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|Index||249 reviews in total|
I'm shocked, shocked at all the negative comments covering this comedy
classic. The puns, the insults, are all now comedy classics. The
Lemonade Stand & the Mirror Scenes also memorable. I hadn't seen the
movie in around 15 years but bought the DVD so my 15 year old son could
experience the Marxes. He loved it too.
What I noticed for the first time was the satire of society, manners, government, the military, the bureaucracy (including Roberts Rules of Order). I can't recall any other comedy I've seen that satirizes on such a grand scale.
For Marx Brothers fans this is a must see. It's the boys with no love story or musical interludes in the way.
One word for those who disagree- "Upstart". :-)
It narrowly beats A Night at the Opera as the best all-round Marx Bros film,
though I find the humour more bizarre in Monkey Business. At least the
musical numbers in DS are actually worth sitting through.
The reasons it scores so highly are:
1) The mirror sequence. The finest comic sequence ever committed to film. Sure, it's old-hat vaudeville, but it's professional, beautifully timed and spirals into wonderful absurdity.
2) The one-liners, puns and other jokes. Pick of the crop are the peanut stall interchange, the telephone sequence, the riddles ('what has four pairs of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?') and the final battle (especially the stock footage of monkeys and elephants running to save the army under siege - the kind of thing the Zucker Bros pinched for their comedies). Oh, yes, and the motorcycle routines.
3) The satire on politics and warmongering. The Brothers simply deflate the pomposity of the whole deal.
4) The fact that Zeppo is actually given something to do.
Anybody who thinks the Farrelly brothers are the last word in comedy should be strapped to a chair and shown Marx Bros films over and over again, until they concede.
Many will say that Airplane or anything by Woody Allen rates this summary but I strongly disagree. There are very few pleasures on earth as hearing Groucho insult people, Chico's murder of the English language, or seeing Harpo's physical comedy. In this movie you have it all. From Groucho's entrance in the first scene to the bombing of the shelter while defending Margaret Dumont's "honor", there is not one slow moment. Like the great screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s, this movie does not require special effects or offensive dialogue to make it watchable over and over again. The only thing that this movie does require is your attention and a quick finger on the rewind button. (For when you miss something, and on the first viewing you will) All in all, this is the all time best comedy, political or otherwise.
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.
There are a lot of reasons why so many different reviewers suggest that
"Duck Soup" is a genuine candidate for the funniest movie ever made. It has
the Marx brothers at their very best, with rapid-fire laughs combining with
a satirical "plot" that is very funny in itself, without getting in the way
of the individual comedy sequences that are the real highlight of the film.
Their timing and material are as good here as they ever have
The Marx brothers are still beloved today because when at their best, they treated their audience to a lot of riotous slapstick that cannot be watched without laughing, while at the same time rewarding their viewers for paying attention with a steady stream of puns, deadpan one-liners, brief sight gags, and other subtler humor. The more you watch, the more you notice.
"Duck Soup" has a lot of their very best material, and everyone has their own favorite scenes, whether it is the mirror sequence, or Chico and Harpo giving their report to Louis Calhern, or the street vendor scenes, or ... . The variety of comic settings and comic material is amazing, and when you add in the entertaining musical sequences (which again are particularly good in this one), it is a feast that never stops.
Any Marx brothers fan has seen this one several times, and does not need to be reminded what great fun it is. If you have never watched one of their films, give this one a try.
Probably the Marx Brothers' most famous comedy, "Duck Soup" is a
hilarious and wacky slapstick comedy that even manages to take a stab
at politics. Groucho plays Rufus Firefly, who is appointed the new
president of Freedonia. He has a dubious stance on work ethic and
attempts to cut work hours by reducing the length of employee lunch
Mrs. Teasdale, who has donated twenty million dollars to the failing country, becomes the object of affection for Rufus, who has to battle for her hand against Ambassador Trentino of the neighboring country Sylvania. Soon their tumult escalates and war is declared between the two countries.
Most people who comment on this film seem to indicate that they saw it at a very young age and have grown up with it. I can honestly say I wasn't given the opportunity to ever see it until recently, when I finally managed to watch it on Turner Classic Movies, completely uninterrupted.
Although it is not consistently laugh-out-loud, tears-in-your-eyes hilarious, "Duck Soup" is very funny - and not quite as outrageous as I had expected. There's a lot going on here, aside from silly physical humor.
The Marx Brothers are great as usual and as usual Groucho steals the show.
Ultimately if you've never seen this, you need to go rent it out right now. If you have seen it, you already know how great it is and why it deserves its reputation as one of the most beloved comedies ever made.
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.
Very likely their best film. This is pure surrealism from start to finish, with some of their best-executed routines, and a welcome absence of (serious) musical numbers. Whether it has Harpo answering the phone, Groucho explaining his tax policy or Chico giving a detailed report of his weekly surveillance tactics ("On Wednesday we fool him: We no show up"), this is the epitome of the Marx Brothers movies. And here's one of the funniest lines that nobody else has mentioned: "Ok, I give up. How about your glass of water?" (well, it's only funny in context). (***)
"Duck Soup" is so funny that you can watch it with the sound off and you will still laugh hysterically. Of course, then you would miss some of the best dialog in comedy history, especially from Groucho Marx, who may be the funniest human being ever. How many other comedians or comics can you name that have excelled at both physical comedy and at telling jokes? The sight gags are brilliant and perfectly timed; a big influence on other comedies that reaches all the way to "A Hard Day's Night," as well as the "Monty Python's Flying Circus" TV series. Some of the jokes in this movie fly by very fast, so each repeated viewing reveals something new. I believe this movie bombed when originally released, but then again so did "It's A Wonderful Life."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ditto to all the positive comments, but in these days of Homeland Security II (how many people know that "PATRIOT" Act is an acronym?), I must call special attention to the very end of the movie, after the leaders have led the citizens of Fredonia in the satirical call-and-response that has the common crowd following the jackass-kicks of their president. As Margaret Dumont begins to sing the national anthem after the country's entirely accidental, the Marxes pelt her with apples, a fitting fate for any knee-jerk patriot. This was one of the more extreme expressions of the American stage and screen that saw the Gershwins taking the United States into war against Switzerland over cheese in "Strike up the Band" and setting the Vice President up for execution in "Of Thee I Sing." It's a wonder that the FBI didn't seize the film during World War II as they did copies of the Almanac Singers' "Songs for John Doe." (Recall that Abraham Lincoln had Septimus Winner, composer or "Listen to the Mockingbird" and "Ten Little Indians" jailed as a subversive under his suspension of habeas corpus for writing a song criticizing the firing of Gen. George McClellan, who was popular enough to pose a threat to Lincoln in the 1864 election.) Let's hope that the current administration never notices that this was one of the first movies to make the National Film Registry.
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