Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Cocoanuts (1929)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Cocoanuts (1929)

In the Marx Brothers' first film:

  • the numerous puns (Groucho and the famous ice-water routine: "Oh, you want some [ice water]. Get some onions, that'll make your eyes (ice) water" and "On this site we're going to build an Eye and Ear Hospital. This is going to be a sight for sore eyes") and one-liners ("Believe me, you gotta get up early if you want to get out of bed")
  • the many insults and attempts by corrupt real estate salesman and leering Hotel de Cocoanut manager Mr. Hammer (Groucho Marx) at courting wealthy widow Mrs. Potter (Margaret Dumont): ("Are you sure your husband's dead?...Tonight, when the moon is sneaking around the clouds, I'll be sneaking around you. I'll meet you tonight under the moon. Oh, I can see you now—you and the moon. You wear a neck-tie so I'll know you" and "Your eyes, your eyes, they shine like the pants of a blue serge suit. That's not a reflection on you—it's on the pants")
  • the crazy 'swapping bedrooms' scene between two adjoining or connecting hotel rooms
  • the non-sequitur reenactment of Willard's famous "Spirit Of 76" painting in the hotel lobby
  • the famous tongue-twisting, precisely-timed "viaduct"/"Why a Duck?" routine between con man guest Chico (Chico Marx) and Hammer with a wet blueprint: (Hammer: "Now here is a little peninsula and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland." Chico: "Why a duck?")
  • the rigged Florida land auction scene led by Hammer: ("I’ll wrestle any man here for five dollars!" and "You can have any kind of a home you want to. You can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stucco"; and "A new boom sweeps clean" - and his personal guarantee: "If these lots don't double in value in a year, I don't know what you can do about it") during which Chico did most of the bidding
  • the "I Want My Shirt" scene after the brothers had played tic-tac-toe on Detective Hennessey's (Basil Ruysdael) undershirt

Groucho (Mr. Hammer) with Wealthy Widow (Margaret Dumont)

Swapped Bedrooms Sequence

"Why a Duck?" Routine

Rigged Land Auction

"I Want My Shirt"


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