July 31, 1978 12:00 PM

by Charlotte Chandler

The great comedian invited Chandler, an experienced but as it turns out ingenuous interviewer, into the last years of his life. Unfortunately, her book seems to be a record of just about every syllable Marx and friends uttered within her hearing. There is a surprisingly dull 16-page transcript of a dialogue with Woody Allen, and she even quotes Max Hamlisch, father of Groucho’s sometime pianist Marvin, on an absurdly irrelevant dinner in New York: “When we got to the restaurant, the service was slower than usual, so all we had was some cold lox.” There are pointed reminiscences from the surviving brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, and a few mauvais mots from Groucho himself. But the rest is repetitive, unrevealing and full of tense conversation about the bitterness of old age. (Doubleday, $10.95)

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