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Duck Soup (1933)

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director:

Leo McCarey

Writers:

Bert Kalmar (story), Harry Ruby (story) | 2 more credits »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
The Marx Brothers ... (as The Four Marx Brothers)
Groucho Marx ... Rufus T. Firefly
Harpo Marx ... Pinky
Chico Marx ... Chicolini
Zeppo Marx ... Bob Roland
Margaret Dumont ... Mrs. Gloria Teasdale
Raquel Torres ... Vera Marcal
Louis Calhern ... Ambassador Trentino
Edmund Breese ... Zander
Leonid Kinskey ... Sylvanian Agitator (as Leonid Kinsky)
Charles Middleton ... Prosecutor (as Charles B. Middleton)
Edgar Kennedy ... Lemonade Vendor
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Storyline

The country of Freedonia is in the middle of a financial crisis and on the brink of revolution. In order to gain a bail-out from the wealthy Mrs Teasdale, the government appoints Rufus T Firefly as its president. However, Mr Firefly shuns the pomp and pretentiousness of government; along with the prudence and rationality of it too. Meanwhile, the neighbouring country of Sylvania is plotting to overthrow Freedonia and sends Pinky and Chicolini to spy on Firefly. War seems inevitable. Written by grantss

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cracked Ice See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The surprising sight gag of the live dog barking out of a tattooed doghouse on Harpo's chest was originally a little different. Possibly because of censorship reasons, the sight gag was changed from a tattoo of an outhouse on Harpo's chest, whereupon Groucho slaps him on the back, causing the door of the outhouse to swing open and a little hand to reach out and shut it again. See more »

Goofs

When they meet, Mrs. Teasdale holds Firefly's right hand while he holds the cigar with his left hand. The subsequent shot shows him holding the cigar with the right hand and the deck with the left one. See more »

Quotes

Rufus T. Firefly: [Pinky has been "responding" to questioning by Rufus T. Firefly by showing drawings on various parts of his body] Well, I know one thing - I bet you haven't got a picture of my grandfather!
Rufus T. Firefly: [Pinky nods vigorously in the affirmative, takes off his coat, pulls up his shirt and is about to pull down his trousers] Uh uh, not now!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Have Faith: Letters from Home (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Gypsy Love Song
(1898) uncredited)
Music by Victor Herbert
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Yes, it lives up to its reputation
1 November 2005 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

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 breaks.

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.


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