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A Girl in Every Port (1952) was Groucho Marx's second solo outing for RKO, following Double Dynamite (1951), and his third feature without fellow Marx Brothers Chico and Harpo. (The first was Copacabana, 1947, a United Artists release). Groucho and William Bendix play trouble-making sailors who spend most of their time in their ship's brig. Bendix receives a small inheritance and decides to spend it on a broken-down racehorse. When Groucho learns that the horse has a much more successful twin owned by waitress Marie Wilson, he and Bendix pull a switcheroo in order to clean up at the track. At one point, both horses end up stabled on board their Navy ship - an indication of the movie's wackiness quotient.
A Girl in Every Port did not make much of an impression on critics. Variety's reviewer was one of the kinder ones: "The zany plot is nicely paced to keep it on an okay fun level," he wrote. Audiences, too, were indifferent, even though Groucho Marx was still a major cultural icon and even appeared on the cover of Time six weeks before the movie opened.
It was on the set of A Girl in Every Port that Groucho met Eden Hartford, who three years later became his third (and final) wife. Eden was on set visiting her sister Dee Hartford, who has a small part in the movie. Dee Hartford, incidentally, later married director Howard Hawks.
Groucho's next feature film appearance wouldn't be until 1957, when he made a cameo in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (a comedy classic) and had a role in The Story of Mankind (an all-star comedy disaster). The latter film also starred Harpo and Chico Marx, though the three Marx Brothers never appeared in any scenes together.
Producer: Irwin Allen, Irving Cummings, Jr.
Director: Chester Erskine
Screenplay: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Chester Erskine
Cinematography: Nicholas Musuraca
Film Editing: Ralph Dawson
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Walter E. Keller
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Groucho Marx (Benjamin Franklin Linn), Marie Wilson (Jane Sweet), William Bendix (Timothy Dunnovan), Don DeFore (Berg Sedgwick), Gene Lockhart (Garvey), Dee Hartford (Millicent Temple).
BW-87m. Closed captioning.
by Jeremy Arnold