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4,9 von 5 Sternen
29
4,9 von 5 Sternen
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am 19. August 1999
I lost a lot of sleep the week I was reading this. I would decide to read a chapter before turning out the light. Three hours, and several chapters later I would force myself to put it down so I would at least get a little sleep before work. The writing is wonderful. It is a collaboration with Roland Barber, but the voice feels like Harpo throughout. The stories of his early days on the road with his brothers- their mother the dynamo keeping them at it- are fascinating to read. He had amazing, interesting friends, the Round Table folks, George Burns. His later family life is terrific to read about. It is a deep book, and a beautiful book. Funny, and touching without being smarmy. A great, great book.
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am 16. Dezember 1997
After reading the first 2 pages of this book, I handed it to my wife, asking her to read those same 2 pages to see if her reaction would be as strong as mine. I suppose it was, because I had to wait for her to finish the book, all 600 pages, before I could resume. Once I got the book back and began reading, I understood why my wife had seen fit to so brazenly commandeer it from me as she did. It turned out to be one of the most engrossing books I've ever picked up, from page 1 to the very end. I devoured the book in record time, finishing the last handful of chapters in a 6-hour read-a-thon on a lazy Sunday afternoon/evening. I was simply unable to put it down. Harpo, who never spoke a word on film, turned out to be a fascinating storyteller. He lived a very full life, and recounts it with enormous humor, candor, charm, and what I perceived to be total honesty. He never seems to go out of his way to make you laugh (though he is very funny) as his brother Groucho did in his auto-bio "Groucho Speaks", an
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am 13. April 2000
It's only because Harpo is so likeable as a person that I give three stars. Since Groucho never went in depth about the Marx Brothers in any of his books, I was hoping Harpo would provide more insight. Unfortunately, Harpo was very hung up about his social status, and his friendships with the Hollywood elite. Way too many pages are given to his relationship with Aleck Woolcott, and the endless stories of pinochle, croquet, pinchie winchie, etc.
The book does provide some interesting history, and what life was like during the vaudeville years. Again, this man probably has to be one of the nicest people who ever lived. He had a great life, and was a wonderful family man.
Overall, I recommend the book if you are interested in his personality. If you want to know how the Marx Brothers got along or any other in-depth detail on them, you will be disappointed.
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am 10. Oktober 1999
I first read this book over 20 years ago, and have re-read it 3 or 4 times. If I tried to explain all the reasons I love this book, it would take up too much space. "Harpo Speaks" is interesting from the first page to the last. Its funny, and Harpo's deep down decency and goodness comes through the whole book. I felt sorry for him sometimes, but he never felt sorry for himself. He saw the humor in almost everything. He never lost his child-like sense of wonder or mischief. I dare anyone to read this book and come away without deep admiration for the "silent" Marx brother.
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am 12. Juli 2000
This has always been one of my favorite books--I read it on interlibrary loan 30 years ago while it was out of print. I was delighted to find it in print again, and bought it to bring back one of the bright spots of my younger days. It was even more enjoyable to me in middle-age than as a teen. It is a history lesson, and a fountain of belly laughs. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the Marx Brothers or just a good healthy laugh.
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am 19. November 1998
_Harpo Speaks_ is deffinitely one of the best books I have ever read by anyone, anywhere, not just among books about the Marx Brothers, but among books on any subject. Even though it was several hundreds of pages long, I wanted several hundred more pages when I got to the end. It was so totally engrosing. Harpo seems to have an almost inexhaustable supply of hilarious true stories. I wonder why more of these hysterically funny tales and practical jokes were not used in Marx Brothers movies. There are, it must be said, also several serious passages -- some heartbreaking, some suspenseful, some inspirational. There are parts of this book which read like a wonderful manual on how to have a great marriage and adopt and raise four great kids, which is exactly what Harpo and Susan did. Harpo was an extremely interesting person who surrounded himself with many extremely interesting friends. Harp has many lessons to teach on how to get the most out of every moment, and out of life. This book makes you wish you had met Harpo; it makes you wish you had been one of his friends. He shares so much in this book that is personal that reading it makes you feel almost as if you are one of his friends. Rowland Barber helped Harp get his great story across in a fairly orderly manner, but the content of the book is all from Harpo's fascinating mind, big heart, and his numerous, diverse, extaordinary experiences. This book is about Harp's and his brothers' career(s) in show business, but it is about so much more than that; there are amazing true stories about poverty & affluence, tough urban street life, Vaudville, Broadway, Hollywood, international espionage, love, family, friendship, life & death, crime & punishment, failure & success, anti-Semitism, and more. There are also some wonderful photographs.
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am 8. Juli 1999
Simply the most heartwarming book you'll ever read. Before I read it, I thought Harpo Marx was the funniest man on film. I still think so, but now I know he was much more: he was one of the most gallant, courageous, unpretentious & delightful men who ever lived. This books tells how: he suffered childhood poverty & learned from it the joy of simple pleasures; he suffered anti-Semitism & learned from it generosity of spirit; he suffered a lack of commanding physical & vocal presence & learned from it the gift of bringing laughter to millions through the art of mime. This book shows you what it was like to be really poor - poor enough to quit school without finishing the second grade; poor enough to start work at the age of 11 for the pay of 1 dried prune an hour; poor enough to have the entire stock of sports accessories for the whole family consist of a solitary secondhand ice skate. But the one thing you WON'T learn from this book is how to be sorry for yourself. Harpo never managed that in his life. He has only love & admiration for the parents who battled to raise him & his brothers in such adversity. The one great thing he learned from his father, he says, was 'the futility of anger'. It's a lesson he put to good use in his life. Certainly there isn't an angry word in this book. Harpo's friends in adult life were brilliant but often eccentric, even bizarre, yet his large tolerance looks past their sometimes demanding exterior & finds the warmth & humanity beneath. His tales of Hollywood celebrities are hilarious but never malicious. The only person Harpo has a truly bad word for is Hitler: in everyone else, he manages to find some hidden virtue that renders them forgivable. Harpo is the best friend we always wanted but could never quite find. If I could only take three books with me to a desert island, HARPO SPEAKS! would be two of them.
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They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but it was the cover that caught my eye in the library fifteen years ago. I was in high school and looking for light, entertaining reading. I was not a big Marx Brothers fan, yet I was compelled by this very recognizable picture on the dust jacket. I did not expect to be so moved, as I now see how others were, by his words. I, also, could not put it down and felt sad as I neared the end. During college as part of team training, the age old question was posed = "If you were on a deserted island, what three books would you want with you?" Without hesitating, I answered, "Harpo Speaks" and proceeded to explain why, listing all the reasons which are posted in these reviews. Everyone looked at me with puzzlement yet I was happy to share this bit of information. I have since read it four times and have enthusiastically loaned it out to several other people. I was thrilled to find thes! e reviews and discover that there are others who understand why I would read it over and over (and don't even have to be on a deserted island to do it!)
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am 18. November 1999
....you'll laugh , you'll cry , you'll throw a Gookie ! Harpo turns out to be everything we'd hoped him to be and more . Though he enjoyed being a beloved mascot to the celebrity intellectuals of 30's NYC , his fame has outlasted them all. The great surprise is finding out he had a hilarious 'verbal' sense of humor , too! My rating: 4 honks and 2 legs up.
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am 9. November 1999
Harpo Speaks! is a wonderfully detailed and humorous description of his life as a struggling boy actor in the 1900's, his burgeoning career of the 1910's, and greater success and acclaim thereafter. Unlike his "kid brother with the moustache", Harpo was not at all averse to providing detailed autobiographical information, or at furnishing a clear chronological context with respect to the rest of the world. Groucho's autobiography was funny and wonderful but left me wanting a clearer and more cohesive chronology. Harpo's writing doesn't have anywhere near the immediate humorous punch that characterized Groucho's, yet most of the situations described are quite funny enough in their own right to carry the day regardless of the writing style.
If you love all things Marx, read Groucho's autobio first and then read Harpo Speaks! to fill in the details.
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