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Duck Soup

The Marx Brothers' style has been imitated, paid tribute to, and discussed for years by fans and critics alike, but nothing beats actually seeing the brothers perform. They're so incredibly talented and witty that few can stand against their towering sense of humor. In fact, Duck Soup may now be one of my favorite comedy films of all-time (along with Monty Python & The Holy Grail and The Big Lebowski). It's pointless to say too much about these comedic brothers, as the satisfaction of their humor only comes from watching them perform.

Not only that, but it's pointless to talk about things like "plot" or "character" in a Marx Brothers film. Terms and concepts like those are, frankly, absolutely pointless in Marx Brothers films. To discuss the relevance of plot in a film like Duck Soup would be like discussing the significance of a baseball card in the spokes of a child's bicycle. For completion's sake though, the plot will be discussed in small detail. The film follows Rufus T. Firefly, the new dictator of Freedonia, as he deals with the issues that come with ruling a country.

The four Marx brothers were vaudeville veterans before they became major stars, and this experience would prove invaluable for brothers' comedic talents. It's almost as if someone simply turned on a camera and let the Marx brothers go to work for Duck Soup. The naturalness that comes with the script and the comedy is just brilliant, as it makes the film seem completely normal despite being planned out beforehand. Each brother has a unique style of humor as well, so if you don't like one brother then you're bound to like another. Groucho, arguably the best of the brothers, is the witty smoker with big glasses and a thick mustache, and his sharp sense of humor is absolutely hysterical. It's pointless to quote any of his jokes, as the man's brilliant delivery is part of the humor. Though Groucho's my personal favorite, the other brothers are great as well. Chico, the silent humor specialist, is especially humorous and his wacky antics are funny even without dialogue.

Though visuals are just as unimportant to Duck Soup as the plot is, I was surprised how good the movie looked. The camerawork looks splendid and the big dance numbers, though silly, look really well-choreographed. In an age where camerawork was generally considered just "pointing and shooting", Duck Soup proved that even a comedy's visuals can look great.

If you can fault Duck Soup of anything, it'd be a lack of cohesive events. Instead of feeling like a narrative, the film feels like very episodic with each scene simply being a skit during Firefly's rule. Still, this a very small fault in a film as entertaining as this.

Witty, smart, sharp, and absolutely hilarious, Duck Soup is a comedy with no boring or lacking sequences. It's a short and sweet comedy that delivers on every level.





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