while other people are dancing. And they're caught and placed them in the detention cabin]

Henderson: Hey, I think these fellows are phonies!
Driftwood: What's that you say?
Henderson: You heard me.
Driftwood: Did you hear what he said? He said you boys are imposters and you absolutely don't belong here at all.
Fiorello: Did he say that about us? I've never been so insulted!
Driftwood: [to the Mayor] Do you hear what they say? They say they've never been so insulted in their life and they absolutely refuse to stay here!
Mayor: No, no, please. He didn't mean it. Tell them he didn't mean it.
Driftwood: [confers with the aviators] Of course, you know this means war!
Mayor: [to Henderson] Now see what you've done!

Henderson: You remember me. I'm Henderson, plain-clothesman.
Driftwood: You look more like an old-clothes man to me.
Henderson: Oh! A wise guy, huh? Nice place.
Driftwood: Well, it's comfortable.
Henderson: You live here all alone?
Driftwood: Yes. Just me and my memories. I'm practically a hermit.
Henderson: Oh. A hermit. I notice the table's set for four.
Driftwood: That's nothing; my alarm clock is set for eight. That doesn't prove a thing.

Henderson: What's a hermit doing with four beds?
Driftwood: Well, you see those first three beds?
Henderson: Yes.
Driftwood: Last night I counted five thousand sheep in those three beds, so I had to have another bed to sleep in. You wouldn't want me to sleep with the sheep, would you?

Henderson: Who are you talking to?
Driftwood: I was talking to myself, and there's nothing you can do about it, I've had three of the best doctors in the East.
Henderson: Well, I certainly heard somebody say something.
Driftwood: Oh, it's sheer folly on your part.
Henderson: What's this?
Driftwood: Why, that's a fire escape. And, uh, that's a table, and this is a room, and there's the door leading out, and I wish you'd use it, I... I vant to be alone!
Henderson: You'll be alone when I throw you in jail.
Driftwood: Isn't there a song like that, Henderson...?
Henderson: What became of that fourth bed?
Driftwood: What are you referring to, Colonel?
Henderson: The last time I was in this room, there were four beds here!
Driftwood: Please! I'm not interested in your private life, Henderson.
Henderson: Oh-h-h. [He barges into the living room] Say! What's that bed doing here?
Driftwood: I don't see it doing anything.
Henderson: There's something funny goin' on around here, but I'll get to the bottom of it. [going back to the bedroom] Hey, you!
Driftwood: Coming!
Henderson: Am I crazy, or are there only two beds here?
Driftwood: Now, which question do you want me to answer first, Henderson?

Rosa: [singing] I'm not alone--
[Then, Riccardo went through the window into Rosa's room singing too]
Riccardo: [singing: As long as I find you in every dream.
Riccardo: You thought you could come back to America without me, huh?
Rosa: Oh, you fool. You dear, dear fool!
Riccardo: Because I love you, you call me a fool. There may be something in that.
Rosa: What are you doing here?
Riccardo: The easiest thing in the world, an open window, a detective, and here I am.
Rosa: Oh, Riccardo, you shouldn't have! They'll only send you back again! Perhaps, they even put you in jail!
Riccardo: Oh, I don't care, darling. It's worth it.
Rosa: Suppose... Suppose I go to Mr. Gottlieb. Maybe he'd intercede for you.
Riccardo: Gottlieb couldn't do anything. Besides, Lassparri's got to him first.
Rosa: There must be something we can do!
[Lassparri knocking on the door]
Rosa: Who is it?
Lassparri: It is I, Rodolfo.
[Rosa hides Riccardo and let's Lassparri in]
Rosa: Um... Come in!

Lassparri: [after being booed by the audience and pelted with fruit] Never in my life have I received such treatment. They threw an apple at me.
Driftwood: Well. Watermelons are out of season.

Porter: [After inserting Driftwood's large steamer trunk in his very small room] Is there anything else sir?
Driftwood: Yes, tomorrow you can take the trunk out and I'll go in.


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