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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Duck Soup movie starring Marx Brothers (1933)

The Marx Brothers were very famous for their films during the earlier part of the 20th century, and 'Duck Soup' was the last movie with Paramount where the Marx Brothers starred (there were a total of 5 such movies with Paramount). During the making of Duck Soup, contract disputes became paramount in the relationship, and both the Marx Brothers and Paramount decided to part ways after the making of the movie. In addition, this was the last movie where Zeppo had starred, and hence can be considered worth seeing just for that particular reason.
The movie did not do so well at the box office, almost being considered a failure, yet, as always happens, the movie was re-evaluated over a period of time, and was seen as a classic, a great comedy and designated for preservation in the National Film Registry (wikipedia) of the United States.

Duck Soup movie starring Marx Brothers (1933)

The Marx Brothers specialized in comedy, and this movie was no different, with several comic scenes that would have you enjoying the movie. One of the iconic scenes from this movie is the mirror scene - where Harpo Marx copies the action of Groucho Marx to the last detail to avoid detection and to make the character of Groucho Marx believe that he is seeing himself in a mirror. Although this was not the first time that this type of scene has been depicted, the sequence in 'Duck Soup' is probably the best known instance of this scene in a movie.
The movie is a comedy depicting activies on a national level, where a country, Freedonia, wants assistance from a wealthy lady Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont). She in turn insists that Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) be made the leader of the country. At the same time, since Freedonia is in such a bad state, the neighboring country Sylvania wants to take advantage and take over Freedonia. To that purpose, Sylvania's ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) stirs up trouble, trying to create a revolution in Freedonia; he also woos Mrs. Teasdale, and sends in Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx) to spy on Firefly.
Firefly spots Chicolini as a vendor on the street and appoints him Secretary of the War, and tries to insult Trentino so that Trentino can attack Firefly and thus be forced to leave the country. However, the plan reverses and Firefly instead slaps Trentino and this brings the 2 countries to the brink of war. There are further comic scenes, and eventually the 2 countries go to war, with lots of song and dance involved. In the final battle scenes, in order to provide another great comic effect, Firefly keeps on changing his costume almost in every scene, wearing uniforms belonging to different armies, and even the Boy Scout Scoutmaster uniform.

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