Duck Soup

Duck Soup

Director: Leo McCarey

Cast: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx

     
 

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In the 1933 Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup, the mythical country of Freedonia is broke and on the verge of revolution. Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), Freedonia's principal benefactress, will lend the country $20 million if the president withdraws and places the government in the hands of the "fearless, progressive" Rufus T.See more details below

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Overview

In the 1933 Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup, the mythical country of Freedonia is broke and on the verge of revolution. Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont), Freedonia's principal benefactress, will lend the country $20 million if the president withdraws and places the government in the hands of the "fearless, progressive" Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx). At his inauguration, Firefly shows up late, insults everyone in sight, and sings a song about how he intends to abuse his power. Naturally, the crowd cheers wildly. Meanwhile, Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) of neighboring Sylvania schemes to oust Firefly and take over Freedonia himself. To gather enough evidence to discredit Firefly, he sends his most trusted spies, Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx). Five minutes after they show up in Freedonia, both spies become important members of Firefly's cabinet, though Chicolini keeps his day job as a peanut vendor. Firefly eventually declares war on Sylvania, an absurd farrago with Firefly changing uniforms from scene to scene, Chicolini going to the other side because the food is better, and Pinky parading around the battlefield with a sandwich board reading "Join the Army and See the Navy."

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Karen Backstein
Hail, hail anarchy! The Marx Brothers are at their most freewheeling in this sly political satire, and nothing that's stuffy, dignified, formal, or part of the establishment emerges unscathed. The comic mayhem of DUCK SOUP, widely regarded as the brothers' best film, centers around the conflict between the imaginary states of Freedonia -- which bears a sneaking similarity to the United States -- and Sylvania. War looms between the two, but with a Freedonian leader like Groucho's Rufus T. Firefly, the only casualties are the victims of his rapier wit. Among them are the always-wonderful Margaret Dumont (a Marx Brothers regular) as a wealthy widow who's the special butt of Firefly's barbs; the scheming Sylvanian leader, whose humorlessness makes him ripe for a fall; and a cheesy seductress who can't fool Rufus for a minute. The funniest moment: the much-imitated vaudevillesque "mirror scene" in which Chico precisely mimics Groucho's motions to a tee. From the film's opening spoof of diplomatic protocol to the its fruit-throwing final battle, the laughter doesn't stop for a instant.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Along with A Night at the Opera, Duck Soup is often regarded as the definitive Marx Brothers movie, the picture in which every shot, every line, and every gag worked. Modern audiences are often surprised to learn that it was a notorious flop that killed the Brothers' contract at Paramount Pictures in the mid-1930s. Audiences harried by the Great Depression seemed unable to connect with the Marx Brothers in their Paramount movies, at least not in the way that Broadway theatergoers and Paramount executives who'd seen them in The Cocoanuts or Animal Crackers did. Part of the problem may have been their piercing topicality and ethnic humor, whether Groucho's Jewish conniver or Chico's fake Italian. And no movie was more piercing in its topicality in 1933 than Duck Soup, a satire of nationalism, diplomacy, and international intrigue that seemed all too real as Hitler's rise to power in Germany dominated world news. When the Marxes then moved to MGM, the company's chief of production, Irving Thalberg, convinced them to tone down their image and give themselves sympathetic personae, and audiences then devoured their work. But Duck Soup, a failure in its time, remains the brothers' definitive film in their classic original style.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/07/2011
UPC:
0025192084614
Original Release:
1933
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:09:00
Sales rank:
845

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Groucho Marx Rufus T. Firefly
Chico Marx Chicolini
Harpo Marx Pinkie
Zeppo Marx Bob Rolland
Margaret Dumont Mrs. Teasdale
Raquel Torres Vera Marcal
Louis Calhern Ambassador Trentino
Verna Hillie Trentino's Secretary
Leonid Kinskey Agitator
Edmund Breese Zander
Edwin Maxwell Secretary of War
Edgar Kennedy Lemonade Seller
Marx Brothers Actor
Charles B. Middleton Prosecutor
George MacQuarrie First Judge
William Worthington First Minister of Finance
E.H. Calvert Actor
Davison Clark Second Minister of Finance
Eric Mayne Third Judge
Frederick Sullivan Second Judge

Technical Credits
Leo McCarey Director
Hans Dreier Art Director
Wiard Ihnen Art Director
Arthur Johnston Musical Direction/Supervision
Bert Kalmar Screenwriter
Herman Mankiewicz Producer
Harry Ruby Songwriter,Screenwriter
Henry Sharp Cinematographer
LeRoy Stone Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Duck Soup
1. Main Titles [1:19]
2. Freedonia's New Leader [2:53]
3. When the Clock Strikes Ten [2:39]
4. Firefly's Introduction [3:08]
5. Laws of My Administration [3:04]
6. Sylvanian Spies [4:57]
7. Chamber of Deputies [1:43]
8. Peanuts [4:14]
9. Secretary of War [3:55]
10. Insulting Ambassador Trentino [5:54]
11. Plans of War [4:28]
12. Don't Make a Sound [4:40]
13. Impostors [6:28]
14. Charged With Treason [4:52]
15. We're Going to War [5:57]
16. Facing Defeat [4:00]
17. Victory Is Ours [3:47]
18. End Titles [:37]

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