Duck Soup

Fueled by inspired silliness and blessed with some of the Marx brothers' most brilliant work, Duck Soup is one of its -- or any -- era's finest comedies.

Arguably the Marx Brothers' funniest film, this comedy masterpiece contains several famous scenes, including the hilarious mirror sequence. A wealthy widow offers financial aid to the bankrupt country of Freedonia on condition that Rufus T. Firefly be made leader. But his chaotic, inept regime bumbles into war with neighboring Sylvania.

"The movie vaudeville of the Marx brothers was perhaps never so inspired, and surely never as brazen, as in their surreal satire of tinpot nationalism and political pomposity in 1930s Europe – imagine if America had to come in and sort that mess out! The Ruritanian state of Freedonia, forever teetering on the edge of war with its bellicose neighbour Sylvania, is bankrupt, and forced to accept a multi-million dollar loan from a wealthy American widow (played superbly deadpan by the brothers’ regular foil, Margaret Dumont) on condition that they install as president her friend, Rufus T Firefly, a free-thinking genius and visionary played by Groucho Marx. Wisecracking Rufus soon causes chaos among the flummoxed flunkies in Freedonia’s colossal government state rooms, which are designed with proto-fascist grandiosity.

"A movie audience in 2020 has to acclimatise itself to the movie’s style: steeped in live theatre, the Marx brothers had a habit of leaving silences where the laughs were going to go. But the sheer silliness is inspired: Rufus’s political song about all the enjoyable things he’s going to crack down on includes chewing gum – anticipating modern policy in Singapore." - The Guardian


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