Brain Donors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Brain Donors
Promobrainposter.jpg
VHS cover
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Produced by Gil Netter
James D. Brubaker
Written by James Kevin McGuinness (story)
George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind (screenplay "A Night at the Opera")
Pat Proft (screenplay)
Starring John Turturro
Mel Smith
Bob Nelson
George De La Pena
John Savident
Spike Alexander
Juliana Donald
Nancy Marchand
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography David M. Walsh
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • April 17, 1992 (1992-04-17) (U.S.)
Running time 79 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget Unknown
Box office $918,239 (USA)

Brain Donors (1992) is an American comedy movie released by Paramount Pictures, loosely based on the Marx Brothers comedy, A Night at the Opera (coincidentally the Brothers' first film they did after leaving Paramount). The film co-stars John Turturro, Mel Smith, and Bob Nelson in the approximations of the Groucho, Chico, and Harpo roles, with Nancy Marchand in the Margaret Dumont dowager role.

The project was filmed as Lame Ducks; however, when the film's producers (David and Jerry Zucker) left for another studio, Paramount scrapped the publicity campaign, changed the title, and withdrew the film after its initial screenings. Brain Donors attracted attention on the home video market[citation needed], which has resulted in a cult following according to its screenwriter, Pat Proft[citation needed].

Plot[edit]

After the death of tycoon and philanthropist Oscar Winterhaven Oglethorpe, a ballet company is founded in his name by his widow, Lillian (Nancy Marchand). The formation of the ballet company leads to ambulance-chasing attorney Roland T. Flakfizer (John Turturro) vying against Oglethorpe's former attorney Edmund Lazlo (John Savident) to be director of the company. Lazlo is chosen to be director of the company after signing the greatest ballet dancer in the world, "The Great Volare" (George de la Pena) to dance for the company. Flakfizer, however — with assistance from his two associates Rocco (Mel Smith) and Jacques (Bob Nelson) — earns a spot as co-director by wooing the wealthy widow and by signing the company's leading ballerina (Juliana Donald, billed as Juli Donald) and her dancer boyfriend Alan Grant (Spike Alexander). The ensuing struggle between Flakfizer and Lazlo leads to comic hijinks, including a badger game involving a chorus girl (Teri Copley), and an opening-night performance ludicrously sabotaged by Flakfizer and his cohorts.

Cast and characters[edit]

Reaction[edit]

Richard Harrington in his review for the Washington Post wrote, "It's all very busy, and in Zucker style there seem to be 10 jokes per minute, but most fly fast and fall flat."[1] Mick LaSalle's review for the San Francisco Chronicle felt that the film was "an audacious attempt actually to make them like they used to - with no apologies, no nostalgia. It's no masterpiece, but neither was every Marx Brothers movie."[2] In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Brain Donors will stop at very little to get its laughs, and Mr. Turturro has just the right silliness for the occasion."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harrington, Richard (April 18, 1992). "Lamebrained Donors". Washington Post. 
  2. ^ LaSalle, Mick (April 18, 1992). "Donors Right on the Marx". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (April 18, 1992). "A Night At the Ballet Run Amok". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]