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El Casino Macabre

James Morone: Rebellion of the Rich, 21 June 2007

Wall Street: A Cultural History 
by Steve Fraser.
Faber, 656 pp., £12.99, April 2006, 0 571 21829 6
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Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors 
by Charles S. Maier.
Harvard, 373 pp., £18.95, May 2006, 0 674 02189 4
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... plumbers and the women in beauty parlours. The Street shed its moral stigma and became fun; Groucho Marx speculated on the strength of hot tips from an elevator boy. ‘A Wall Street persuasion,’ Fraser concludes, ‘seeped deep down into the cultural bedrock.’ A long boom lured the people into the game. Industrial production rose 50 per ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... Garland, Henry Hathaway, Van Heflin, Fritz Lang, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Burgess Meredith, Groucho Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank Sinatra, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor, Franchot Tone, Walter Wanger, Keenan Wynn, William Wyler, Orson ...


Evelyn Toynton: Weekly Drills , 13 September 2018

... with a fierceness I’d never seen in adults before. It was the first time I’d heard the name Marx, except in the context of the Marx brothers, and I knew it wasn’t Groucho they were talking about. They gesticulated, they leapt to their feet, one of them jabbed another in the chest ...

Hug me till you drug me

Alex Harvey: Aldous Huxley, 5 May 2016

After Many a Summer 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 314 pp., £8.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 035 5
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Time Must Have a Stop 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 305 pp., £9.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 034 8
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The Genius and the Goddess 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 127 pp., £8.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 036 2
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... to anyone (it’s hard to get away with satirising success in the States). He suggested to Harpo Marx one evening that they make a picture about the real Marx brothers. Groucho could play Karl, Harpo would be Engels, Chico Bakunin. Harpo replied: ‘They don’t do films like that ...


Sylvia Clayton, 5 April 1984

Something Out There 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Cape, 203 pp., £8.50, March 1984, 0 224 02189 3
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My Search for Warren Harding 
by Robert Plunket.
Robin Clark, 247 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 86072 071 3
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West of Sunset 
by Dirk Bogarde.
Allen Lane, 248 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 9780713916324
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... first novel, is described on the jacket as ‘The Aspern Papers somehow performed by the Brothers Marx’. The bones of the plot do come from the same Henry James novella currently on view as a play at the Haymarket Theatre, but the comedy is not anarchic in the style of Groucho and Harpo – it is precise and ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... about modernity’. (But of what kind? A lesbian Adorno or a lesbian Heidegger? A lesbian Groucho Marx? What about Harpo?) At the same time, however, such a premise is perhaps rather too advanced, not to mention vague, for those who have yet to wrap their heads around sapphism in its more local and earthbound incarnations. Indeed, from one harsh ...

Communism’s Man of Letters

J.P. Stern, 26 September 1991

Georg Lukács: Life, Thought and Politics 
by Arpad Kadarkay.
Blackwell, 538 pp., £45, June 1991, 1 55786 114 5
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... party’s composition is not consistent with my conscience’ – reminds one more of Groucho than of Karl Marx; anyway, Kadarkay doesn’t think it was the real reason. Nor, however, is there certain evidence that Lukács was tipped off about Khrushchev’s decision to crush the revolution with tanks. But since ...


Alan Brien, 5 December 1985

Orson Welles 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 562 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 297 78476 5
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The Making of ‘Citizen Kane’ 
by Robert Carringer.
Murray, 180 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 7195 4248 0
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Spike Milligan 
by Pauline Scudamore.
Granada, 318 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 246 12275 7
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Nancy Mitford 
by Selina Hastings.
Hamish Hamilton, 274 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 241 11684 8
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Rebel: The Short Life of Esmond Romilly 
by Kevin Ingram.
Weidenfeld, 252 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 297 78707 1
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The Mitford Family Album 
by Sophia Murphy.
Sidgwick, 160 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 283 99115 1
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... an essence only Medieval schoolmen could isolate, veering at one extreme into the territory of the Marx Brothers, at the other into the land of the Seven Dwarfs. They are more numerous than the Groucho clan, for, even with Zeppo and Gummo, you can’t get more than five – though I sometimes believe in the Sixth ...

Ahead lies – what?

R.W. Johnson, 12 March 1992

Paradigms Lost: The Post Cold War Era 
edited by Chester Hartman and Pedro Vilanova.
Pluto, 205 pp., £10.95, November 1991, 0 7453 0638 1
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The Crisis of Socialism in Europe 
edited by Christiane Lemke and Gary Marks.
Duke, 253 pp., £37.95, March 1992, 0 8223 1197 6
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... jostling them uncomfortably in what now seems to be a contracting political space. Like the Marx brothers, the Left finds itself plunged into reverie: do you remember when we used to talk about the means of production? The commanding heights? I remember when this was all dance-floor, sighs Groucho. The beginning of a ...

Kafka at Las Vegas

Alan Bennett, 23 July 1987

... that have a feeling of the early movies. He died before the talkies came in and so before the Marx Brothers, but there is an exchange in Horse Feathers that sums up Kafka’s relations with his father: Beppo: Dad, I’m proud to be your son. Groucho: Son, you took the words out of my mouth. I’m ashamed to be your ...

Bites from the Bearded Crocodile

G. Cabrera Infante, 4 June 1981

... in the strictest confidence: ‘What a coarse peasant ignorant woman I am! I always thought that Marx and Engels were a single philosopher. You know, like Ortega y Gasset.’ More relevant, however, were Haydée Santamaria’s revelations when she came back from her first trip to Russia and confided radiantly: ‘I met Ekaterina Furtseva in Moscow. You ...

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