A split rating really makes more sense here. The performances themselves get all the stars in the universe, while the manner in which the material is converted from a film soundtrack into a compact disc release would be lucky to receive any stars at all, and really is more deserving of an extended torture session at the hands of Harpo and Chico Marx. The collection's title is misleading, as this is actually a collection of the most well-known musical numbers from five of the Marx Brothers' films. The label already has soundtrack releases advertised for The Cocoanuts and Horse Feathers, yet large excerpts from these films show up on this collection as well. The biggest problem is the sound quality, as these are the soundtracks to vintage films and sound here as if they were recorded straight off someone's television set. Whether this company is engaged in bootlegging practices or only guilty of preparing its master tapes with the same level of care as the average pirate is a moot point by the time someone purchases one of these discs and gets it home. Sheer love of the original material and the desire to hear numbers such as "Freedonia Hymn" blasting out of a stereo system may override the technical complaints in the end, but they have to be made. It is as much as a "buyer beware" situation as it is in the case of the swamp real estate the brothers are attempting to sell you, if not more. As far as hearing excerpts from film dialogue alongside the songs, it works beautifully and, in the case of Duck Soup, the results are similar to a record by the Firesign Theatre, who no doubt were influenced greatly by the Marx boys and this film in particular.
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