Humor Risk (lost silent Marx Brothers film; 1921)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

One of the few surviving production stills from the film.

Status: Lost

Humor Risk (aka Humorisk) is a 1921 silent short film by the Marx Brothers.[1] The film is known for being the first on-screen appearance for the legendary comedy group whose talkie films were well received following the breakthrough of their 1929 hit "The Cocoanuts." This film marked the transition of the brothers from successful vaudeville performers to early stars of American film.[2]

A frame from the film, found in 2023.

Little is known about this film beyond some details of production and a brief plot synopsis. In short, the film sought to parody the highly-popular film of 1920 "Humoresque." There is some ambiguity among the online Marx Brothers community on whether or not the leading lady was Esther Ralston or Helen Kane. There is also ambiguity as to exactly what role each brother plays.[3]

It has been long thought that Groucho Marx destroyed the only copy of the film, as he claimed to, which would render the film lost permanently. However, this claim has been contested, and extensive research shows that the film may still exist.[4]


An accurate reconstruction of the film.


  1. IMDb page Retrieved 19 Oct '14.
  2. Wikipedia article. Retrieved 24 Nov '16.
  3. Marxology article. Retrieved 24 Nov '16.
  4. BrentonFilm article exposing some of the complexities of the search for the film. Retrieved 24 Nov '16.