Harpo Marx: Blinding Talent And A Heart Of Gold

from: popeye-x
05 Oct 2006

I just saw the Marx Brothers' classic "A Day At the Circus". Somewhere in the middle, the black people who work for the circus start singing and Harpo somehow gets the whole thing wound up into a major production number. Its fantastic, kind of based around big band jazz, everyone in it is black except Harpo. Harpo goes absolutely berserk with his manic energy, whipping the whole crew into a frenzy of singing and dancing that is patently jazz, really BLACK to the bone. The children are even in it, playing brass instruments while Harpo is muting their horns with the bulb of his own. At one point, to my astonishment, the black children start rhyming, it blows your mind because its very hip hop. Then Harpo gets on the harp and does this solo, kind of fusing his classical virtuoso thing with the black big band thing. As everyone knows, he is fucking BRILLIANT on the harp, in this movie he actually outdoes himself. The whole time he's playing, the black kids are all around him, flipping out on his playing, and touching the harp like its a magical object, which in Harpo's hands it truly was. When the big production number comes to a close, Harpo is surrounded by the black people and he looks at the camera thru the harp with this simple look on his face, thru it all, he never says a word. Viewing it from 2006, it takes your breath away, it was so far ahead of its time, and Harpo knew it all along.



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