Duck Soup

When Leo McCarey directed the Marx Brothers in their definitive spoof on war and politics back in 1933, he could not have foreseen both its ironic appropriateness in the coming decade and its appeal for successive generations. The absurd and only technically fictional picture of foreign policy-making includes Groucho dictating state affairs, Chico serving as Secretary of War, Harpo jumping in a vat of lemonade, and Zeppo…well, doing whatever the straightman does. In this much more entertaining brand of Marxism, nothing is safe from the brothers’ ridiculous touch: history, politics, warfare, marriage—even the bathtub is invaded. Young people will appreciate the anarchic pace and the honest silliness of the sketches; older friends, however, may have to tone down some of their sophisticated narrative expectations. That is to say, don’t look too hard for a story. The humor depends on incontinuity—senseless dialogue, contradictory characters, distracting and illogical lines of action, unexpected song and dance numbers—and contained within its own ridiculous world the film is a delightfully unconventional experience.

Stacey Snider

Film Info

Title: Duck Soup (1933)
Country of Origin: US
Running Time: 70 min
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color: B/W
Certification: US: passed / Germany: 6 / Sweden: Btl
Releasing Company: Asociace Cesk_ch Filmov_ch Klubu (ACFK) [cz] (Czech Republic), MCA/Universal Home Video [us] (USA) (VHS), MCA/Universal Home Video [us] (USA) (laserdisc), Paramount Pictures [us]
Producer: Herman J. Mankiewicz
Director: Leo McCarey
Writer: Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
Cinematographer: Henry Sharp
Designer: Hans Dreier, Wiard Ihnen
Editor: LeRoy Stone
Composer: John Leipold, Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby
Genre: Comedy / Musical