1 Year, 100 Movies: #60 Duck Soup (1933)

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For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!

‘Duck Soup’ is a pretty amazing screwball gag-based comedy. It follows the story of Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) who finds himself appointed leader of a bankrupt mythical country, Freedonia. He is continusly attempting to mount a campaign for war against Sylvania, a neighboring country- because of his personal disagreement with the Sylvanian Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) over the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont). Firefly is tailed by spies, Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx). Their help to the Ambassador of Sylvania is questionable at best. The entire film is built around word play and witty one-liners.

My favorite gags:

-The ongoing dueling food carts. Chico sets up a peanut stand outside Firefly’s office, and Chico and Harpo’s argument effects their neighbor’s lemonade cart. Then they just mess with the neighbor on purpose.

-Harpo and Chico infiltrate Mrs. Teasdale’s home and dress as Groucho. The mirror scene is pure genius. Harpo (dressed as Firefly) pretends to be Firefly’s reflection in a missing mirror and matches his every move- even absurd ones beginning out of sight.

-In the final battle scenes, Groucho appears in consecutive scenes wearing a different costume in almost every sequence including American Civil War uniforms (Union and Confederacy), a British palace guard uniform, a Boy Scout Scoutmaster’s uniform, and even a coon-skin Davy Crockett hat.

In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns:

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