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"Duck Soup" 
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Post "Duck Soup"
“Duck Soup” (1933)

I don’t agree with all Top ### lists, and this time I’m calling out a real stinker, generally regarded as a ‘Classic’. “Duck Soup” features the work of The Marx Brothers, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo.

Summarized:
Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) is named president (-Insert Nancy Kerrigan’s screaming “Why!?”) of the bankrupt country of Freedonia by Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) and ends up declaring war on neighboring Sylvania (the TV people?). I found the antics of Groucho tiresome within a few short minutes. Every single line he delivers is:
A. An insult,
B. A setup to a ‘joke’,
C. A combination of A and B,

I found myself chuckling, almost even laughing perhaps once for every 2-3 minutes of viewing. (most of it was pity giggles) This amounts to about 5% of the humor being effective. It also means that about 95% of it falls flat. There seemed to be a conflict that went unrecognized by those on screen. The non-comic cast behaved and functioned as if Marx and Co. were just normal people performing normal activities, while Groucho and bros. went on to attempt mockery of everything and everybody around them. It became painful to see that the straights had no recognition of this. Perhaps this is a flavor of humor that I don’t like. (spews) Yes, (wipes chin) we’ll go with that.
Groucho apparently couldn’t be bothered to wear a real mustache, opting instead to paint one on. Harpo struck me as the most inane character I’ve ever seen. His method of “comedy” is to irritate those around him by clipping their items with a scissors and honking horns as a means of communication. Chico was closer to a ‘Stooge’ than the others, and Zeppo, well, I’m not sure who in the hell Zeppo was. I lost interest not far beyond the opening credits. I wouldn’t expect character development from a film like this, but I would expect to be entertained. I wasn’t. –Honest truth: I’ve been more entertained reading the work of Karl Marx than I was with watching any of the Marx brothers on screen.
This is one of those movies that really stands out, but for all the wrong reasons. I’m not sure I could relate well to people who enjoy this type of comedy, but perhaps they have some savant-like abilities that I could make use of, while requiring me to interact with them minimally.

Awf Hand gives 1 out of 4 stars. The one star is for the movie being mercifully short at 68 minutes. There may be a worse comedy out there, but I’ve not seen it.


Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:26 am
Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:26 pm
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Location: Singapore
Post Re: "Duck Soup"
I agree with the result but not the way you got there. Humour rarely travels beyond its time. I began going to the cinema in the 1950s and, even way back then, we thought the Marx Brothers were over the hill. We cringed at Abbot & Costello and hid whenever The Three Stooges were playing. Frankly, I can't think of any comedies of that era that I could watch today (although the Marx Brothers' musical ability is still impressive).


Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:35 pm
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Post Re: "Duck Soup"
Duck Soup, like all the Marx Brothers movies, improves substantially upon repeat viewings. It might be a good idea to take a few minutes and read through the quotes on imdb because there's truly some brilliant stuff that you might have missed due to the pace of the humour. However, I do agree that Duck Soup is somewhat overrated. It's about as good as the other Marx Brothers movies I've seen but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a great picture.


Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:12 pm
Assistant Second Unit Director

Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 8:39 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Post Re: "Duck Soup"
My long-winded essay on Duck Soup, which I consider to be the funniest film of all time. To each his own.


Tue May 03, 2011 9:56 pm
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Post Re: "Duck Soup"
A film of it's time. I like this rather alot but totally understand the hate.
As others have mentioned comedy does not always age well.
Need to rad the article from Human Rain.
Are you reading Ken. Champion a film and write about why!
Rob


Tue May 03, 2011 10:20 pm
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