The Anatomy of Harpo Marx
"The Anatomy of Harpo Marx is an effusive and provocative celebration of the potential of nonverbal communication, lying somewhere between poetry and criticism, history and diary, polemic and self-analysis. It is also funny, smart, often revelatory, and always sharp. It is, for all its analytical depth, a great read."--Michael Long, author of Beautiful Monsters: Imagining the Classic in Musical Media
"Behind that face and in Harpo's body, Wayne Koestenbaum finds more material than existed in New York's fabled garment district. Koestenbaum's work is compelling and surprising; his detailed explorations, gifts to readers wondering about what lies beneath our culture's surfaces. Read Wayne Koestenbaum for his exuberant embrace of the unrecognized or ignored; for his pleasure in explaining the inexplicable, and for his delight in deciphering Elizabeth Taylor's cleavage. Read him now for unveiling the most enigmatic of presences, Harpo Marx. --Lynne Tillman, author of American Genius, A Comedy
Pinky, the pointing scapegoat, lags behind: Duck soup (1933)
The mad mohel's goo-goo eyes of monomaniacal attunement: A night at the opera
Poppy power, or, the thick-enough art of zombie dumbfoundment: Animal crackers (1930)
Later astonishments. Fake dead Jew as cute zoo-idiot: Room service (1938)
Pass Punchy's humiliated buddy huddle: At the circus (1939)
Freeze Rusty's anal rage in a cozy void: Go west (1940)
Lonely wacky's incremental lines of flight: The big store (1941)
The bubble-blowing demarcator tickles totality: A night in Casablanca (1946)
Bulge, glaze, pause, shock; or, the bushy-haired ragpicker's burnt offering: Love happy (1950)
The idiot tumbles back to the beginning of time. The undeliverable ice of pinky's mom-mouth: Horse feathers (1932)
The kippering, bopping, shushing, bear-hugging, beard-pulling bustle: Monkey business (1931)
The pretzel glimmer-eye of stuffy's stuttering surge: A day at the races
Motion picture actors and actresses
From the critics
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