|Duck Soup [VHS]
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For those who love the Marx Brothers (Animal Crackers, A Night at the Opera), that this movie is side-slappingly funny is a given. For those new to the Marx Brothers, this is the perfect introduction to Groucho, Chico, and Harpo (and even Zeppo), three of the funniest men to ever grace the screen. Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is the dictator of the small nation Freedonia. The country is a disaster, in financial disrepair, and the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) is its benefactor and the object of Firefly's shrewd affection. When the leader of the neighboring Sylvania decides he's in love with Mrs. Teasdale, Firefly declares war. The movie, from 1933, is tremendously satirical, a play on politics and war. (As Firefly says to a hapless young solider, "You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.") Full of witty lines, great sight gags, and even some snazzy song numbers ("Freedonia's Going to War" is the hilarious declaration of battle), this is surely one of the best--if not the best--the Marx Brothers have to offer. --Jenny Brown
- "I'll see my lawyer about this as soon as he graduates from law school."
Rufus T. Firefly: And now, members of the cabinet we'll take up old business.
Cabinet Member: I wish to discuss the tariff.
Rufus T. Firefly: Sit down, that's new business. No old business? Very well we'll take up new business.
Cabinet Member: Now, about that tariff . . .
Rufus T. Firefly: Too late, that's old business already. Sit down.
The Marx Brothers are their usual zany selves in Leo McCarey's "Duck Soup." Be sure to fasten your seat belts before taking in this film for the gags and jokes will not slow down for any viewer.
The leaders of Freedonia approach the wealthy Mrs. Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) to ask her if she would be open to the idea of donating twenty million dollars to the financially-troubled country. She agrees on the condition that Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) be appointed the new leader of Freedonia. He gets the job and quickly makes a mess of things. Thanks to Firefly's insulting behavior, war has broken out with neighboring Sylvania.
"Duck Soup" is Marx Brothers comedy at its finest. The satire is sharp, the physical comedy is perfectly timed, and the quips come fast and furious. Groucho is hilarious as the reckless and incompetent leader of Freedonia and Harpo Marx and Chico Marx are terrific as a pair of bumbling spies. The supporting cast is filled with good sports with Dumont, Louis Calhern, and Edgar Kennedy turning in some great work as the victims of the Brothers' humor. Decision-making at the highest levels of government oftentimes have an absurd aspect to them and watching "Duck Soup" makes you seriously wonder whether events in the real world have been shaped in the same manner as the events in this film. Do not be surprised if your lunch hour is shortened by twenty minutes in the near future in order to help reduce your workday!...more info
- 2.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
I know it's sacriligious to even hint at this, but I don't think Duck Soup is a very good film: its "anarchy" means it has no real plot, Harpo's antics are no more clever than much of what Jim Carrey does, and even the immortal Groucho delivers his witticisms in a flat and perfunctory manner--it says a lot about the film that its best gag (the mirror scene) was stolen from Charlie Chaplin....more info
- hail hail groucho!!!!!
amazing quick fire gags from groucho , and slapstick from pinky and chicolini. this is as good as a movie can possibly get!!!it has got all the classic scenes including the late arrival of groucho at the top of the movie and the lemonade stand sequence which will make you laugh outloud!!!!!!!!!...more info
- One of cinema's greatest comedies
The 1933 comedy "Duck Soup" is arguably the finest effort of the Marx Brothers as they successfully bring their zany vaudevillian antics from the stage to the screen. After 73 years this hysterical film holds up incredibly well.
The film commences with a musical number featuring a heavily costumed cast of hundreds heralding the impending arrival of newly installed president and leader of Fredonia, Rufus T. Firefly, played by the wise cracking Groucho. Firefly's ascension had been fueled by a generous donation of 20 million dollars to the bankrupt treasury by wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale played by frequent Marx foil Margaret Dumont.
Soon enough foreign ambassador Trentino from neighboring Sylvania played by Louis Calhern arrives with aspirations of goading Fredonia into war. He recruits two spies Chicolini and Pinky played by Chico and Harpo to help with his scheme. The arrival of the two immediately rachets up the mayhem as they both brightly shine in their comedy routines.
While the film is a laugh riot interspersed with some musical numbers there are some segments that are notable for their comedic excellence. Several routines featuring Chico and Harpo and lemonade salesman and master of the slow burn Edgar Kennedy are uproariously funny. The mirror routine in Mrs. Teasdale's mansion when Harpo and Chico are trying to steal war plans from her safe is a comedy classic....more info
- A Fantastic Movie!
Okay, comedy is subjective. This is my opinion and you may not share my sense of humour. Let's get that out of the way first. This is a FANTASTIC movie - what's not to love? The motorcycle and sidecar gags alone are worth the price of admission. The peanut and lemonade stands. The horse in bed with Harpo. So much to say about Duck Soup... A wonderful film....more info
- Great movie but lip-sync problems
I won't add to what everyone else has said about this great film - but my copy of the DVD has lip sync problems that start at Cicollini's trial and run through almost to the end. I got it cheap so I won't complain but I think Image should have been more careful regardless of the price....more info
- Hail, Hail the Marx Brothers! The Marxist view on war
My favorite Marx Brothers movie is "A Night at the Opera," but this political satire, which was banned in Italy by Mussolini, is a very close second. It is definitely the best (and last) Marx Brothers movie with Zeppo, for what that is worth. As Groucho later pointed out, Zeppo's roles as the group's straight man were thankless. It was not that Zeppo lacked talent, but rather that he had three older brothers.
"In Duck Soup," the mythical nation of Freedonia is in trouble and Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) insists that the reigns of power be turned over to Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho). Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) of the neighboring country of Sylvania employs a couple of spies, Chicolini (Chico) and Pinky (Harpo), to shadow Firefly. Oh, and Firefly has a secretary, Bob Rolland (Zeppo). Many of the most famous sequences by the Brothers Marx are found in this film: (1) The mirror sequence between Groucho and Harpo (if it had been Groucho and Chico instead Groucho would have asked "Are you my reflection" and Chico would have answered "Sure"); (2) Harpo's encounter with street vendor Edgar Kennedy, master of the slow-burn (" "); (3) The "We're Going to War" take off on 1930s musicals ("They've got guns, we've got guns, all God's chil'en got guns"); (4) Groucho offering Chico the position of Secretary of War ("Sold!"); (5) Harpo offering Grouch a ride in the sidecar of his motorcyle ("This is the third trip I've taken today and I still haven't gone anywhere"); (6) Zeppo introducing the new leader of Freedonia, Rufus T. Fireflay ("Whatever it is, I'm against it."); and much, much more, including the lovely Rachel Torres as the lovely Vera Marcal!
"Duck Soup" was helped by several factors. With director Leo McCarey the Marx Brothers finally had a first rate director who understood how to stage and shoot the action. The Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby screenplay does one of the better jobs of integrating the various comic routines into the overall story. After an absence of two films Margaret Dumont was back where she belonged, trying to stay above the insanity with no success whatsoever. Louis Calhern is arguably the ideal villain for the Marx Brothers because in scene after scene he plays it absolutely straight, without losing his dignity or becoming laughable (similar to the marvelous job by Kitty Carlisle in "A Night at the Opera").
Final tidbit: When the town of Fredonia, New York complained about its name being used in the film (the extra "e" did not matter for some reason," Groucho shot back: "Change the name of your town, it's hurting our picture." And, as always, please remember that the correct pronunciation of Leonard's stage name is "Chick-o" not "Cheek-o." The man liked the ladies and was not a young Hispanic male....more info
- Dialog Highlights This Marx Bros. Gem
Well, here we are with another wild and hilarious Marx Brothers farce, this time with Groucho taking over a small country and winding up in war with a neighboring one.
There really isn't much of a story but with the Marx Brothers that doesn't matter. Many times their movies were vehicles for their vaudeville acts of funny lines, slapstick gags and musical talent.
Two differences in this film than most others from the boys: 1 - Zeppo has a number of lines. Usually, he's the almost-forgotten brother in this foursome, either with little to say or not even in the film. 2 - Harpo doesn't play the harp, but he gets in on his share of the gags, which are always dominated by Groucho and Chico (my personal favorite).
Fantastic dialog makes this version one of the best of them all. There are just tons of funny (and, yes, very dated) lines in this movie and having Duck Soup out on DVD making the sound clearer helps, too. Lots of laughs...more info
- Our teenager loved "Duck Soup"
Our teenaged son loves classic movies and comedy (Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Allan Sherman, etc.), so my wife and I decided he simply had to see "Duck Soup." I don't think I've ever heard him laugh so loud, so often, as he did for this Marx brothers' classic comedy. Groucho Marx is in peak form, and some viewers may notice where Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce got some of his antics for the MASH television series.
By all means, give your kids a hefty dose of humor and some cinematic history at the same time!...more info
- Undiluted Marxian Madness
If you prefer the Marx Brothers without sappy romantic leads and ponderous musical numbers, look no further than "Duck Soup" (1933). Director Leo McCarey dispenses with the extra baggage and focuses on nonstop anarchy in this classic political satire. Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo remain a formidable comic machine as they unleash a barrage of one-liners and sight gags - highlighted by the immortal mirror scene. Members of Congress should be forced to sit through this cinematic masterpiece at least once a year. "Hail Freedonia!"...more info
- Marxist Masterpiece
Picture quality on this DVD is very good but the sound could be better....more info
- The Unstoppable Jerks
I was browsing some lists of Best Comedies of All Time, and this one popped up on more than a several. Since I was a kid, I've always been a big fan of The Three Stooges, but not so much the Marx brothers. I know the Stooges, on the whole, are a dumber, more violent group of comedians, but I also liked them more as people. Of course, they weren't often kind to each other, but they never struck out to offend or hurt, only doing so by their stupid belligerence. I know I'm making a fine point here. I'm just trying to explain why, no matter how much I laugh, I find the Marx brothers to be complete jerks.
The unstoppable jerk is often a staple in entertainment -- just take a look at the work of Jim Carrey or Bugs Bunny or David Letterman -- but this movie is pretty much based on their unstoppable jerk-ness. Groucho portrays Rufus T. Firefly (aka Groucho Marx) as the man chosen to lead the country of Fredonia. Lord knows why. He's late to the induction ceremony, and once there goes about insulting and confusing people. When every line of the script is a joke, you're bound to get some that miss. But there are also quite a few that are absolutely brilliant. Enough to make me pause the movie until I'm laughed out.
As Rufus mis-leads the country, an ambassador of a rival country -- Sylvania -- hires two spies to watch Rufus's every move. The spies, Chico (going by the name of Chicolini) and Harpo. Chico tries a couple of times to actually do the job, but he is often thwarted by Harpo, who is either some kind of malevolent pixie or mildly retarded and unhappy about it. In spite of royally bumbling up their first assignment (they may or may not have followed the wrong guy), the ambassador sends these two back out to get information on him. In the meantime, for no reason whatsoever, they torment a local street vendor.
The plot is secondary anyway. I know. It's like complaining about a lack of a story arc in JACKASS. And if JACKASS is the modern equivalent of the unstoppable jerk genre as pioneered by these guys, well, then I'll take these guys any day....more info
- The Secretary of War is Out of Order
By far and without a doubt, the FUNNIEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. Duck Soup is 100% Marx Brothers, with no sub-plots to slow them up. Groucho, Chico and Harpo are all in top form. Margaret Dumont is at her peak. Edgar Kennedy is outstanding. Duck Soup is a political satire. Groucho is head of state. Chico and Harpo are spies. Every scene is a classic. The best of the best might be when Chico and Harpo get into Margaret Dumont's house to steal the war plans. It includes the famous mirror scene. Duck Soup also has the perfect ending. GREAT. GREAT. GREAT. PERFECTION!!!...more info
- The best comedy of all time?
Duck Soup by the Marx Brothers is probably the best comedy ever produced. A flop at the time, it had a renaissance in the 60's, pot smoking and LSD might have had something to do with this. I doubt it, because this film is funny after repeat viewings. I cannot pass this by whenever is is on TCM. ...more info
- What a strange, remarkable, hilarious movie this is....
Duck Soup (1933) - Leo McCarey
The Marx Brothers are almost totally unique in the history of film, and when I say unique, I'm not even referring to how innovative they are. True, they definitely developed a particular style of comedy that I would say is probably now the dominant form in all of American comedy. How would I characterize it? It's difficult, but it includes a combination of anarchy, irony, and self-awareness. I paraphrase Roger Ebert when he states that you can clearly see what the Marx Bros. influenced, but its difficult to see what influenced them, other than the rich tradition of music hall.
However, again, when I say that they are totally unique, I'm referring to something else. If one notices carefully at all the groups and individuals that the Marx Brothers influenced (Mel Brooks, Monty Python, Airplane, etc.), they'll notice one common trait: Despite the anarchic worlds created in these movies, it's almost always the entire world that is anarchic. Mel Brooks and Monty Python, in particular, are contained in ridiculous worlds that have there own sense of ridiculous logic. The Marx Brothers, on the other hand, are the only anarchic and ridiculous individuals in a relatively normal and sane world (although in Duck Soup sometimes it seems as if the rest of the world is the crazy one, which is hugely ironic in itself). What does this create? Well, in Monty Python and Mel Brooks (again, irregardless of how chaotic they may seem), there is a strange sense of coherency, almost as if we could follow along their logic. This coherency is almost completely nonexistent in the early Marx Brothers films for Paramount (MGM tried to enforce conformity and coherency into the Marx Brothers unfortunately). Thus, the movies, although ridiculously hilarious, are also some of the most bizarre, daring, and yes, experimental films ever created. In fact, I would even claim that its almost avant-garde. No wonder the famous French surrealist and theorist Antonin Artaud, who is insane by all accounts and purposes, felt such a strong connection to the work of the Marx Brothers. Regarding this particularly interesting trait, I would say that W.C. Fields is closest, but his films are incoherent more from the standpoint of plot, but the sense of logic within the world is more relatable. I mean, W.C. Fields never exploded into completely random tangents that made absolutely no sense outside of themselves.
Oh, and I guess I should talk about the actual movie now. Duck Soup is the best the Marx Brothers have to offer because it portrays them at their absolutely most chaotic and funny. Oh, and there is no random instrument playing, which a lot of people like, but I just feel blocks the overall momentum of the films. So yeah, this movie is an all time classic and is filled with all time classic moments and one-liners, so definitely buy it....more info
- Satire and slapstick, together at last
DUCK SOUP is arguably the most famous of the Marx Brothers films and contains much of their most well-known material. The mirror skit, the Paul Revere routine, the lemonade stand sequence, the Rules Of My Administration song, the Freedonia Goes To War song and dance, and many others are all a part of this hilarious film. These are the Marx Brothers at the height of their powers, before the studios stepped in and forced them to include irrelevant romantic subplots and superfluous characters. No such padding exists in this film and the result is one of the best they ever made.
A lot has been said about the political satire element that runs through the film. It even led to the film being banned in several countries upon its initial release. There is certainly a nontrivial amount of very biting satire contained, but I think that portion been played up a little too much over the years. From some reviews, one might expect to see nothing but caricatures of military leaders of the day and commentary on different political philosophies. While there are examples of that, some of the funniest material comes simply from the Marx Brothers' usual blend of slapstick and quick wit. The satire and the Marx Brothers together in one film make for an extraordinary feat. This is one of the funniest films I have ever seen.
Though the extra features on this DVD may be scarce (read: there are none), it is definitely worth it to purchase on the more reliable and durable format. It's a film that stands up to multiple repeated viewings, so you'll be watching it again and again....more info
- Hit and miss
Duck Soup is one of the classic rammed-to-the-gunnells gag movies. Its influence throughout so much later cinema, such as Woody Allen, Airplane perhaps is paramount, and there are certainly classic episodes such as the mirror scene. But I found that many of the gags fell flat, wordplay that was neither very clever or very funny, and some of the parody aspect such as the music hall comedy pastiche looks rather dated and not in a immortal, timepiece type of way. For me, I prefer the slapstick of Woody Allen's earlier films, but the Marx brothers are well up there as classic comic producers of all time, so who am I to say. I just found lines such as: 'Keep it under your hat, no, tell you what, I'll keep it under my hat' didn't ring many comedic cherries. ...more info
- Here are the plans of war. They're as valuable as your life. And that's putting them pretty cheap.
Duck Soup remains an excellent example of the fast paced screwball comedies of its time. The Marx Brothers, Margaret Dumont and the rest of the cast turn in convincing performances for this story of two countries that may not always get along very well. The timing is excellent and this helps the comedy along, too.
The movie opens with the state of Freedonia suffering from a huge financial debacle. Only Mrs. Teasdale, played so well by Margaret Dumont, can infuse the government with the money it so desperately needs to keep the country from bankruptcy. Mrs. Teasdale cuts a deal with the government; and soon after Rufus T. Firefly, played by Groucho Marx, becomes the new head of state.
Chaos and mayhem predictably explode from all directions almost immediately after Firefly gets his new job. Firefly proves himself to be inept--in a humorous way--by refusing to deal with the issues of government while having Bob Roland, played by Zeppo Marx, take meaningless letters. Freedonia's troubles only worsen when Firefly becomes rather eager to lead neighboring Sylvania into war. The war scenes offer many opportunities for the Marx Brothers to do the comedy that only they can do best. Other great slapstick scenes involve antics between a peanut vendor and a lemonade vendor as well as the scenes in which more than one Groucho is afoot!
The choreography is excellent; it shines brilliantly for the scene in which Harpo, who plays a spy for Sylvania, tries to fool Firefly into believing that Firefly is looking at his reflection in a glass mirror when something rather different is actually taking place. The slapstick scenes with the peanut and lemonade vendors show amazing forethought and meticulous attention to the details of exactly how each actor must behave in order to make the scenes funny.
The cinematography remains solid throughout the picture. The characters are framed nicely within the screen; and Duck Soup is filmed beautifully in glorious black and white. The scenes in which Firefly presents himself to the wealthy aristocrats of Freedonia demonstrate excellent choreography as well.
Overall, this Marx Brothers picture remains one of their finest efforts. Oh sure, some gags work better than others, but I agree with people who write that this picture offers us an excellent introduction to the four Marx Brothers. This picture is also significant because it was the last time Zeppo joined his other brothers before the camera. The actors give convincing performances and you will laugh out loud all throughout the movie.
There will never be another comedy team as brilliant as The Marx Brothers were; and I highly recommend this film for fans of the Marx Brothers. People who enjoy slapstick screwball comedies from the years of early Hollywood will also love this film. Excellent!
- A World Class Classic. Buy It.
`Duck Soup', starring the four (4) Marx Brothers is hands down the Marx Brothers' best movie and has been named the fifth best comedy of all time by the American Film Institute. I can sort of agree that the number one pick in that list, `Some Like It Hot' is a cleaner, neater, and more artisticly funny movie, with no frenetic loose ends like typical Marx Brothers business, I really think `Duck Soup' deserves even more recognition than fifth place.
When I was much younger, I didn't appreciate the Marx Brothers, as I thought they were just another lowbrow slapstick act like the Three Stooges. In fact, the Marx Brothers, expecially Groucho, is one of the seminal, most influential comedy acts in the 20th Century. I believe that every major comedian, especially skit and physical comedy acts can trace influences to the Marx Brothers. I would include in this list Stan Freberg, Firesign Theatre, Woody Allen, the Three Stooges, Penn and Teller and Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In, not to mention dozens of movies such as `The Blues Brothers' which stole one or more scenes from this film.
The fact that `Duck Soup is the best of the Marx Brothers is saying a lot to begin with, as this includes comparisons to other great films such as `A Night at the Opera' and `A Day at the Races' which included the writing talents of George S. Kaufmann. `Duck Soup' includes at least one of the team's vaudeville routines with the pushcart scenes, but it includes none of the musical interludes where Harpo plays the harp or Chico plays the piano. These scenes never did anything for me except provide filler to make up the requisite 80 plus minute film length. The movie is also distinguished by the fact that while in most other films, Harpo is merely funny, in this movie, his business has an edge bordering on the manic.
Although `The Great Dictator' is not Charlie Chaplin's best movie, that film shares with `Duck Soup' the distinction of having that extra edge introduced by a potentially deadly conflict. No matter how lightly or sardonicly the principles treat war, the threat of deadly conflict adds an urgency to the business which most merely comic situations can't match.
The movie is also distinguished by including what is perhaps the very best visual comedy skit ever seen on film. This is the business when Chico and Harpo dress up like Groucho with glasses, moustache, nightshirt, and nightcap and two of them face off with one making believe that the other is seeing himself in a mirror.
The film probably has the very best quality for owning it on DVD in that one continually sees and hears things you missed on an earlier viewing, expecially if it's been some time since you have seen it. If you own no other Marx Brothers movie, you must have this one, at least for that annual April Fools Day party!
- "All God's Chillun Got Guns"
The We're Going to War-Gilbert & Sullivan-Broadway Scene,is pure Surreal zany Genius(Thank you Harry Ruby & Mr Mccarey).Oh Yes & the Mirror scene.Laughs O'plenty that could cure cancer....more info
- Over Seventy Years Old and Still Darn Funny
I would classify this as a must-own for Marx Brothers fans, mainly because it has the infamous Groucho-Mirror scene.
The plot is what you'd expect. Groucho undeservingly gets put in a position of prime importance by a rich widow and two bums are around that always seem to get in his way. It's the same Marx Brothers formula that always seems to work. Oh sure, there are a few variances from time to time, but it's all based around the same idea. Mrs. Teasdale demands that Mr. Firefly (Groucho) become the new president of Freedonia, and it happens. In the meantime, an enemy hires Chico and Harpo to spy on Firefly to try and ruin him. Firefly ends up hiring Chico as the secretary of war for Freedonia and Chico gets accused of treason along the way. While in court Chico makes some awful, awful puns like calling dollars and taxes Dallas and Texas. Like most Marx Brothers puns, they're so bad they make me laugh. As things progress, Firefly botches things up by upsetting an ambassador of a foreign nation and a war starts with the shady secretary of war Chico being no help at all. Chico even switches to the other side. Firefly somehow manages to win the war though, even though for a while he unknowingly shoots at his own men.
No opportunity to make a joke is missed. Groucho repeatedly insults Mrs. Teasdale with dialogue exchanges much like the following:
"Mrs. Teasdale, can I have a lock of your hair?"
"Why Mr. Firefly, you're so romantic."
"You're getting off lucky, I was going to ask for the whole wig."
The movie isn't limited to verbal jokes though. Here are some great highlights from the film:
-Chico tries to steal something from a safe while everyone is asleep. Possessing a paper with the combination to the safe, he turns the knob in accordance with the combination. Unfortunately the knob isn't connected to a safe at all, but a very loud radio that incessantly blares a Sousa-esque tune as soon as Chico finishes inputting the "combination."
-Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Mrs. Teasdale are trapped during the war. Groucho says, "We have three men and a woman trapped here. We need help immediately. And if you can't send help, send two more women."
-While Groucho's arrival is announced in a park, and the national anthem of Freedonia is playing, Groucho steals a citizen's sandwich.
-Groucho's head gets stuck in a pot, and since Harpo can't remove it, he figures the best way to solve the problem is to paint a picture of Groucho's face on the pot.
-Groucho says, "Why the Fireflys are a proud family. They came over on the Mayflower, along with the Horseflys. The Fireflys were on the lower decks and the Horseflys were on the Fireflys."
I don't know why, but I don't like this movie as much as I like "A Night at the Opera." Therefore, I wouldn't call "Duck Soup" the greatest comedy of all time (although I've heard that claim made more than once) but I would call it a classic that outshines at least 95% of all comedies. I still think "A Night at the Opera" is better. I would give this 4.5 stars if I could. I just don't want to give it 5 stars since everybody else does. I would give 5 stars to "A Night at the Opera."...more info
- hail the marx brothers
this is as good as it gets!! the greatest ever marx brothers movie!!buy it now!!...more info
- Can You Get Enough of this Soup?
In the 1930's forbidden in Mussolini's fascist Italy for not-so-well-disguised mocking of the political leader, Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" made me cry (from laughing) most of the time when I first watched it in a theater. The second time around it's not that funny but anyway, this may be the single funniest film of the great brethren and one of the greatest comedies ever. Less than 70 minutes long, it even leaves you time to spend the rest of the evening in an equally pleasurable way. If the world and the war was this fun... Groucho is immaculate as the fictitious Freedonia's leader, but Harpo with his tricks remains my favorite of them all....more info
- "Why Don't You Object?"
Duck Soup is the only Marx Brothers film that is listed on AFI's list of the 100 greatest movies of all time. However, choosing it from the bevy of great films starring the boys must have been difficult, and probably caused a lot of raised eyebrows from fans. This was the first Marx Brothers movie I ever saw, and although it has grown on me, it is not my favorite. Still, as in all Marx Brothers movies, there are some fantastic comic scenes.
Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) is the newly appointed and incompetant leader of Freedonia, a land plagued with threats from neighboring lands. Spies abound (Chico and Harpo Marx), but not without fun. Nothing is taken seriously here, so the story is of little importance.
There are quite a few dry spots in this movie that degrade it a bit, and the technical aspects are not always up to par. The opening musical number is not satirical enough to be considered funny; it almost seems to be taking itself seriously. The later musical bits fare a bit better, but they are not outstanding. Even great scenes like the famous mirror bit lack; there is absolutely no sound in the mirror scene. However, Harpo is outstanding in all that he does here. His antics with Edgar Kennedy are hilarious and make this movie worth watching multiple times....more info
- Freedonia Rules the Waves & Waives the Rules
Rufus T. Firefly. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1933's Duck Soup is Marxism at its best, & seems to be a fine Marxist send-up of 1933's New Deal. The movie's first image is of the NRA Blue Eagle (We do our part!), while a big part of FDR's first year was slapstick economics. RTF duckwalked in giddy, salacious circles; FDR set the price of gold each morning in a wacky cherade, pulling numbers out of thin air, while eating scrambled eggs in bed.
Duck Soup ends with Groucho's giddy wah (war), a presentiment of Franklin's: I ... hate wah. Eleanor ... hates wah. Faithful dog Fala ... hates wah. While building his 1940 bid for a third term on a dissembled promise to keep America's boys out of Europe's wah, FDR was busily & slyly blasting America's official neutrality with belligerent gun running, trying to provoke a fight that we were utterly unprepared to fight. Rufus T's ginned up fight with Sylvania was zany. Frnaklin D's fight, that finally killed the depression that the New Deal couldn't end, was farce replayed as tragedy, from Pearl Harbor through Anzio & Iwo.
- Hollywood wishes he could make a film like this today....
Despite the fact that this film is over 70 years old, it is still absolutely hilarious, and one of the greatest comedies ever made. Its pointed satire on war, idiotic government, and idiotic people is still potent, and probably always will be. It is only 70 minutes long, but it has more laughs than 10 modern comedies combined. There are no gross out gags, no idiotic sex jokes, no swearing, no illiterate, oversexed teenagers, just brilliant comedy. Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and even Zeppo rule!
- A hilarious movie!
To gain financial support from Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), the tiny bankrupt country of Freedonia agrees to take Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) as their new president (the poor saps). Mayhem springs from Firefly's cynical and sarcastic leadership, culminating in war with the neighboring country of Sylvania. Throughout, Pinky (Harpo Marx) and Chicolini (Chico Marx) are scheming among the great and powerful, taking money from Trentino (Louis Calhern) of Sylvania, and directing Firefly's war effort. [Black & white, created in 1933, with a running time of 70 minutes.]
This movie contains some of Groucho's funniest witticisms, his badinage with Margaret Dumont producing some of the funniest lines in theatrical history. The story takes something of a backseat to the Marx brother's comedy, but this movie is first and foremost a satire of politics in general, and war and patriotism in particular. Back to the comedy, this movie is fantastically funny, containing the famous mirror scene, where Chico is dressed as Groucho, who must figure out if he is seeing his reflection or something else!
This is a great movie. The comedy is funny and clean, and can be watched by viewers of any age. I highly recommend this movie....more info