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Duck Soup (1933)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, War | 17 November 1933 (USA)
Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

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A sly business manager and two wacky friends of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies.

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A veterinarian posing as a doctor, a race-horse owner and his friends struggle to help keep a sanitarium open with the help of a misfit race-horse.

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The Cocoanuts (1929)
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The Marx Brothers try to help the owner of a circus recover some stolen funds before he finds himself out of a job.

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Go West (1940)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Western
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The Marx Brothers come to the rescue in the Wild West when a young man, trying to settle an old family feud so he can marry the girl he loves, runs afoul of crooks.

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Room Service (1938)
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A penniless theatrical producer must outwit the hotel efficiency expert trying to evict him from his room, while securing a backer for his new play.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
(as The Four Marx Brothers)
...
...
...
Zeppo Marx ...
...
...
...
...
...
Sylvanian Agitator (as Leonid Kinsky)
...
Prosecutor (as Charles B. Middleton)
...
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Storyline

The small state of Freedonia is in a financial mess, borrowing a huge sum of cash from wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale. She insists on replacing the current president with crazy Rufus T. Firefly and mayhem erupts. To make matters worse, the neighboring state sends inept spies Chicolini and Pinky to obtain top secret information, creating even more chaos! Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

War Is Swell ...when the Marx Brothers are in it. They'll be out of the trenches by Christmas...if the food doesn't improve

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 November 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cracked Ice  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To help sell the film to theatre exhibitors and the public, the Paramount press department featured a number of contests to get the word out about the newest The Marx Brothers laugh fest. In addition to "Name the Four Marx Sisters," there was also a proposed duck-hunting contest, in which hunters across the fruited plain would bring back their catch to be cooked in one big duck dinner, beginning with duck soup, of course. And then there was the duck parade. Just imagine, to paraphrase the Paramount press materials, after you round up four ducks (preferably from a poultry market or a farmer), dress them as the Brothers, and let them lead the parade, you, the faithful theater manager, could then create more nonstop hilarity by tying the ducks together with a long string. "The ducks will not stay in line but that will only add to the confusion and the excitement," the press materials helpfully added. See more »

Goofs

When Firefly offers Chicolini a job, Chicolini's dog goes from biting its lower half, to laying down, and finally, sitting next to him in three consecutive shots. See more »

Quotes

Rufus T. Firefly: I danced before Napoleon. No, Napoleon danced before me. As a matter of fact, he danced 200 years before me.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Curious Puppy (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Firefly of Freedonia
3 April 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

All the comedies in which the Marx Brothers appeared were extensions of their vaudeville days. In "Duck Soup", the visual gags that worked so well on the stage are incorporated into the film. Director Leo McCarey directed this zany movie in which the Marx Brothers do their best to entertain their public.

There are many interesting moments in the film, but the best sequence has to be the mirror scene in which Groucho, Harpo and Chico, dressed in the same costume are seen on either side of the looking glass following the other person's movements. The other asset in the film is the final conflict with Sylvania in which Groucho is seen dressed in many uniforms while leading the war against the enemy.

We had seen this film before, but took another look when it was shown on cable recently. The great Margaret Dumont is simply one of the best actresses that ever worked with the Marx Brothers in their comedies. She is amazing in playing the straight part against Groucho's antics. A young Louis Calhern cuts quite a figure as the Trentino, the Sylvanian ambassador to Freedonia. Raquel Torres is a nice addition to the film playing the exotic Vera Marcal.

The Marx Brothers do what they do best in "Duck Soup" guided by a director who knew what to do with them, Leo McCarey.


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