A Night at the Opera (film)

1935 Marx Brothers film by Sam Wood

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.

Una nit a l'òpera - intertitle.jpg
Groucho - Una nit a l'òpera.jpg
The Marx Brothers
The overcrowded stateroom
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. DriftwoodEdit

  • [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.


  • 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!

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 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!

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?

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.


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