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Jun 14, 2003


Directed by: Leo McCarey
Starring: the Marx Brothers


Along with Animal Crackers, Duck Soup is the best of the Marx Brothers film work. It contains a lot of their most memorable bits (the mirror pantomime, the trial), funny songs and brilliant satire. The film was banned in a few countries by politicians who thought that it bore a little too much resemblance to their own governments. It even had difficulty finding acceptance in America (which was currently suffering under the Great Depression), where the public found it insulting in the face of their misfortune. It was also the last of the groupís films to feature Zeppo Marx.

The story is pretty simple: A crackpot politician (Groucho as Rufus T. Firefly) comes into power of the bankrupt nation of Freedonia, which he quickly transforms into an authoritarian state. He decides to declare war on a neighboring country, and slowly runs his government into the ground with his complete inability to manage the country.


I will not stand for anything that's crooked or unfair
I'm strictly on the up and up
So everyone beware
If anyone's caught taking graft
And I don't get my share
We stand 'em up against the wall
And pop goes the weasel.

Unlike other Marx Brothersí films, there arenít any musical breaks by Harpo or Chico, and all of the singing is integrated into the narrative. There are some bits that seem like they were forced to fit into the narrative and have no real bearing on the story (the lemonade stand act, though itís funny enough to forgive), which creates the same sort of disruption.

The humor in the film varies from sharp political satire to screwball, which helps keep the film light and not to serious. There are also elements of surrealist like humor at play, similar to what you find in a Bunuel film like Líage Díor. Like almost all of their movies, the Marx brothers all play the same characters they always play, but Groucho has Margaret Dumont to play off of, who is the perfect victim to his style of humor (sheís also in Animal Crackers).

Duck Soup is also more interesting than their earlier films on the filmmaking level, which were filmed like a recording of a theatre production, with the camera lying static, covering a large stage-like frame. Itís no Citizen Kane, but itís nice to see them adjusting to the medium, rather than just doing their old acts in front of a camera and calling it a movie.


PROS: funny, political
CONS: some bits seem out of place



Nov 2, 2003

This is not only one of my favorite Marx Brothers movies but one of my favorite comedies of all time. It makes just about no sense and every scene seems to be out of order from the last and totally random. Somehow it all pulls together. And that's just what makes this movie good.


Apr 14, 2001

"Whatever it is, I'm against it!" Always hilarious.

(And HARLOT is a dipshit.)

Doodles fucked around with this message at May 6, 2004 around 14:44

Sep 22, 2003

Lincoln Approves

The best part in the film is when the re-enforcements arrive near the end of the film, and when we think we're going to get a shot of soldiers, we get a random assortment of shots of stampeding animals, swimmers, monkeys, and elephants, a feat of random humor not to be copied until Family Guy came along.

Feb 3, 2004

The Marx Brothers are truly comedic geniuses. This film is no exception to that. It is just completely funny, Groucho's witty and sarcastic banter does it for the Marx Brothers. Being complimented by Harpo's pantomime's often involving Chico who is usually seen as his sidekick. This is one of the best comedy's ever.

Jun 1, 2000


This is easily the best Marx Brothers film and one of the greatest comedy films of all time. If you like the idea of a comedy that has almost no sensible plot but is instead a series of almost completely unconnected setpieces of satire, slapstick, witty dialogue and all sorts of other stupid stuff, this really is the pinnacle. The mirror scene in particular stands out: brilliantly choreographed, it has to be seen to be believed.

Easy 5.

May 27, 2004
IQ dropping by the minute

Actually, "whatever it is, I'm against it" was Professor Wagstaff's song in Horsefeathers. My personal favorite was the Coconuts, but you can't go wrong with any of the early Marx Brothers movies, they're all brilliant. Witty and yet completely insane.

Sep 17, 2003

this film is a classic comedy and one of my favorites

Dec 7, 2000

The most destructive supervillain of all time...Professor Chaos!

Watched this in a film history class. 4.5, good stuff.

unfamiliar smells
Jan 6, 2002

Dumont is the perfect straight woman for Groucho's humor, and a very handsome woman.

For a very long time (my childhood) this title was the only movie my family owned. It's still wonderful and funny even after the 200th viewing.


Aug 19, 2006

mmm pancakes

i was skeptical about the whole marx brothers thing, but i had a roommate that simply wouldnt stop until i watched this and animal crackers

and they are simply great


Dec 21, 2004

The whole "To War" musical scene was the funniest thing I've ever scene. Does anyone know where to get that song?

Jun 28, 2004

Elminster don't surf

This is quite simply one of the very best movies ever made by the hand of man. Anyone who doesn't laugh...well, no. I can't imagine what sort of functioning human being wouldn't laugh at this movie.

Caligula Braun
May 23, 2004

i rewatched this the other day for the first time in years, and it was amazing; i was laughing loud and long. i love how the other characters (excepting the ambassador) are largely unfazed by the brothers' gags and jokes. also, every single minute of the movie is part of the act; there is no downtime. they seamlessly jump in and out of different gags, driving to the punchline and immediately leaving the joke thereafter. they are so completely dismissive of their targets; the sting of insult isnt even the point, just the word play.

harpo is an easy choice for favorite, though. he is the perfect clown. i love the way he constantly wears a dumb, cross-eyed expression - it makes it all the sweeter how clever he is. and the movie ends perfectly with the brothers leading the crowd in an increasingly ridiculous song and dance number. as the flailing gets more outrageous it seems to pull the joke out of the movie - the brothers are laughing at how much they can get away with, what stupid things they can make people do in their movies.

this is definitely one of my favorite comedies of all time.

Caligula Braun fucked around with this message at Jan 16, 2008 around 06:33

Aug 3, 2012

I'm literally retarded

Groucho, to Chico (downstairs as the peanut guy): "Come on up here, I want to scare the Cabinet."

My favourite line.


May 27, 2004

This Christmas get "Shoes"

sievehead posted:

Actually, "whatever it is, I'm against it" was Professor Wagstaff's song in Horsefeathers. My personal favorite was the Coconuts, but you can't go wrong with any of the early Marx Brothers movies, they're all brilliant. Witty and yet completely insane.
This is the only post sievehead ever made. It was posted the same day he registered. He has not posted again in the subsequent 12 1/2 years.

Dude was lurking TFD and saw this thread, and felt such a strong need to correct the record, that he paid to say his piece. Then peaced out.

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