Film Notes and Reviews


Duck Soup (U) - USA - 1933


Leo McCarey


Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Racquel Torres, Louis Calhern, Margaret Dumont


"The Marx Brothers ‘Duck Soup’ is a frantic, funny satire, with rapid-fire gags and some of the most inspired physical comedy ever to hit the screen.

The title ‘Duck Soup’ is a bit of slang gone from current usage. It means something easy to accomplish, or alternatively a dupe or patsy.

The whole thing is an opportunity for the brothers to poke fun at tinpot rulers, nonsensical government bureaucracy, pompous diplomats and the absurdity of war, all with dollops of vaudeville-style zaniness one-liners and wordplay. Joyous, irreverent, irrepressible and at times almost surreal, ‘Duck Soup’ is a masterpiece, well ahead of its time.

Laurie Boeder, Classic Film Comedies

What you thought about Duck Soup

Excellent Good Average Poor Very Poor
1 (3%) 13 (37%) 6 (17%) 11 (31%) 4 (11%)
Total Number of Responses: 35
Film Score (0-5): 2.89

‘Duck Soup’ was much less popular, as the figures show. Several responses gave it cautious praise noting “how humour has changed” but finding it also “very dated” and “difficult to follow”, although there was a clear sense in responses also that the film was “great fun” and the slapstick and one-liners had a powerful comic drive. The “hectic pace” contributed positively overall.

For some members it was interesting to see a film after nearly 80 years but it was “too obvious” and did not survive to merit “classic status”.

More critically ‘Duck Soup’ was “entirely missable”, “very dated”, “poor, boring nonsense”, “very tedious”, “interesting only as a historical document”, “no longer funny or engaging” and “the Marx Brothers' worst film”.

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