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USA 1933
Directed by
Leo McCarey
70 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Duck Soup

The fourth and deservedly recognized as The Marx Brothers' best film. Duck Soup, although no comedic masterpiece, does not suffer from the usual padding out of the much-loved skits with a lame story and musical interludes.

Whilst rudimentary as a political satire, the film, penned by Bert Kalmar, Nat Perrin, Harry Ruby and Arthur Sheekman, is quite merciless in poking fun at social conventions and pretensions through both spoken dialogue and song with Margaret Dumont as Mrs.Teasdale once again the steadfast butt of Groucho’s (as Rufus T. Firefly) quips . There are also some classic routines including one involving a hapless peanut vendor who tries to set up in opposition to Chico and Harpo and a lengthy set-up involving the latter two dressed up to look like Groucho and doing a famous mirror routine, borrowed and improved upon by director Leo McCarey from Charlie Chaplin's 1916 silent film, The Floorwalker.

Surprisingly, the film was a box office disaster, the only Marx Bros movie not to make money, and as a result the brothers left Paramount for MGM where under their new producer Irving Thalberg they concentrated on more straightforward'y madcap comedy.

FYI: The film was the last time Zeppo on screen appeared with his brothers




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