- 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: #466,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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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)
Top Customer Reviews
On the plus side, the stills contained herein are some I have never seen and it is really nice to have some different ones unearthed for us to view. Also, I will give Blount kudos for his passion for the film and for taking the time to not only construct an interesting if flawed examination of both the film and its history, but for being so passionate about it.
Now...as to my criticisms, perhaps the biggest one is this: back in the 1970's the best book on the brothers Marx and one of the best tomes on film comedy was published called GROUCHO, HARPO, CHICO AND SOMETIMES ZEPPO by Joe Adamson. His approach to their world and its relation to the rest of it was a huge refreshing breath of air in a genre that normally stifled creativity in film criticism. The book was wise and also wiseass, funny, sarcastic and still is one of the most entertaining books on movies and movie history ever written. It is also obvious that I am not the only one to read it-many of the points in that book are in this one, with no attribution, which saddens me.
Also, some of Blount's facts are just plain wrong-example: he refers to Woody Allen's masterpiece HANNAN AND HER SISTERS and how the Allen character decides to keep on living after a particularly depressing time because of DUCK SOUP. He marvels at the silliness of the film and how great it is to really laugh at something even when the world around you seems bleak.Read more ›
Blount at times uses the narrative to ambitiously give a window into the popular culture and the Marx family history and how it influenced what made it to the screen. Other times he uses it for an excuse for Marx and other anecdotes and to wax comically. If you stick too close to expectations you have for the book, it can get tedious or meandering at times. If you take it in the spirit of fun and love the author has for the material, it's a fun quick read that will make you want to revisit the movie (or watch if you've never seen it before).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hardcore Marx Brothers fans will probably enjoy this book, as I did--although in my own case the enjoyment isn't without reservations. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wreditor
comprehensive discussion of the Marx brothers and their movies,not their lives.Published 2 months ago by ann caywood
A really fun look at a really great Marx Brothers movie. It's like a DVD commentary track in book form. Roy Blount's writing is always enjoyable and always clear.Published 5 months ago by Chris Tackett
This movie is a classic that still speaks today and considered by many to be one of the greatest movies ever made! Read morePublished on July 24, 2014 by Sheila Malone