Thursday, 23 June 2011

Film Review: DUCK SOUP (1933)

DuckSoup_poster Director: Leo McCarey
Running time: 66 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Comedy/Musical
USA Release date: 17th November 1933

Watched on Sky+ Thursday 23rd June 2011.


I’m not a great fan of most modern comedies and so I thought I’d go back a way to see if there was anything funny back in the 1930’s. Well I’m pleased to announce that the Marx Brothers were definitely on the right track (IMO). I remember their old films being shown on TV when I was young and I also remember finding their mad-cap humour very entertaining. It was interesting to see them again quite a few years later to and still enjoy them just as much. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

duck-soup Rufus T. Firefly has been appointed ruler of the cash-strapped state of Freedonia. This tiny country’s benefactor, Mrs. Gloria Teasdale, believes passionately in Firefly’s abilities. The ambassador of the neighbouring state of Sylvania, Trentino, wants Mrs. Teasdale’s money and will go to any lengths to get it. He has one problem though, Mrs. Teasdale only has eyes for Firefly and to this end Trentino sends in his spies, Chicolini and Pinky. This only causes more mayhem and Trentino ends up insulting Firefly who challenges him and it all ends in a declaration of war! Mrs. Teasdale tries to calm things down but they are determined to fight. I’ll leave it there so as not to enrage the Spoiler Police.

Film: Duck Soup
Dir: Leo McCarey
Date: 1933

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Tel +44 (0) 20 7255 1444 Of course the stars of the show are the Marx brothers; Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly, Harpo Marx as Pinky,  Chico Marx as Chicolini and the lesser known Zeppo Marx as Lt Bob Roland - Firefly's aide-de-camp. They are ably supported by; Margaret Dumont who is excellent as Mrs. Gloria Teasdale, Raquel Torres as Vera Marcal and Louis Calhern as Ambassador Trentino of Sylvania.

duck_soup_movie_character-10646 Now, as a coherent story with a narrative, it’s all over the place, but I believe this is deliberately done to keep the story moving. Of course, the story is just a means to get to the next one-liner, or sight gag, but it kind of works. Looking deeper into it, the film has quite a satirical message about wealth and power. I really enjoyed it, there were elements that you might see in a more modern Mel Brooks film and some of the routines are truly great, particularly the mirror scene. Over all, recommended.

My Score: 7.5/10

ducksoup LINKS:
(RT=Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:


Nathanael Hood said...

This movie was YEARS ahead of its time. It can be claimed that it basically invented stream-of-consciousness comedy in film.

Nathanael Hood said...

Also...I want to personally invite you to participate in my blog's Monster Movie Marathon!

Here's a link to the information page:

Tom_Film_Master said...

Excellent review. comedy isn't all that funny any more so I rely on the classics and films before 2000 really. I'll be sure to check thee guy out.