I finish up Classic Comedies as our Favorite of the Month with The Marx Brothers film, Duck Soup. If you have a daft sense of humour then The Marx Brothers films will be just the sort of film you should enjoy, and Duck Soup is no exception. Filled with great one-liners and scenes which border on the hilariously absurd, Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo give performances which in my opinion I cannot compare with anything else.
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Duck Soup won its place in The National Film Registry in 1990.
Apparently The Marx Brothers were over the moon when they received the news that Duck Soup had been banned in Italy by Benito Mussolini since he believed the film to be making a joke about him.
This was the last film Zeppo Marx starred in.
Leo McCarey didn’t actually want to direct a film with The Marx Brothers because he thought they were all crazy.
Duck Soup turned out to be the sixth-highest grossing film of 1933.
The highly influential and incredibly rich widow Gloria Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) has been giving money to the government of Freedonia. Now the government need more money, but Gloria is only willing to providing further funds if they change their leader, and she has just the person in mind; Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx).
Of course Firefly takes nothing seriously whatsoever, and the Ambassador Trentino of Sylvania (Louis Calhern) is determined to become leader himself by winning over Gloria and becoming her husband. Trentino hires two agents to follow Firefly around and dish up any scandal they can get on him which will lose him the leader’s position. But the agents in question; Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx), are absolutely terrible at spying on Firefly.
Firefly’s secretary Bob Roland (Zeppo Marx) is onto Trentino and tells Firefly to have him deported. Now it looks as if Freedonia and Sylvania are going to war.
But when Chicolini was given the position as Secretary of War for Firefly he and Pinky were ordered by Trentino to steal Freedonia’s war plans. But Chicolini was caught and is now on trial as war looks like a sure possibility.
If you’ve ever seen a Marx Brothers film, you’ll know that many of the film’s scenes are filled with memorable, classic and outright daft scenes which are so typical of The Marx Brothers. In Duck Soup these include the mirror scene sequence, where Pinky, who is dressed as Firefly pretends to be Firefly himself in the mirror. You can view this scene in the video tab section. We also have the brilliant scenes between spies Chicolini and Pinky who set up a peanut stall right outside Firefly’s window, but instead of doing the job they have actually been hired to do they cause havoc and stress for the poor man (Edgar Kennedy) selling lemonade at the next stall.
Duck Soup runs at just over an hour, which although doesn’t seem very long for a film, is so jam packed with Groucho’s one liners and crazy scenes which have nothing to do with Freedonia that you’ll have had your fill by the end!
Photos courtesy of “DoctorMacro”