Del Mar Racetrack Reminds Us Of The Marx Brothers

A Day At The Races... GiddyUp Horsey

A Day At The Races

A Day at the Races (1937) is the seventh movie starring the three Marx Brothers, with Margaret Dumont, Allan Jones and Maureen O'Sullivan. Like their previous MGM feature, A Night at the Opera, this film was a major hit.

A Day At The Races

The plot revolves around Hugo Z. Hackenbush (Groucho), who is a veterinarian illegally employed as the medical director of Standish Sanitarium, which is owned by Judy Standish (O'Sullivan). Among other things they have to do to save the sanitarium from developers is to keep Mrs. Upjohn (Dumont) as a patient.

She, of course, insists on being treated only by Dr. Hackenbush. To try to expose Groucho as a fraud, the bad guys call in Dr. Steinberg, who is played by Siegfried Rumann (also known as Sig Ruman), who was also Groucho's nemesis in A Night at the Opera and A Night in Casablanca.

Exterior sequences were filmed at Santa Anita Park. Often considered one of the funniest scenes in the movie, Chico gives Groucho a tip on a horse, but in code, so that Groucho has to buy book after book from Chico to decipher the code.

A Day At The Races

Some of the songs in the movie by Bronislaw Kaper, Walter Jurmann, and Gus Kahn include "Tomorrow Is Another Day,"and "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" (which also featured Ivie Anderson and other members of Duke Ellington's orchestra). Two additional songs were filmed but cut. The first, "Dr. Hackenbush", was sung by Groucho about what a great doctor he is ("No matter what I treat them for they die from something else"). The other, "A Message From The Man In The Moon", is missing from the main part of the film but shows up in the titles and is "reprised" by Groucho for the big, happy ending.

A Day At The Races

The DVD release includes a recently rediscovered audio recording of the song, performed by Allan Jones. The film also features one of the most influential lindy hop dance sequences ever filmed, danced to the "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" number and featuring the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, including Norma Miller and Dorothy Dandridge. The scene has no clear association with the larger narrative film so as to simplify editing the scene from the film for release in the southern American states under racist censorship laws.

A Day At The Races

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Video from "A Day At The Races"

A Day At The Races

Did You Know? - The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in Vaudeville, Broadway, and motion pictures from the early 1900s to around 1950. Five of the Marx Brothers' thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them (Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera) in the top twelve.

The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico, Harpo and Groucho; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers. Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared only in the first five.

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Another clip from the 1937 comedy "A Day At The Races"


A rare photo of the entire Marx family circa 1915. Left to right: Groucho, Gummo,
Minnie, Zeppo, Sam (Frenchie), Chico, Harpo. (from The Marx Brothers Scrapbook).