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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Leo McCarey told Cahiers du cinema in 1967: "I don't like (Duck Soup) so much...I never chose to shoot this film. The Marx Brothers absolutely wanted me to direct them in a film. I refused. Then they got angry with the studio, broke their contract and left. Believing myself secure, I accepted the renewal of my own contract with the studio. Soon, the Marx Brothers were reconciled with (Paramount)...and I found myself in the process of directing the Marx Brothers. The most surprising thing about this film was that I succeeded in not going crazy, for I really did not want to work with them: they were completely mad." See more »
In Mrs. Teasdale's house, when Firefly sits down, everybody (Trentino, Vera and Mrs. Teasdale) change positions around him. See more »
[Firefly emerges from a vase that has been stuck on his head]
Rufus T. Firefly:
Any mail for me while I was gone?
See more »
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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