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Go West Details


The Marx Bros.' Go West was on the drawing boards as early as 1936, when MGM executive Irving Thalberg commissioned Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby to come up with a script in which the Marx boys get involved with a rodeo. The project was shelved in favor of Marx boys, then revived in late 1939, two years after Laurel and Hardy's Hardy proved the commercial viability of comedy-Westerns. By this time, Kalmar and Ruby were no longer involved, and the script became virtually the sole responsibility of Irving Brecher, who'd previously penned the disappointing Marx vehicle Irving Brecher. If Go West is an improvement over Irving Brecher, it is probably because the Marxes were permitted to try out their material on tour before a variety of live audiences. Set in 1870, the story begins as S. Quentin Quayle (Groucho Marx) tries to raise enough money for a train ticket to the West. He spots a couple of likely pigeons, prospectors Rusty (Harpo Marx) and Joe (Chico Marx), and attempts to sucker them out of the required 500 dollars. In what turns out to be the film's funniest scene, Rusty and Joe turn the tables on Quayle, divesting him of everything he owns -- including his trousers. The plot then rears its ugly head as villains Beecher (Walter Woolf King) and Baxter (Robert H. Barrat) scheme to wrest a lucrative railroad contract from hero Terry Turner (John Carroll). Rusty and Joe make things easy for the bad guys by stupidly signing over a valuable gold mine deed which they were supposed to deliver to heroine Eve Wilson (Diana Lewis). With the help of Quayle, Rusty and Joe try to recover the deed, only to be sidetracked by a bevy of dance-hall girls. After several middling complications, the film boils down to a race between heroes and villains to register their bids and win the railroad contract. This requires Quayle, Rusty, and Joe to keep a locomotive in commission by chopping up the passenger cars for fuel, one of several Keatonesque sight gags packed into the film's hilarious finale. The opening and closing scenes of Go West are so good that one is willing to forgive and forget the dull romantic subplot and the misfire gags in the midsection. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Groucho Marx
as S. Quentin Quade
Harpo Marx
as Rusty Panello
Chico Marx
as Joseph Panello
John Carroll
as Terry Turner
Diana Lewis
as Eve Wilson
Walter Woolf King
as Mr. Beecher
George Lessey
as Railroad President
Clem Bevans
as Official
Lee Bowman
Arthur Houseman
as Drunk
Marx Brothers
Iris Adrian
Edward Gargan
Mitchell Lewis
as Halfbreed
Tully Marshall
as Dan Wilson
Mitchell Lewis
as Halfbreed
Arthur Houseman
as Drunk
Clem Bevans
as Official


Edward N. Buzzell
Jack Cummings
Irving Brecher
Leonard Smith
George Bassman
Composer (Music Score)
George Stoll
Musical Direction/Supervision
Blanche Sewell
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer