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Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made Hardcover – September 28, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fifty years after first seeing Duck Soup, humorist Blount watched it again, worried that a new generation of viewers would “walk all over my heaven” and disrespect the experience. Instead, he found that parents and children alike appreciated the wacky humor and subversive sensibilities of the movie that debuted in 1933. The Depression-era film didn’t catch on until the 1960s, when the idea of reveling in a silly, completely unnecessary war was somehow construed as an antiwar message. Blount takes the reader through the more famous scenes of the movie, as Groucho Marx, playing Rufus Firefly, the leader of Freedonia, pushes the nation into bankruptcy and war with the occasional assistance and resistance of his brothers (Harpo as Pinky, Chico as Chicolini, and Zeppo as Lieutenant Bob Roland). Blount includes commentary on the Marx Brothers’ personalities and careers: Groucho’s acerbic wit, Chico’s gambling and womanizing, Harpo’s few speaking occasions. Zeppo, the straight man and former car thief, was reluctantly drafted into the act to replace brother Gummo, the least known of the brothers. Their mother, Minnie, was a stage mother to top all others, with a master plan for her sons that included capitalizing on shtick from vaudeville and memories of growing up Jewish in ethnic New York. Readers will enjoy the stories behind this iconic film and the careers of the Marx Brothers, director Leo McCarey, and frequent costar Margaret Dumont. --Vanessa Bush


“Hail, Hail, Euphoria! is the most lyrical, insightful, scholarly, illuminating and celebratory 144 pages I’ve ever sat down with. This book is a stream of fun.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Roy Blount Jr. knows from humor. In [Hail, Hail, Euphoria!], he sets out to remedy the lack of a scene-by-scene commentary on the Marx Brothers’ greatest movie, the sublimely nonsensical Duck Soup.” (Washington Post)

“An essential read for Marx Brothers fans, those curious about the melding of war and humor in film, and browsers looking for a good read.” (Library Journal)

“Readers will enjoy the stories behind this iconic film and the careers of the Marx Brothers.” (Booklist)

“Roy Blount Jr. deconstructs the Marx Brothers’ magic.” (Los Angeles Times)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 2nd prt. edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061808164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061808166
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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on September 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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on February 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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on November 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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