152 - Duck Soup (1933)

In order to save itself from bankruptcy, Freedonia is forced by a benefactor to appoint Rufus T. Firefly as its leader.

On his appointment it is clear he has very little interest in politics, turning serious situations into chaos with irrelevant one-liners and offering to lower the number of hours in the working day by cutting the lunch break.

The neighbouring Sylvania spots the opportunity to take control of Freedonia and sends over a pair of inept spies to obtain secret information. The tensions between the countries reaches a peak when Firefly is called an "upstart", forcing him to declare war on Sylvania.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
... and breathe.

Before we begin, I have a confession to make. In order to write this review, I looked up synonyms for 'wacky'; "absurd, balmy, crazed, crazy, daft, demented, deranged, eccentric, erratic, foolish, hare-brained, insane, irrational, loony, lunatic, mad, nuts, nutty, odd, preposterous, screwy, silly, unpredictable, wild, zany". Yes, I'm pretty sure that sums up Duck Soup.

In order to watch Duck Soup, you cannot go and make a cup of tea at the start. There is no time. As soon as the Universal logo disappears at the beginning, the Marx brothers launch into a wild and unpredictable tirade of anarchic comedy that doesn't let up until the equally preposterous ending.

Duck Soup is much like 68 minute long sketch. The overall storyline is split into a series of deranged scenes which see the brothers turn every 'normal' situation into an absurd combination of anti-war messages simply by entering the room. Even its story skeleton is as irrational as the rest of the film. A country which declares itself has a president elected solely on the premise of money doesn't sound much like a fair and free democracy.

Very very fast comedy and completely mad. I think the Marx brothers may be my new old heroes.