68 minutes, U.S.A., 1933, Black and White, D-Cinema

This film was released on Friday 6th February 2015 and is no longer screening.


The Marx Brothers bowed out of their contract with Paramount with probably their greatest film, the comedy blunderbuss that is Duck Soup. Groucho dispenses relentless one-liners, starring as Rufus T. Firefly, appointed leader of the bankrupt country of Freedonia at the behest of wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont). With an eye on Teasdale’s fortune, Firefly carelessly proceeds to lead Freedonia to war with neighbouring Sylvania.

Chico and Harpo are hapless double agents and Zeppo would leave the band after playing Firefly’s secretary here and tiring of his straight man role. While Groucho himself was dismissive of the notion that the film was any kind of satire, it has been celebrated as a gloriously playful political farce. The Brothers would go on to make some terrific films at MGM, though it is arguable that they were never quite as freewheeling, as anarchic or as funny again. (Notes by Michael Hayden)

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★★★★★ The Irish Times ★★★★★ The Guardian

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