Duck Soup (1933) Poster



Shortly before this film premiered, the city of Fredonia, New York, complained about the use of its name with an additional "e". The Marx Brothers' response was, "Change the name of your town, it's hurting our picture."
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini banned the film from Italy because he thought it was a direct attack on him. When news of this reached The Marx Brothers, they were reportedly ecstatic.
When asked what the political significance of this film was, Groucho Marx reportedly said, "What significance? We were just four Jews trying to get a laugh."
Groucho Marx offered the following explanation for the movie's title: "Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you'll duck soup the rest of your life."
The fictitious country of Sylvania was called "Amnesia" in early drafts.
An early draft of the script introduces Freedonia's new dictator Rufus T. Firefly as an agent for an ammunition company, which led to lots of ammunition-salesman jokes and intertwined with the movie's war theme.
Firefly (Groucho Marx) says, "The Headstrongs married the Armstrongs, and that's why darkies were born," a reference to a 1931 popular song "That's Why Darkies Were Born", written by Ray Henderson and Lew Brown and originally sung by Kate Smith (and later by Paul Robeson).
Harpo Marx's character was originally called Skippy, but this was changed to Pinky after his role in Horse Feathers (1932), making him one of only two of The Marx Brothers to reuse a character name in their films (not counting when they used their own names).
One of the very few films featuring Harpo Marx in which he does not perform a harp solo.
In the original script, Chicolini and Pinky were cousins and Bob was Firefly's son.
According to The Marx Brothers biographer Joe Adamson, the elaborate "All God's Chillun Got Guns" musical number was mostly improvised on the set, as there is no reference to it in the movie's final script. It's likely Groucho Marx was referring to the old Negro spiritual "I got Shoes", which repeats the line "All of God's children got..." filling "a song", "a robe", "a harp", etc. Groucho just added "Guns".
Early drafts of the script included scenes in an opera house and aboard a zeppelin.
Vera was Trentino's niece in early drafts.
The hat-swapping routine performed by Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, and Edgar Kennedy, was reportedly the inspiration for a similar scene in the French stage play Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett.
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Harpo Marx's character Pinky went through several name changes in pre-production. In a 1933 Paramount press-book ad, he's known as Snoopy. For a radio trailer, his character's name was changed to Skippy.
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