All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

I'm A Marxist

My father has a lot to answer for, not least, my adoration for most things celluloid. I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd on TV. Sadly, many of the kids of today don't seem to be interested in this kind of movie genre. Everything has to be either animated, or violent (or both) if they are going to pay it any attention. Maybe one day, future generations will discover what they're missing.

My kids though are different. They watch Laurel and Hardy and Tali in particular sits there giggling her socks off. The kids not yet been introduced to Chaplin, which is not a bad thing. Sir Charles is an acquired taste, whom I think needs to be tried at a more advanced age. I am a great fan of his, but only because I saw his feature films as a teenager - and immediately fell in love with Modern Times.

Having tasted the aforementioned comics, I didn't realise that I had a treat in store (i.e.) the films made by the Marx Brothers. I remember seeing many of them when I was about 16 and I found myself, at times, nearly choking with laughter. Groucho's hysterical asides, Harpo's lunatic antics and Chico's incredibly angular way of looking at things were a perfect recipe to make me chortle, again and again and again.

Shortly after we got married, we stayed at Dana's grandmother's flat in Tel Aviv. Dana introduced me to one of the books (and what an introduction it was!) in the library, which I devoured in a record amount of time (for me) and this was Harpo's autobiography: Harpo Speaks!

This was a frequently uproarious memoir by someone whom I didn't know that much about.

In the book, he managed to do something that virtually no-one else has ever done (including even the Beatles) - fall in love with another man. I came away with absolute adoration for Harpo and praying that when it is my time to go up to the great garden in the sky, I have the opportunity to meet this amazing individual (here's a little bit of trivia - did you know that, in his will, he donated his harp to the State of Israel?).

It was said that everyone loved Harpo and I can certainly understand why. He comes over as a total fruitcake but at the same time, blessed with a heart of gold. What a guy!

We took the book with us, as there was no way I was going to be parted from it (and Dana's grandmother was gracious enough to let us take it) but alas, it fell apart over the years. Finally, I recently bought a new(ish) copy off Amazon, which I am currently reading.

My interest in the Marx Bros has been re-kindled of late, as a result of purchasing most of their movies on DVD. With the summer going on, I am re-watching them and having the time of my life, laughing through classics like Duck Soup, A Day At The Races and A Night At The Opera.

Most people tend to watch the movies to see Groucho, but for me, I experience sheer joy every single time Harpo enters the stage. I've shown A Night At The Opera to my girls and although they can't quite understand the quick-fire gags, they've already understood what their dad sees in Harpo, with the icing on the cake being his fantastic scenes behind a harp (which he said were the only ones where he was truly himself).

Yes, I am an out and out Marxist! Please do yourself a favour and if you can, watch a MB movie today. Entry to our club is free and very, very rewarding.

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