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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.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 2.56 Ounces
- Item model number : 17193444
- Director : Leo McCarey
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
- Run time : 1 hour and 9 minutes
- Release date : June 7, 2011
- Actors : Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont
- Dubbed: : Spanish
- Subtitles: : French, Spanish
- Producers : Herman J. Mankiewicz
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
- Studio : Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B004P9UWM8
- Writers : Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#22,107 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #3,096 in Comedy (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Too many funny lines and scenes to cover--Be sure to wash your neck, peanuts, Harpo jumping into the lemonade, the running gag with the sidecar, and the war at the end, especially Harpo grabbing Margaret Dumont's ass. And, Harpo's brief encounter with Edgar Kennedy's wife.
The rest of the Marx Brothers career at MGM is debatable, but they got off to a great start with "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races."
This is fun enough to shake you out of your doldrums and see the absurdity of the whole universe.
Back to our regularly scheduled review.
This movie really is a timeless classic. It starts off a bit slow with the introductions, but quickly picks up to have you roaring with laughter. You will shed tears, and you may experience stitches in your sides.
It takes place in Freedonia, a small hilly country with an old castle, somewhat like Liechtenstein. The country is in trouble and Groucho is called upon to save it as its new leader. Its enemy is neighboring Sylvania, a similar country. Harpo and Chico are Sylvanian spies sent to spy on Groucho but after a while it is hard to tell what side they are on. Groucho then manages to start a war between the two countries.
This movie contains the famous mirror scene, probably the most memorable comedy scene of all time. It also contains Chico's one-liner about taxes and Texas, dollars and Dallas, probably the most memorable comedy line of all time. A surprise is the provocatively revealing dress worn by Raquel Torres, much better than anything worn by Lady Gaga today.
Top reviews from other countries
I expect that this black and white1933 “classic comedy” and “biting political satire”, according to the DVD case, seemed funny many decades ago, but it has lost a lot of its appeal now.
Despite the title, this film has little to do with Ducks or Soup.
Groucho Marx becomes President of an imaginary country called Freedonia. His brothers Harpo, Chico and, the one nobody remembers, Zeppo Marx all become involved in some way or other (their even less well known brother Gummo Marx is not in the film at all). The actor Louis Calhern whose performances I liked in ‘We’re Not Married’ and ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ also appears.
The Freedonians sing a cheerful musical number about how great it is that they are going to war with a neighbouring country [I think this is meant to be the ‘biting political satire’ that the DVD description promised] but find themselves ill prepared for the conflict. Eventually the Marx brothers save the day by pelting the enemy leader with food until he surrenders [I think this is meant to be the ‘classic comedy’ we were promised.]
In a way I am glad I watched much of this film, although I skipped some scenes in the middle. I knew the Marx Brothers were famous and the image of the leading brother Groucho Marx with his moustache, cigar and grin still has cultural resonance, but I had never seen any of their work. Now at least I know what people are talking about when they mention them.
According to Wikipedia the Marx Brothers “are widely considered by critics, scholars, and fans to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century” and this film ‘Duck Soup’ is among their most famous, but I wonder how much of that is down to people feeling that they ought to like this because other critics say they do.
While I did not hate this film, I am in no hurry to see more Marx Brothers’ films.
Four Jewish Brothers (The Marx Bros) star in this satire on politics,
and 83 years later, it is still funny and relevant.
The reason I tell you the Marx Bros were Jewish, is because there
is an old jewish saying that says, "Humour is to be human". I don't
think Hitler had much in the way of "funny bones", and after all these
years, it is The Marx Brothers who are still loved, and the ideas and
politics of fascism, are hated. What I am getting at, is Duck Soup
will live on forever, and whenever a tin-pot dictator wants to start
a war, we have this movie to remind us how ridicules war is...