Duck Soup — The Marx Brothers (1933) (see Films)

 Anarchist cinema, Feature, Films  Comments Off on Duck Soup — The Marx Brothers (1933) (see Films)
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.”)


The Inspector General

 Feature, Films, Russia  Comments Off on The Inspector General
Dec 242009
The Inspector General The Inspector General is a 1949 musical comedy film directed by Henry Koster and starring Danny Kaye.The film is loosely based on Nikolai Gogol’s play The Inspector General (The Government Inspector)

The plot is re-located from the Russian Empire  into an unspecified corrupted region of a country (possibly Hungary or Poland that suddenly finds itself under the supervision of the First French Empire. Georgi (Danny Kaye), an illiterate member of a wandering band of Gypsies led by Yakov (Walter Slezak) escapes from a travelling medicine show after he innocently lets slip that the elixir they’re selling is a fraud. Tired and hungry, he wanders into the small town of Brodny and while trying to sample the contents of a horse’s feed bag, he’s arrested as a vagrant and sentenced to hang the next day by a corrupt police chief, desperate to prove his efficiency. The town is run by a corrupt Mayor (Gene Lockhart), whose employees and councillors are all his cousins and equally corrupt and incompetent, but they are frightened when they learn that the Inspector General is in their neighborhood, and probably in disguise. They mistake Georgi for the Inspector and ply him with food and drink while plotting to have him killed. Naturally, their plans go awry and Georgi, despite his innocence, discovers how corrupt they really are. And when the real Inspector arrives suddenly, he also realizes that Georgi is the most honest fellow he’s met since leaving Budapest. The Inspector General names Georgi the new Mayor of Brodny and presents him the mayoral gold chain, having taken it from the old mayor saying, “We’ll put something else around your neck instead.” Yakov, who’s also wandered into the town and played an important role in Georgi’s survival, becomes Georgi’s personal servant

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