What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie isn't nonstop comedy. It's got a plethora of musical numbers that bring the action to a halt (if you're lucky, a Marx Brother or two will join the instrumentalizing). Don't be surprised if kids lose interest, or just watch in between careful fast-forwards. One of the livelier musical numbers, with an overwhelmingly black cast of performers, has the reputation of pandering to negative racial stereotypes. The plot glorifies gambling and horse racing.
- Families can talk about why the movie's laughs come in such halting fashion. Do you agree with the greatest brains of 1930s Hollywood that audiences -- specifically women -- couldn't keep up with the brilliant comedians, and needed singing and dancing interludes? Is it true that only males go for the Three Stooges as well? What about TV variety shows like Saturday Night Live that break up the satirical skits with (usually) non-funny musical interludes. Do you think the "Who Dat Man?" frenetic swing number here, with Harpo and an otherwise all-black cast, is racist?