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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.

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

By the time the film was in production, Harpo Marx was the critical darling of the intellectual community, particularly around the famed "Algonquin Round Table" in New York City, made up of several of the notable literati of the day, like Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. Alexander Woollcott considered Harpo to be the greatest pantomime since Charles Chaplin. Always considered to be the most congenial Marx brother, Harpo nevertheless let the attention go to his head, just a bit. One day on the set, Harpo, in an unusually pretentious gesture, asked Herman J. Mankiewicz to explain the motivation of his character. (As if Harpo was playing anyone else but Harpo...) Mankiewicz replied, "You're a middle-aged Jew who goes around picking up sh**." See more »

Goofs

After Firefly plays the flute, it disappears and a bugle appears in his hand, though the guard behind him keeps his bugle. See more »

Quotes

Rufus T. Firefly: Here are the plans of war. They're as valuable as your life. And that's putting them pretty cheap. Watch them like a cat watched her kittens. Have you ever had kittens? No, of course not, you're too busy running around playing bridge. Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you, I love you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Good Night, Sweetheart
(1930) (uncredited)
Written by Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell, and Reginald Connelly (as Reg Connelly)
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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