Paramount at the Movies Presents: Summer Classics – Duck Soup [NR]
Movies | 08/18/2021 | 3:00PM
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
A pointed political satire, Duck Soup is the Marx Brothers’ funniest and most insane film. Groucho is Rufus T. Firefly, the hilarious dictator of mythical Freedonia. Harpo and Chico are commissioned as spies by Groucho’s political rival, the calculating Trentino (Louis Calhern). The film contains many of the Brothers’ famous sequences: the lemonade stand, a masterpiece of slow burn; the Paul Revere parody; the “We’re Going To War” number, a beautiful spoof of ’30s musicals; the hilarious mirror scene; and a final battle episode that has been copied by everyone from Woody Allen to Mad Magazine.
Image credit: © 2021 Universal Studios
Did you know?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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