Aug 072010
 

The Marx Brothers‘ greatest and funniest masterpiece — the classic comedy Duck Soup (1933) — a brilliant satire and lampooning of blundering dictatorial leaders, Fascism and authoritarian government. Audiences were taken aback by the film’s political disrespect, buffoonery and cynicism at a time of political and economic crisis, with Roosevelt’s struggle against Depression in the US and the rise of fascism in Europe. (The irrepressible comedians in this quintessential anarchic satire simply but irreverently attack the pomposity of small-time governmental leaders (Firefly as President), the absurdity of government itself (the Cabinet meeting scene), governmental diplomacy (the Trentino-Firefly scenes), an arbitrary legal system (Chicolini’s trial), and war fought over petty matters (the mobilization and war scenes). Much of the comedy makes the obvious statement that war is indeed nonsensical and meaninglessly destructive, especially since the word ‘upstart’ was the insult word (Ambassador Trentino called Firefly an ‘upstart’) that led to war between the two countries. This quote by Groucho, was especially detested: “And remember while you’re out there risking life and limb through shot and shell, we’ll be in here thinking what a sucker you are.”)

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