in about 100 words or less
USA 68m, B&W
Director: Leo McCarey; Cast: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern
At first glance, Duck Soup seems little more than a series of funny gags loosely strung together in the guise of a motion picture. Upon a little closer examination, especially in view of the sociopolitical context during which it was made, this Marx Brothers film emerges an important satirical anti-war commentary. When Groucho proclaims “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”, it is little wonder that the film was not well received when it was originally released. In lampooning the absurdity of government and decision-making processes that are used to start a war, Duck Soup unfortunately continues to be a relevant commentary 70 years later (Klaus Ming June 2009).