Directed by Leo McCarey | USA | 68 mins.
From the vaudeville circuit to the sound stages of Hollywood, the Marx Brothers were surely among the 20th century’s most benevolent bands of anarchist makers of trouble. Duck Soup finds the brothers teamed-up with legendary director Leo McCarey for what many of us in the know hold to be their very finest screen outing. What’s it about? Oh, you know, war, misery, the usual. You see, Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly. Rufus becomes president of the niftily-named Freedonia. Naturally, this results in geopolitical fiasco, as well it would. Have you met the brothers? Groucho is the talker. My word, he will talk you in circles until you’re dizzy. Then there’s Chico. It’s pronounced Chick-o, you know, like a baby bird. He’s the ethnically not-quite-determinate one, prone to strong-arm tactics. Third we have Harpo. Harpo is what people used to call “a bit touched,” but boy oh boy can that boy ever play the harp! Oh, and Zeppo is in this one. Zeppo is more or less the straight man, poor fellow. State of the world getting you down? Friend, it could be so much worse. So come spend pre-Christmas Christmas with Calgary Cinematheque, FOUR Marx Brothers, Leo “Golden Boy” McCarey, and a little movie called Duck Soup.
- Written by Jason Wierzba