Monday, July 19, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #61

61. Duck Soup (1933)

This is the Marx Brothers, all four of them, at their best. Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly who has been named President of the nation of Freedonia by the wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (played perfectly by the Marx Brothers' favorite female co-star Margaret Dumont). Firefly declares his love for her (well, actually, her money) and has competition from Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) of the neighboring nation of Sylvania. Trentino hires two spies (Chico and Harpo) to get all the information they can on Firefly. And the hilarity doesn't stop there! The farcical romp climaxes with Firefly declaring war on Sylvania and what ensues is one of the longest and funniest war declarations ever (with Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo doing some of their best vaudeville schtick). There are so many additional memorable moments from this film including Firefly's entrance, Chico and Harpo's harassment of a local peanut vendor and the classic "Mirror Scene" between Groucho, Harpo and Chico. Helmed by director Leo McCarey with a screenplay heavily add-libbed by the Marx Brothers, it is a classic comedy that is a must-see for all. Plus, it's a great introduction to the world of the Marx Brothers and their other classic films (Horse Feathers, A Night at the Opera, etc.). NOTE: Released in 1933, this film has the distinction of being the oldest film on my list.

Next Post: #60

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