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Duck Soup (1933)

Groucho Marx , Harpo Marx , Leo McCarey  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont
  • Directors: Leo McCarey
  • Writers: Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
  • Producers: Herman J. Mankiewicz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 7, 2011
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004P9UWM8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,863 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx are at their very best in the political satire Duck Soup which is often regarded as the comedy legends’ funniest and most popular film. After being appointed dictator of Freedonia, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) proceeds to bring the mythical nation to a halt by showing up late and insulting everyone at his inauguration. Hoping to oust the unfit new leader, two spies (Harpo and Chico) are sent from the neighboring Sylvania. Soon enough, war is declared between the two nations with outrageous results. Recognized on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list and selected for the National Film Registry, this comedy classic features some of the most hilarious sequences every filmed, including the famous mirror sequence and final battle scene, and remains as entertaining and relevant today as it did when it was first released in 1933.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
"Duck Soup" is as absurd, nonsensical and hilarious as a film can be and still make sense! A satire of dictatorships, war and politics, Groucho, Harpo and Zeppo are at their artfully outlandish best here. Running 68 minutes, the movie is a short one, but chock-full of laughs and lampoons. Released in 1933, during the crisis period of the Depression, the movie was to provide comic relief for the weary American public. It was a flop. Audiences were taken aback by such political disrespect. This is high praise, indeed in the 21st century.

Rufus T. Firefly, played by Groucho, becomes dictator of the mythical kingdom of Freedonia, a tiny country badly in need of additional finances to alleviate their bankrupt status. In other words, the place is a disaster - or why else would they select the man who would "never belong to a club that would have someone like him as a member?" The citizens agree to make Firefly their leader hoping, in return, to gain the financial patronage of the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale, (Margaret Dumont), whose deceased husband was their former president. Firefly is touted for "possessing the statesmanship of Gladstone, the humility of Lincoln, and the wisdom of Pericles." Ha! His primary idea for improving the country involves bilking Mrs Teasdale of her fortune for his own use, forget about Freedonia! He rejoices in making arbitrary decrees, and his appointments are blatantly nepotistic. The other Marx brothers play the dictator's spies and henchmen.

Firefly declares war on its neighboring country, Sylvania, when its Ambassador Trentino, (Louis Calhern), competes with him for Mrs. Teasdale's affections. Trentino's ultimate goal is to annex Freedonia to Sylvania. Poor Mrs. Teasdale.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The wacky "Duck Soup" is often viewed as the ultimate Marx Brothers movie and it's certainly their most outrageous in terms of the humor of the film and a great political satire as well. Directed by Leo McCarey "Duck Soup" has substanially more visual flair than any other Marx Brothers feature until "A Day at the Opera". The last film that the Marx Brothers made for Paramount (although this is a Universal release Paramount originally released this along with all the other early Marx Brothers movies but sold the rights to the films to Universal in the 1950's for distribution) "Duck Soup" remains the Marx Brothers crowning jewel of all their films; certainly later MGM films like "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" had bigger budgets and were more ambitious but those films diluted the anarchic humor that was at the heart of EVERY Marx Brothers movie.

A horrible flop released to nasty reviews "Duck Soup" was ahead of its time as a comedy and satire. It made (deservedly) AFI's Top 100 Comedies of All Time. This is, like the previous version, the original theatrical version. It hasn't been edited (although rumors have been floating around for years that one of the production numbers was edited it was never true and isn't true of this version either).

Universal used the most readily available best film source at the time when they first released this in 2004. This is the exact same transfer from that 2004 boxed set. There are plenty of specks, scartches and a fair amount of dirt/debris visible in the transfer here which, if Universal had done their due diligence and done a digital restoration of the film, could have been eliminated.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hail, Hail the Marx Brothers! The Marxist view on war October 15, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
My favorite Marx Brothers movie is "A Night at the Opera," but this political satire, which was banned in Italy by Mussolini, is a very close second. It is definitely the best (and last) Marx Brothers movie with Zeppo, for what that is worth. As Groucho later pointed out, Zeppo's roles as the group's straight man were thankless. It was not that Zeppo lacked talent, but rather that he had three older brothers.
"In Duck Soup," the mythical nation of Freedonia is in trouble and Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) insists that the reigns of power be turned over to Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho). Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) of the neighboring country of Sylvania employs a couple of spies, Chicolini (Chico) and Pinky (Harpo), to shadow Firefly. Oh, and Firefly has a secretary, Bob Rolland (Zeppo). Many of the most famous sequences by the Brothers Marx are found in this film: (1) The mirror sequence between Groucho and Harpo (if it had been Groucho and Chico instead Groucho would have asked "Are you my reflection" and Chico would have answered "Sure"); (2) Harpo's encounter with street vendor Edgar Kennedy, master of the slow-burn (" "); (3) The "We're Going to War" take off on 1930s musicals ("They've got guns, we've got guns, all God's chil'en got guns"); (4) Groucho offering Chico the position of Secretary of War ("Sold!"); (5) Harpo offering Grouch a ride in the sidecar of his motorcyle ("This is the third trip I've taken today and I still haven't gone anywhere"); (6) Zeppo introducing the new leader of Freedonia, Rufus T. Fireflay ("Whatever it is, I'm against it."); and much, much more, including the lovely Rachel Torres as the lovely Vera Marcal!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Duck Soup
One word, wonderful!
Published 20 days ago by T. Makaneole
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
When in the mood for silliness, call on the Marx brothers!
Published 2 months ago by Joy
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the funniest single Marx Brothers movie, this is ...
Perhaps the funniest single Marx Brothers movie, this is a gem that few comic pieces can copare with. The Dodgeball of the 20th Century.
Published 2 months ago by David Robertus
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Why should we have a standing army?'
Because then we save money on chairs. The Marx Brothers take on politics and foreign relations is just simply hysterical. Read more
Published 2 months ago by William D. Jempty Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It's the Marx Brothers.
Published 2 months ago by Lori J. Show
5.0 out of 5 stars Ha,ha,ha
It's funny, it's hilarious! throughout the years It still brings to the new generation a of sense good old clean comedy.
Published 2 months ago by Manuel A. Diaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It's only a hair less amusing than Horse Feathers-they are 2 of a kind,inseperable
Published 2 months ago by Nickel Speaks
5.0 out of 5 stars Great look at the making of a great movie
This Book tells the whole story behind the great classic Marx brothers movie Duck Soup! Lots to ponder and enjoy! Are you a fan or just looking for a good read? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sheila Malone
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent classic movie
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh like you never have before!
I had always know that this film is one of the greatest comedies ever made and after seeing it for the first time, words cannot even describe how amazing this film was. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Underground Reborn
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